What's the news?
No sooner had word of Toyota's new Y20 20th birthday edition Yaris landed then news of the Yaris we've really been waiting for arrived too - the Yaris GR Sport.
Now, while this is a hot hatch Yaris, it's not the one you're thinking of. You're thinking of the Yaris GRMN - Gazoo Racing Masters of the Nurburgring, the crazy-hot, limited edition Yaris seen earlier this year, of which Toyota only made 400, and which cost close to €50,000. If you could even find one.
No, the Yaris GR is the milder, but much more widely available, Yaris hot hatch, which basically serves as a taster for GR versions of many more mainstream Toyota models. Think of GR as being equivalent to Ford's ST, while GRMN is the full-on RS.
The Yaris GR takes some inspiration, both mechanical and visual, from the GRMN. First off, the suspension uses specially-designed dampers from German experts Sachs, as did the GRMN, and the GR gets a thicker anti-roll bar too (although this one is a simpler, solid bar, rather than the light-weight hollowed version of the GRMN). The whole car is 11mm lower to the ground, and the gap between the top of the wheel and the arch has been brought down by 18mm.
There are 17-inch cast-alloy wheels, finished in black, and those get the same Bridgestone Potenza RE50 205/45R17 tyres as the GRMN used.
So far, so expected but here comes the kicker - the GR Sport is actually a hybrid, using the same 1.5-litre petrol engine and electric motor as the standard Yaris Hybrid. It keeps the same 99hp power output, but doubtless there have been some engine software tweaks to make it feel a little more thrilling. Here's hoping. Toyota's policy seems to be that hybrid power is the best power, and that the chassis mods will be what makes the GR Sport engaging to drive.
Inside, you get high-backed 'Ultrasuede' bucket seats, a GR Sport instrument pack, and the same sporty three-spoke wheel that you'd find in a GT86.
Prices for the Yaris GR Sports start from €23,700 or from €192 per month on a finance package.