Japanese automaker Toyota started the new year by teasing us with a new GR GT3 concept and a tuned GR Yaris a week before the 2022 Tokyo Auto Salon. What really struck our fancy is the GR Yaris since Toyota refuses to bring its “rally-bred pocket rocket” to Uncle Sam’s willing buyers. And now, Toyota has unveiled the GR Yaris GRMN, a limited-edition and more hardcore version of the brand’s world-beating hot hatch.
Image: Toyota Motor Corporation
Before you get too excited, the GRMN (or Gazoo Racing tuned by “Meister of Nurburgring,” believe it or not) is strictly a cosmetic upgrade over a standard GR Yaris. It still has a spunky 1.6-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine under the hood pumping out 268 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque, sending power to all four wheels using a slick six-speed manual transmission.
Toyota claims the development of GRMN Yaris stems from company CEO Akio Toyoda’s desire to “deliver cars to customers that evolve quickly and can be tailored to individuals like in the field of motorsports.” So instead of adding engine power, Toyota focused on further stiffening and sharpening the car’s reflexes to make it behave like a tuned rally car.
The GRMN Yaris benefits from 565 more spot welds in its architecture than a regular GR Yaris. It also has a carbon-fiber roof, hood, and rear spoiler to reduce weight, while the Toyota deleted the rear seats for good measure. In addition, the GRMN variant is at least half an inch wider and lower than before.
Toyota also tinkered with the six-speed manual stick, now benefitting from closer gear ratios for even faster acceleration. It also has a mechanical limited-slip differential to deliver telepathic handling and better grip.
If that’s not enough, Toyota offers the Circuit Package that adds nifty suspension and exterior upgrades like bespoke 18-inch wheels, adjustable Bilstein dampers, bigger brakes, new side skirts, and a front lip spoiler. Meanwhile, the Rally Package offers a shorter stabilizer link, GR shock absorbers, a roll bar, and GR-branded skid plates.
Toyota is only making 500 units of the GRMN Yaris for Japanese buyers, while only 50 Circuit Packages will be on sale. Pricing starts at the equivalent of $65,000, while the first deliveries begin this summer. Toyota adds some of the upgrades will be available for the standard GR Yaris this fall, which is good news for regions where the GR Yaris is available.