Six-year-old Yaris is continuing her career with a second facelift, after the first in 2014. 6 years old is an advanced age for a Toyota, which is used to renew its models quite quickly. It is however at this age that the Yaris gets out of control: after the 380hp WRC version (which will race in the world championship), Gazoo Racing (Toyota’s competition department) oversees offering us a sporty road version. But be careful, there won’t be enough for everyone.
An improbable but nice proposal
Combining a Toyota Yaris with a sport could have seemed incongruous just two years ago. Despite its good will and all its qualities, the little Japanese girl made in France remains a placid city girl best known for her quiet hybrid version and her small, shiny engines.
But when, in 2015, Toyota announced its arrival in the WRC (thanks to the relaxation of the regulations), we remained cautious when we learned that it would be the Yaris that would represent the brand. Last December, the first pictures of the Yaris WRC were published. A small 380 hp bomb ready to fight its competitors. Since January, she started her season by finishing 2nd at Monte-Carlo and bringing back the Swedish Rally. She is currently 2nd in the WRC championship in the drivers’ (with Latvala) and manufacturers’ rankings. Successful return for the moment!
So how can you justify a WRC version when you are one of the wisest city-dwellers on the market? Last month at the Geneva Motor Show, the Yaris gave us the answer, exhibiting itself in a sporty version developed by Gazoo Racing (Toyota’s competition department, in charge of the Japanese brand’s Endurance and WRC programs in particular). What’s his name? Yaris GRMN (Gazoo Racing Masters of the Nurburgring) … a whole program.
And at Gazoo we didn’t pretend. The Yaris GRMN has features that show that it is not a car loosely developed from a standard version. 210 hp 1.8L engine (Lotus Elise), running gear, brakes, exhaust, body kit, etc… Everything is new. We are even surprised by these investments for a production that should be limited to 1,000 copies in Europe.
The result was worth it: 220 km/h and less than 6.5s to go from 0 to 100 km/h. On this last point, it’s better than the Clio RS for example. Moreover, Toyota is not shy to say that its Yaris GRMN is the best in this exercise.