Named Yaris GR, Toyota's newest pocket rocket shares little with the next-generation Yaris introduced earlier in 2019 for global markets. The two models are inevitably linked by a handful of styling cues, but the GR is a two-door model, while the regular car is only available with four doors. British magazine Evo learned engineers relied on carbon fiber and aluminum to keep weight in check. The GR's roofline is much lower than the standard hatchback's, and its engine is mounted a little bit further back to improve weight distribution. This is clearly not a half-baked appearance package. And, significantly, it was developed in-house by Toyota from start to finish.
The GR's final specifications won't be released until closer to its on-sale date, but Toyota told Autocar power comes from a 1.6-liter three-cylinder engine turbocharged to make at least 250 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. It spins the four wheels via a six-speed manual transmission; an automatic won't be offered because it would add weight while reducing driver engagement. The GR is the foundation Toyota's entry into the 2021 World Rally Championship (WRC) will be built on, so there's no need to make it mother-in-law-friendly; that's what the standard Yaris is for.
With that said, in normal driving conditions, the four-wheel drive system channels 60% of the engine's torque to the front wheels, and 40% to the rear axle. Selecting Sport mode dials in a 30:70 torque split, while Track mode splits the triple's power evenly between the two axles. Bigger disc brakes all around and a redesigned suspension help enthusiasts keep the shiny side up.
Toyota will introduce the Yaris GR in January 2020 at the Tokyo Auto Salon. Sales will begin shortly after, its base price will lie in the vicinity of 30,000 pounds (about $40,000), but pricing is of little interest to American enthusiasts because there's no indication this super-hatch will make its way to our shores. If it's any consolation, it will be eligible for import in 2045, so you've got time to save up.