Right now Toyota is a bringer of good things to petrolheads. The GT86 is getting a second generation, the Supra is – forget the haters – a damn fine thing to drive across a deserted Welsh county, and it doesn’t seem too long ago that it gave us the bonkers supercharged Yaris GRMN.
Now there’s another hot Yaris coming, and if the teaser is any guide it’s going to have the kind of swollen, rally-spec wheel arches that would give even the most ardent Toyota-basher physical issues of a deeply personal nature. Toyota Europe’s Twitter account has published a shot of part of the rear of something it’s calling the Yaris GR-4. And we’re excited.
The idea of being excited about a Yaris was almost alien before the arrival of the GRMN. A brief and excellent dalliance with a 1.5-litre T-Sport version back in the early 2000s was all that separated the dependable, safe and quiet Yaris from a mid-priced steam iron. It did a job, mainly for old people, and no one else really took any notice. The GRMN changed everything.
Toyota seems to have recognised that and ramped-up its efforts on the spicy side. There will be three grades of ‘performance’ Yaris when the new one comes out, from the GR Sport – essentially a trim exercise – to a new GRMN and then this. We can only hope that the GR-4 is to the Yaris what the Evo and WRX STI were to the Lancer and Impreza.
The initial signs are excellent. The car in the picture wears GRMN-spec camouflage and kicks out a fabulously oversized wheel arch that screams WRC homologation special. While we acknowledge that the 4 in its name could mean four-cylinder, and that it can’t be easy to fit four-wheel drive into a supermini (although Suzuki does it with the Swift), the fact that the car will make its debut at Rally Australia later this month gives us reason to hope that this is a legend in the making.