One of most sought after hot hatchbacks of 2020 has finally been revealed: the Toyota GR Yaris

Toyota has officially unveiled the GR Yaris at this year’s Tokyo Auto Salon, a turbocharged, all-wheel drive three-door hot hatchback that will be the second model in Toyota’s high-performance GR range, and the homologation model for its 2020 WRC world rally car.

Powering the GR Yaris is an all-new, bespoke 1618cc turbocharged three-cylinder engine that is mounted lower down and further back than in standard Yaris models. The unit features a part-machined intake port, four valves per cylinder and a single-scroll turbocharger. Peak power is quoted at 191kW, with torque rated at 360Nm. These outputs make the GR Yaris the most powerful three-cylinder model in the world. Toyota quotes a 0-100kmh time of 5.5sec and an electronically top speed of 230kmh.

> Click here for our review of the Toyota GR Yaris prototype

Power is then transmitted via a six-speed manual transmission (there is no automatic or dual-clutch option available) to a four-wheel drive system that distributes torque between the axles via a central coupling, as opposed to an on-demand Haldex style system found in other small all-wheel drive hot hatchbacks like the late Audi S1. Torque split between the axles is variable depending on a selected driver mode with Normal, Sport and Track modes dividing drive 60:40, 30:70 or 50:50 in each of the modes respectively.

Optional Torson limited-slip differentials on both front and rear axles are also available bundled in a Circuit pack that combines these with a different set of 18-inch forged alloy wheels, wrapped in 225/40R18 Michelin Super Sport tyres and a more track-oriented suspension tune.

Despite sharing a name with the standard Yaris hatch, this three door-only model features a bespoke body that’s significantly wider and 91mm lower than the standard five-door model. The new body has been designed with rallying in mind with new suspension pick-up points, a wider track and a double-wishbone rear axle all bespoke to the GR Yaris. The body itself incorporates lightweight materials to keep the weight down to 1280kg, with a carbonfibre polymer roof skin, aluminium doors, bonnet and boot lid.

Why go to all the effort and expense of re-engineering things such as the roofline and axles for a homologation special? Gazoo Racing’s 2020 Yaris WRC car differs so much from the standard Yaris that this homologation model will need to be produced. In contrast to old Group N WRC rules, which required a limited number of closely related road-going examples to be produced in order to comply (think early Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution or Subaru WRX), today’s rules allow a wider chasm between the road and rally versions. However, venture outside these limitations, as Toyota Gazoo Racing has done, and a large production run is required to homologate the race car.

As such, the GR Yaris will not be limited to just a few hundred units, instead Toyota will need to produce a full 25,000 next year in order to comply with WRC regulations. Customer cars aren’t expected to hit the road until later this year, and pricing has still yet to be confirmed.