Browse over 9,000 car reviews

Sorry, there are no cars that match your search

2017 Toyota Yaris GRMN previews performance future

Toyota used the Geneva motor show to reveal a GRMN version of its Yaris light hatch that has been tweaked by the brand's Gazoo Racing team to include a 1.8-litre supercharged engine, however the Ford Fiesta ST-baiting hot hatch won't be coming Down Under.

Speaking at Geneva last week, Toyota Gazoo racing head and 86 global chief engineer Tetsuya Tada said that the Yaris GRMN would represent the first of many future performance-oriented Toyota models.

Mr Tada said a performance-oriented 86 was in the pipeline, which could also employ a supercharger due to space restrictions in the engine bay, a problem faced by both models.

"Oh yeah, sure, sure," he said. "The 86 also, we are preparing."

We tried to pursue engine and throttle response, not so much focus on high power, that is why we used supercharger.

"There are many reasons to use supercharger. So this car Yaris has limitation in the engine compartment. A supercharger doesn't require as much room as turbocharger.

"We tried to pursue engine and throttle response, not so much focus on high power, that is why we used supercharger."

So far the Yaris GRMN has been confirmed for the Japanese, German and French markets, with only 100 units per country set to be built.

Its 1.8-litre supercharged engine is capable of making over 155kW, and is unique among the micro-car segment in employing a supercharger in place of a turbocharger.

Its 0-100km/h time of 6.6 seconds is faster than rivals such as the 134kW/240Nm Ford Fiesta ST, 141kW/320Nm Volkswagen Polo GTI and 152kW/212Nm 86 stablemate.

The Yaris was developed jointly between Toyota's Japanese and European arms, with the local team responsible for the chassis and braking systems, while the Europeans presided over changes to the engine and interior.

Only one transmission – a six-speed manual gearbox – is available, however Mr Tada said that an automatic version could be produced if demand was suitable.

Handling improvements include a Torsen limited-slip differential, a re-tuned suspension, lowered ride height and increased chassis bracing, while stopping power comes courtesy of four-pot front brakes with ventilated discs.

The Yaris GRMN has been visually enhanced thanks to rally-inspired two-toned decals with white bodywork, black roof-mounted rear spoiler, single centre-exit exhaust and 17-inch BBS wheels.

In the cabin the sporty theme continues with front sports seats, a leather-clad steering wheel from the 86, redesigned instrumentation and aluminium pedals.

The talk of performance-oriented hybrids throws fuel on the fire that the next-gen Supra could be the first Toyota sportscar to feature a petrol-electric set-up.

Mr Tada also said that Gazoo Racing would likely introduce electrified powertrains into its line-up at some point in the future.

"Toyota is a hybrid image company," he said. "Motor and battery, such heavy weight and you need some time to improve such heavy weight. But I think in the near future we can get the right weight."

The talk of performance-oriented hybrids throws fuel on the fire that the next-gen Supra – which was first unveiled as the FT-1 concept at the 2014 Detroit show and has had its name trademarked for Australia – could be the first Toyota sportscar to feature a petrol-electric set-up.

Mr Tada remained coy when asked about the possibility of a hybrid drivetrain in the Supra, simply responding "please, wait some more."

If it made it Down Under, would there be a market for the Yaris GRMN? Tell us what you think in the comments below.