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Extreme Toyota GRMN Yaris limited edition arrives with major performance upgrades

Toyota GR Yaris receives a host of upgrades to create new hardcore GRMN Yaris hot hatch

Toyota's GR Yaris has been one of the biggest hits of the past 18 months, offering sports car-rivalling pace in a compact, practical and relatively affordable package. But the car’s creator, the Gazoo Racing division, has now honed the baby hot hatch even further to create the GRMN Yaris.

Revealed at the tuning-focused Tokyo Auto Salon, the GRMN Yaris takes the already-extreme GR Yaris and introduces a host of upgrades. The car’s three-cylinder turbocharged engine has the same 268bhp output as before, and only a small increase in torque (from 370Nm to 390Nm), but there’s a raft of mechanical alterations elsewhere that should make the car significantly different to drive on road and track.

The car’s transmission has been tweaked, with closer ratios and a lower final drive - and a switch of materials in the gearbox’s internals to give it extra strength in the lower gears. In addition, the GR Yaris’s Torsen differentials (front and rear) have been replaced by mechanical limited-slip diffs.

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Carbon-fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) is used for the bonnet, roof and rear spoiler - and Gazoo has also removed the rear seats entirely. This major compromise on practicality contributes to an overall weight saving of around 20kg compared with the regular GR Yaris.

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The new car sits slightly lower than before (by around 10mm) to help lower the centre of gravity, and there are 545 more spot welds and additional structural adhesive to help make the body more rigid - along with a major brace where the rear seats used to be.

Gazoo claims the GR “has evolved into a car that can be driven faster and with more peace of mind, with improved braking force, grip, cornering and following performance based on feedback from professional drivers”.

The GRMN is being offered in Japan only, and in tiny numbers; indeed, Gazoo announced at the reveal that the opportunity to order the car will be made available via a lottery. Just 500 examples will be offered in total, and the price can reach as much as 8,467,000 Yen - or just over £54,000 - if the Circuit Pack is chosen as an option. It’ll be available on just 50 examples of the entire production run, and brings matte-steel paint, bespoke BBS 18-inch alloy wheels, Bilstein shock absorbers with adjustable dampers, a larger carbon-fibre spoiler and a side skirt.

There will also be a Rally Pack that includes a roll bar, a different spec of dampers, underbody protection and, curiously, the deletion of the more extreme elements of the car’s bodykit.

Gazoo says that GRMN Yaris owners will receive additional parts and software upgrades as part of a new ‘personalisation program’ that’s designed to be a two-way communication process that could be mutual benefit for all owners and the manufacturer.

Find out what happened when we tested the Toyota GR Yaris against the Ford Fiesta ST Edition...

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Editor-at-large

John started journalism reporting on motorsport – specifically rallying, which he had followed avidly since he was a boy. After a stint as editor of weekly motorsport bible Autosport, he moved across to testing road cars. He’s now been reviewing cars and writing news stories about them for almost 20 years.

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