‘Gazoo Racing tuned through the Meister of Nrburgring’. That’s the rather convoluted concept of that four-letter initialism affixed to the rear of this specific Toyota Yaris – the topic of this week’s road test.
Small mouthful, isn’t it? Express it a few occasions and you’ll soon appreciate why the ‘GRMN’ badging is essential, even when it doesn’t particularly roll from the tongue anymore easily.
Motorsport fans will know of the Gazoo Racing name before. Initially, it had been one of numerous in-house racing teams run by Toyota – running alongside the kind of Toyota Racing and Lexus Racing – making its debut within the 2007 Nrburgring 24 Hrs race with a set of used Altezzas. However, in 2015, the teams were merged to create Toyota Gazoo Racing, which now competes both in the planet Endurance Championship (WEC) and also the World Rally Championship (WRC).
This realignment of Toyota’s racing teams looks like it’s born from a wish within the organization to reposition motorsport like a key factor in the introduction of its future road cars. Which, in the outlook during keen motorists, are only able to be considered a good factor.
It doesn’t matter what your ideas may be around the nomenclature, it’s obvious the Yaris GRMN is really a serious vehicle for Toyota – a business whose name hasn’t exactly been a byword for driver excitement or entertainment recently. It marks the firm’s go back to the new hatch market and will probably be a bridge between your rally-winning Yaris WRC vehicle and also the humble, standard hatch.
It’s even the first in a number of limited-run GRMN-badged performance cars that Toyota will offer you to European customers, and they’ll be developed and honed in the Nrburgring.
Using the new Supra coming – it had been previewed earlier this year in the 2018 Geneva motor show through the GR Supra Racing Concept – is the Yaris GRMN function as the harbinger of the more thrilling, hardcore Toyota? Let’s discover.
The Yaris GRMN differs from most hot hatchbacks of their size, chiefly because to the fact that it features a 1.8-litre four-cylinder 2ZR-FE engine – tuned by Lotus – that’s supercharged instead of turbocharged.
It’s a Magnuson Eaton rotor-type supercharger and intercooler system that, along with huge-duty fuel injection system usually available on Toyota’s V6 engines along with a bigger air intake, enables for optimum power and torque figures of 209bhp at 6800rpm and 184lb foot at 4800rpm.
This considerable output is distributed towards the front wheels using a six-speed manual gear box, in addition to a Torsen limited-slip differential. 5 years ago, a restricted-slip diff will be a rare sight within this class, but it’s becoming more and more common.
In a little under four metres long, the Yaris GRMN is small even by supermini standards, so fitting that supercharger within the engine bay combined with the 1.8-litre four-pot needed the induction system to become packaged inside a compact single stack unit around the front from the engine combined with the cooling unit and air intake.
Just like the powertrain, the Yaris’s chassis has also been exposed to extensive changes. A lateral brace over the front suspension towers provides essential strengthening along with a front anti-roll bar that’s 26mm across continues to be introduced. The MacPherson strut front and torsion beam rear suspension plans are fitted with Sachs Performance dampers, and shorter springs lead to some 24mm decrease in ride height within the standard vehicle – answer to decreasing the tall Yaris’s center of gravity. Has it been decreased by enough to show this right into a really compelling driver’s vehicle, though? We will have. Improved stopping power comes thanks to disc brakes front and back.
A rear spoiler, central tailpipe, rear diffuser, 17in BBS alloy wheels and garish black and red decals help complete the transformation from bog-standard Yaris to aggressive and outlandish GRMN specs.
The vehicle is available in one colour plan, which is it. It’s a distinct segment look, without a doubt. It’s more hardcore and overtly aggressive than other hot superminis, but it’s alluringly nerdy and cultish also it clearly conveys Toyota’s desire to have its performance credentials to become given serious attention.
The conventional Yaris has not been applauded for that material quality of their cabin and also the GRMN continues this trend. The dashboard is built from dark, dull plastics that lend the inside an ordinary and slightly low-rent atmosphere that’s both dated and also at odds with the car’s hefty 26,295 cost.
Ultimately, though, no-frills approach means there’s less to draw attention away from you against the job at hands – the driving. And also, since it shows that nearly every shred from the car’s budget continues to be allocated to making that driving experience more thrilling, you may even that can compare with the cabin treatment.
Some rather excellent-searching Alcantara bucket seats would be the most noticeable addition. Although firm, they’re plenty supportive and hamstrung only because they are plainly fitted excessive to have an ideal driving position.
The GT86-derived controls – or, more precisely, the vehicle’s steering column – suffers from similar ergonomic problems, here less than supplying enough when it comes to adjustability for achieve. The sports pedals fit the part, but they’re not ideally placed for heel-and-foot gearchanges.
The Yaris GRMN utilizes a 7.0in Toyota Touch 2 infotainment system that comes with features for example sat nav, DAB radio, Bluetooth and USB smartphone connectivity. It’s in no way a superb system, being graphically quite fundamental and never as responsive as units provided by rival manufacturers. Nonetheless, it’s a minimum of simple enough to navigate and operate.
Unlike an growing quantity of other vehicle firms, Toyota has kept away from incorporating all from the infotainment system controls inside the touchscreen and it has rather left physical shortcut buttons around its edges. They’re not particularly tactile, but their presence makes navigating with the system’s numerous sub-menus far simpler when you’re on the go.
The six-speaker seem system doesn’t seem great, getting tinny along with a touch distorted at greater volumes. With your a fascinating soundtrack in the engine, though, this really is unlikely to bother proprietors much.
The supply of space right in front is nice, using the Yaris’s taller roofline creating lots of mind room. Like a strict three-door, however, the backseats may end up being an impression too tight for adult passengers to really sit easily on anything apart from a brief visit to the businesses. Still, it’s important to note that, at 650mm, the Yaris GRMN provides more when it comes to rear leg room than the usual Small Cooper S Works 210 and Peugeot 208 GTi, that offer 640mm and 620mm correspondingly.
For boot capacity, the Toyota has 286 litres of space, again outdoing both Small (278 litres) and Peugeot (285 litres).
That supercharger lends the Yaris GRMN a totally different character in the turbocharged majority within the hot supermini class. It’s not only lower on torque in contrast to the kind of the Cooper S 210 Works and 208 GTi 30th (which both offer 221lb foot) but it’s also much more of challenging to gain access to what twisting power it will have thinking about it’s only accessible up at almost 5000rpm.
There’s an authentic have to actually work the six-speed manual gear box to help keep the crankshaft spinning at its sweet place, then. But because it’s a clever-shifting and precise ’box, and something that handles fast shifts easily and feels well able to standing to tough track-day abuse, this can be a real work of affection. Actually, the Yaris GRMN enables you to sing for your accelerative supper only serves to help cement its positioning among the more involving hot hatches around.
That torque deficit doesn’t mean the Yaris is slow from the line, either. The performance figures we documented on a drying track show a -60mph duration of 6.4sec, that is one-tenth quicker than the Peugeot and eight-tenths faster compared to Small (which was, admittedly, timed in additional slippery conditions). From 30mph to 70mph, the Yaris GRMN seemed to be superior, clocking 5.4sec alongside 5.8sec for that Peugeot and 6.0sec for that Small.
It’s and not the easiest vehicle to obtain from the line rapidly, though. There’s much less mechanical grip because you’ll get in some fast front-motorists, so you have to be sensitive together with your throttle inputs in third and fourth gears. Understand it properly and you’ll be welcomed by not just some seriously quick acceleration but additionally a correctly intoxicating engine note. It’s a reasonably harsh, unreconstructed-sounding engine, but its waspish and angry timbre complements this hot Yaris’s hardcore character perfectly which is far more suitable towards the sonic fakery that frequently comes with turbocharged motors.
Disc brakes (ventilated in front and solid in the rear) supply the Yaris GRMN with lots of stopping power too. Stamp around the middle pedal and also the 1135kg supermini can come to some halt from 60mph by 50 percent.89sec. Again, this betters the Small and Peugeot.
The Yaris happens to be a significant tall vehicle, therefore the uprated suspension is built to continue to work harder than most to correctly contain body roll. Even with all the tuning and stiffening which has gone in, the GRMN model still feels noticeably top heavy compared with lots of its rivals.
This is particularly then when the vehicle is exposed to quick alterations in direction, where one can have the body’s weight shift along its longitudinal axis before it settles on its outdoors wheels. There’s also little when it comes to provocation required to exceed the boundaries from the front tyres’ grip mid-corner.
Besides the firmed-up suspension struggle to handle maintaining your Toyota’s taller structure under control, it leaves the vehicle having a particularly firm, uncompromising ride that isn’t supple or fluent enough to manage well with bumpier surfaces. There’s a savage side towards the car’s damping which makes the axles struggle to cope with bigger, sharper inputs and helps make the low-speed ride somewhat unforgiving, so you’d need to be particularly dedicated to the concept to make use of the vehicle as your everyday driver.
Just like the powertrain, the steering requires a little bit of effort to obtain the most from it. The gearing is slow near center – potentially a legacy from the regular Yaris, because that would make it feel more stable as fast as possible – so a little bit of wrestling using the wheel is essential to get the vehicle to show along with any proper emergency. A lot more, anyway, than is becoming usual for the short supermini breed. This produces a steering set-up that, although nicely weighted and suitably feelsome, just doesn’t appear as quick since it’s 2.28 turns from lock to lock suggest it should.
Driving the Yaris GRMN hard is definitely an endeavour that needs more forethought and commitment than most cars available demand. You have to think carefully regarding your gear selection just before entering a large part, because you won’t have the ability to depend on any real low-lower shove around the exit. This requires a disciplined driving style that many will embrace concerning the vehicle. However it accentuates the requirement for heel-and-foot braking to help keep the engine at its sweet place, and also the spaced-out positioning from the pedals entails there’s an excuse for considerable ankle rotation to complete this type of manoeuvre cleanly.
Enhance the necessity to wrestle the Yaris GRMN’s nose into bends, all while ensuring to help keep the leading tyres inside their limits of grip, and also the Toyota turns out to be a significant challenge they are driving rapidly. It’s a wonderfully involving vehicle, certainly. However it certainly doesn’t make existence simple for you.
So regardless of the apparently considerable work which has gone directly into causeing this to be a correctly focused driver’s hot hatch, the Yaris GRMN just isn’t as incisive or agile in the handling while you expect so that it is also it doesn’t quite act as well, on the highway, as it can have.
Even though you were prepared to satisfy the 26,295 selling price, you wouldn’t be capable of getting their hands on a Yaris GRMN – a minimum of around the new vehicle market. All 80 examples bound for that United kingdom happen to be clicked up. Actually, from the 400 cars which were destined for Europe, most countries offered their allocations within 72 hrs of order books opening.
Individuals select couple of who were able to secure one will receive a vehicle that isn’t exactly filled with standard equipment – almost as much ast they may care. Sure, you will find all of the performance-oriented trimmings – sports seats, bodykit, 17in alloy wheels and so forth – however your traditional mod cons are thin on the floor. There’s no cruise charge of any sort, the seats aren’t heated and although there’s an infotainment system, it’s a lengthy way from as being a particularly great one.
The car’s thirsty, too. During the period of our testing, it had been uncovered to both lengthier freeway journeys and high-footed track driving, recording a complete test fuel consumption figure of 27.4mpg. In comparison, the Cooper S Works 210 managed 30.6mpg.
For depreciation, both a 208 GTi and also the Small are forecast to do much better than the Toyota. Despite its limited production run, the Yaris GRMN is anticipated to retain only 39% of their value after 36,000 miles and 3 years of possession.
Gazoo Racing’s alternative and old-school formula for any hot supermini, put on a vehicle as ill-suitable for the reason because the Yaris, hasn’t led to the very best of performance hatchbacks – but there’s still plenty on which to commend this feral little vehicle.
That supercharged engine is exclusive within the segment and the necessity to arrange it hard goes a lengthy way towards causeing this to be one of the most rewarding driving encounters within this class. There’s character in spades, because of its genuine eagerness to rev as well as an addictive soundtrack. Also it helps make the Yaris GRMN a correctly quick hot hatch.
Given Toyota’s apparent intention to pitch this like a vehicle that puts its driving experience above anything else – think no-frills interior and aggressive exterior – it’s a pity the chassis isn’t as responsive or rewarding as that powertrain. The Yaris GRMN is unquestionably an involving vehicle they are driving rapidly, but alongside rivals which are sharper, keener and eventually more composed – as well as cheaper – it fails to deliver in key areas.
Like a statement of intent for Gazoo Racing’s future models, however, it’s highly promising.