Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to get you acquainted with Toyota’s new, Gazoo Racing-fettled performance car line-up. It’s convoluted range that covers everything from minivans to sports cars over three ‘levels’ of intensity, so do make sure you’re paying attention.
Let’s start at the top with one that should sound familiar: GRMN, currently used only on the Vitz - known the Yaris in most other markets. GRMN cars will be limited production, featuring extensive engine and chassis enhancements. In the case of the Vitz/Yaris, that means a 1.8-litre supercharged engine pinched from a Lotus Elise, upgraded springs and dampers, and a Torsen limited-slip differential.
Below that we have the halfway house, GR. Cars branded thusly are imbued with the “essence of GRMN,” according to Toyota. Just the Yaris and the 86 have been given the GR treatment so far, and for the 86, that means new aero devices, Sachs shock absorbers, Rays forged wheel, upgraded brakes with six-pot callipers at the front/four-pot callipers at the rear, and a Torsen limited-slip differential.
On the inside meanwhile you’ll find new Recaro seats, and a smaller diameter steering wheel. Oh, and before you ask, nothing’s been done under the bonnet. How about changing that with an 86 GRMN, Toyota?
Finally, we have the entry-level ‘GR Sport’ grade. This expands to a huge range of cars encompassing minivans and even the Prius, and focuses on more mild suspension tuning, additional chassis bracing and - in some cases - smaller, sportier steering wheels. Currently, it’s offered on the Vitz, Prius, Harrier, Mark X, Voxy and Noah models.
Much of the range is on sale now, with the 86 GR arriving next Spring. The cars you see here are for Japan only, but don’t panic, the Gazoo Racing goodness will eventually be spread to other markets. “Beginning with the Yaris GRMN revealed in Europe in March 2017, TMC plans to deploy the GR series outside of Japan as well gradually,” Toyota said today.
Watch this space…