The spirit of the hot hatch is alive and well at Gazoo Racing.
Think the hot hatch is a dying breed? If it is, nobody seems to have told Toyota, which has a particularly potent little pocket rocket in the works.
Just look at this latest teaser video, issued by the Japanese automaker's European division. It shows the forthcoming new GR Yaris having its neck wrung out at the Autódromo Fernanda Pires da Silva – better known as Estoril, onetime home of the Portuguese Grand Prix, and arguably one of the finest racing circuits in southern Europe, if not the world.
For those just joining us, the new GR Yaris will be the second road-going project from Toyota's Gazoo Racing operation, following the GR Supra. The successor to the previous Yaris GRMN, the new GR Yaris is designed as a street-legal version of Toyota's Yaris R5 rally car, which itself is a diluted version of the one it runs in the World Rally Championship.
Word has it that Toyota's new hot hatch will employ a lightweight 1.6-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine, kicking out upwards of 250 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque to all four corners through a proper six-speed manual.
The row-it-yourself gearbox won't be the only break with the prevailing trends in the hatchback market, though, as the GR Yaris uses a three-door setup instead of the usual five. The body shell is also lower and lighter thanks to the use of aluminum panels, and the suspension completely reworked over the standard model's.
Toyota's set to unveil the finished product at the 2020 Tokyo Auto Salon on January 10 – nearly two months after its original debut was scheduled for the Rally Australia that was called off due to brushfires. Based as it clearly is, though, on the overseas version of the Yaris – a completely different product from the Mazda-based model we get here – we won't be holding our breath to see it reach American showrooms.