The first GR Sport-branded Toyota has been confirmed for Australia, with the Japanese brand locking in the sport-tuned C-HR for our market.
Rather than a full-blown GR or GRMN model, the C-HR GR Sport is more a warmed over model than a proper performance car, but the Japanese giant is promising re-tuned suspension, sportier styling and bigger 19-inch alloys.
What you don't get, however, is more power, with the GR Sport model borrowing the hybrid powertrain from the existing range, and Toyota suggesting it will appeal to "customers who may not want a high performance race-bred sports car, but still desire a car with sporty styling and a degree of performance modifications to set it apart from the standard Toyota lineup."
The GR Sport, then, will be powered by a 1.8-litre petrol engine combined with an electric motor for a combined power output of 90kW, which partners with a CVT automatic and sends its grunts to the front wheels. Hardly the stuff high-speed dreams are made of, then. But Toyota says that's not the point.
"We are extending the GR feeling to customers who may not want a high performance race-bred sports car, but still desire a car with sporty styling and a degree of performance modifications to set it apart from the standard Toyota lineup," says Toyota Australia's sales and marketing chief, Sean Hanley.
"The new C-HR GR Sport is exactly that, offering customers greater driving enjoyment and bold purposeful styling that deliver the exhilarating feeling at the heart of all GR products.
"And just like the dedicated GR sports cars, the performance-enhanced GR Sport models like the new C-HR GR Sport, are inspired by the lessons and technology derived from Toyota's championship-winning motorsports program."
The C-HR GR Sport arrives next month, with Toyota yet to confirm full pricing and specification. We do know that it will wear 19-inch alloys, while the interior is trimmed in sporty elements and fitted with sports seats. Under the skin, the suspension has been tuned for a sportier driving feel, too.
Toyota is in the process of rolling out three new badges for its models; GR Sport, GR and GRMN. The idea is to offer three distinct levels of sportiness, with the GR Sport-badged cars restricted to largely cosmetic upgrades, GR cars offering more performance than their regular counterparts, and the GRMN badge reserved for the brand’s most hotted-up models.