Improved Rigidity, Enhanced Suspension, Redesigned Cabin: A Comprehensive Makeover
During the highly anticipated 2024 Tokyo Auto Salon, Toyota made waves with the unveiling of their much-awaited new vehicle, the Toyota GR Yaris. This new model boasts several upgrades and enhancements that are sure to excite car enthusiasts. The G16E three-cylinder turbocharged engine was already notable for its impressive power output of 257 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque (even more in JDM spec). However, Toyota took it a step further by strengthening the valvetrain, incorporating new pistons made from lightweight materials and equipped with wear-resistant rings. Additionally, they have also introduced a new exhaust valve material and an upgraded intake pressure sensor. The pressure of the D-4ST fuel injection system has also been increased to achieve an even higher performance level, resulting in new output figures of 276 hp and 288 lb-ft of torque.
This is specifically for the European version; however, Japan will receive a 300 horsepower and 295 pound-feet engine, equivalent to the GR Corolla.
The Circuit model has been equipped with an upgraded cooling system, which includes a new sub-radiator that is designed to “enhance reliability during high-speed driving.” The air intake and intercooler spray system have also been modified. Additionally, controls that are frequently used such as those for the intercooler spray, hazard lights, and stability control system have been repositioned closer to the driver for easier access when wearing a racing harness.
Modifications to the cockpit have been made, such as shifting the location of the rearview mirror and decreasing the height of the instrument panel by 50 millimeters. These adjustments aim to enhance the driver’s visual range. Additionally, the passenger-side instrument panel tray has been expanded to accommodate a co-driver’s monitor, while the control panel has been angled 15 degrees for faster and more convenient control adjustments by the driver. The seat has also been lowered by 25 mm and the steering wheel aligned accordingly.
The latest 12.3-inch screen for the driver’s display offers two different layout options. Additionally, on the automatic version (which we will discuss in a moment), there is an information panel that displays the temperature of the transmission oil and a cautionary notice to inform the driver if the engine RPMs are dangerously high for shifting into a lower gear.
In other areas, there has been a notable rise of 13% in spot welds and a significant 24% rise in the utilization of structural adhesive which holds the potential to enhance the overall body stiffness. Moreover, the suspension system has undergone minor modifications such as increased number of bolts on the front shocks for better stability during high-load driving and revamped springs on all corners leading to improved handling.
Let’s talk about the Gazoo Racing Direct Automatic Transmission, also known as the auto. This advanced eight-speed gearbox surpasses traditional automatic transmissions in terms of intuitiveness. According to Toyota, “conventional gearshifting relies on detecting the vehicle’s actions, such as deceleration G-force and speed. However, the new transmission’s optimized software is finely tuned to also sense the driver’s use of the brakes and accelerator.” This enables the transmission to anticipate when a shift is needed, “even before any changes in the vehicle’s behavior take place.”
In order to meet the expectations of professional racing drivers, extensive testing was conducted in various prestigious events such as the Japan Rally Championship, the Toyota Gazoo Racing Rally Challenge, and the Super Taikyu series. The renowned Master Driver and Chairman of Toyota, Akio Toyoda (known as Morizo), played a significant role in advocating for a unique feature where pulling the stick backwards would register an upshift and pushing it forward would indicate a downshift, thus providing a heightened sensation of being part of the motorsport world. Furthermore, an extra transmission fluid cooler has been added to enhance durability and performance.
Toyota has made revisions to the drive mode selection capabilities, which activate distinct configurations for the electric power steering, air conditioning unit, throttle response maps, and driver display, depending on the mode selected (Sport, Normal, or Eco). The sensation and reaction of shifting gears are also altered, with manual shifting of the automatic transmission being the most efficient. According to Toyota, operating the vehicle within the range of 4,900 to 7,200 rpm is where drivers will experience the utmost enjoyment.
The freshly designed GR Yaris undergoes some subtle changes to enhance its appearance. The traditional plastic mesh has been replaced with a more durable metal version, and the side grilles have been enlarged. The lower bumper has been revamped into two separate pieces for easier and more cost-effective replacement. On the rear end, there is now a strategically placed opening in the bottom edge of the lower bumper to help dissipate heat from the exhaust and increase aerodynamics. The fog and reverse lights have been relocated within the rear clusters to minimize the risk of damage. Additionally, the center high-mounted stop light has been repositioned to improve visibility from behind and allow room for customization of the rear spoiler. A brand new color option, Precious Metal, is showcased on this model.
After much deliberation, the engineers have incorporated the newest Toyota Safety Sense driver assistance features, along with an updated navigation system and a state-of-the-art digital key. The automatic vehicle likewise has gained entry to enhanced forged wheels, augmented rear and side monitors, and a superior JBL audio system.
A pair of exclusive models (Sebastien Ogier Edition and Kalle Rovanpera Edition) influenced by the World Rally Championship will be revealed during the Rallye Monte-Carlo, showcasing the new GR Yaris. Our curiosity, however, lies in any potential upgrades for the GR Corolla. An automatic gearbox would attract a wider audience, and if accompanied by a performance boost, it would be highly welcomed. As demonstrated by tuners, the engine has proven its capability to double the stock output.