TOYOTA YARIS GRMN
Inspired by motorsport, engineered for the road
Intensive development work has continued on the Toyota Yaris GRMN since its public debut at this year’s Geneva motor show, in preparation for the high-performance model going into production at the end of the year. A dedicated engineering team has been fine-tuning its performance and handling at a test centre close to the Nürburgring circuit in Germany.
The Yaris GRMN is inspired and influenced by the Yaris WRC, the car with which Toyota has returned to the FIA World Rally Championship, with event-winning success. Its performance focus is broadcast by its lightweight 17-inch BBS alloy wheels, larger brakes, central oval tailpipe and a bespoke exterior finish that displays Toyota Gazoo Racing’s white, black and red competition colours. Under the bonnet is a 1.8-litre engine, tuned to produce 212 DIN hp and benefiting from a supercharger, a feature unique among B-segment performance hatchbacks.
Development at the Nürburgring
Right from the completion of the first Yaris GRMN concept in 2015, a prototype was sent to a Toyota facility close to the legendary Nürburgring race circuit in Germany. Here a select group of Toyota tuning specialists from Europe and Japan have honed the car’s handling and performance, working both on track on the famous Nordschleife and on the wide variety of roads found in the immediate neighbourhood – from ultra-fast Autobahns to tightly winding mountain routes. Toyota’s belief is that if the car can prove its capabilities in this environment, it can do so anywhere.
The name GRMN itself declares the special efforts that have been invested in the car, standing for Gazoo Racing tuned by the Meister of the Nürburgring. The team working on the car have developed their skills through participation in motor sport, working side-by-side with racing professionals, and through sports car development programmes. They have also been able to draw on the experience gained by Toyota Gazoo Racing from competing at the circuit.
Even since the car’s show debut in Geneva, work has continued to define the optimum shape of strategic areas of the bodywork. Every part has been painstakingly reconfirmed so that the Yaris GRMN is in perfect trim for the start of production at Toyota Motor Manufacturing France’s Valenciennes plant this autumn. Production will be supervised by a team of TMMF’s most skilled members and each car will undergo a special quality control check, including a specific test drive.
Engine and performance
The heart of the Yaris GRMN is its 1,798 cm3 four-cylinder engine, a 16-valve unit equipped with a Magnusson Eaton supercharger and Dual VVT-i intelligent variable timing for both inlet and exhaust valves. The 2ZR-FE unit is built by Toyota Manufacturing UK and has been specially adapted for use with the smaller Yaris platform.
With a 10:1 compression ratio, it delivers a maximum 212 DIN hp (156 kW) at 6,800 rpm and peak torque of 250 Nm at 5,000 rpm. Driving the front wheels through a six-speed manual transmission, the engine enables nought to 100 km/h acceleration in around 6.3* seconds; top speed is electronically limited to 230 km/h.
Installing the supercharger presented a particular challenge, as only very limited space was available in the Yaris GRMN’s engine compartment. The packaging solution combines the supercharger, cooling and air intake together in a single, space-saving stacked unit. Cooling is crucial, so there is an intercooler for the supercharger and an oil cooler, both located in front of the radiator, and an enlarged air intake to support better engine breathing. The fuel system has also been upgraded, using components from a V6 engine.
With kerb weight kept down to just 1,135 kg, the Yaris GRMN achieves the best power-to-weight ratio in its class at 5.35 kg per 1 hp.
Chassis and handling
To ensure the Yaris GRMN’s power is transferred smoothly to the road, the car is equipped with a Torsen limited-slip differential. Chassis stiffness is enhanced with a lateral bar across the engine bay, between the front suspension towers, with further front and rear chassis underbody bracing.
Shorter springs allow the car to hug the ground more closely (24 mm lower than the standard Yaris) and these are teamed with dedicated performance shock absorbers, developed with Sachs, and a larger diameter (26 mm) front anti-roll bar. The suspension is a development of the Yaris’ front MacPherson strut and rear torsion beam design.
To achieve razor-sharp braking controllability, the 275 mm-diameter grooved front disc brakes are fitted with four-piston callipers; 278 mm discs are featured at the rear. The callipers are a stand-out feature, painted in signature Toyota Gazoo Racing white and visible through the slim spokes of the alloy wheels.
The wheels are 17-inch BBS lightweight multi-spoke alloys which not only save weight but also provide sufficient space for larger brakes to be used. Fitted with Bridgestone Potenza RE050 205/45R17 tyres, they also contribute to the Yaris GRMN’s very precise steering feel.
Performance exhaust system
The exhaust has been fully reworked, a task that had to be achieved within very tight space limitations, and with careful attention to underbody heat management. The goals were to reduce exhaust back pressure and control emissions and noise levels. Success in this task has enhanced engine power and produced a rousing exhaust note. The design has also helped reduce the car’s overall weight.
Body and styling
Like its world rally counterpart, the Yaris GRMN uses a three-door version of the new Yaris bodyshell. It introduces a number of dedicated features including a black, wing-type rear spoiler, bespoke rear bumper design, rear diffuser, honeycomb front grille and – again echoing the rally car’s styling – a central oval exhaust tailpipe.
It also sports a special paint finish – white with red and black flash detailing on the bonnet and sills, echoing the livery of the Toyota Yaris WRC, and a black roof with a unique-in-segment black shark fin antenna. The front lip is picked out in red and the LED headlights are given extra visual impact with the addition of a black upper ornamentation.
The cabin is equally an expression of the car’s performance focus, with front sports seats designed specifically for the car by Toyota Boshoku, providing best-in-class body holding and support.
The authentic performance details include an engine start button and a small-diameter, leather-wrapped steering wheel, sourced from the Toyota GT86 coupe and further adapted to suit the special requirements of the Yaris GRMN. There is also an aluminium sports pedal set, aluminium trim detailing and a bespoke, high-grade combimeter with TFT display, designed to reflect the car’s special performance character.
Sales and pricing
Just 400 Yaris GRMN will be available to European customers, including both right and left-hand drive models. The price is €29,900, with market variations for taxes and other local factors.
* Subject to final homologation