Luxury Cars

Toyota GR Yaris gains power, direct automatic transmission

Toyota took advantage of this 2024 Tokyo Auto Salon The company kicked off today in the Japanese capital to unveil an updated version of its attractive GR Yaris hatchback.

Inspired by the Yaris that competes in the World Rally Championship, the new 2024 GR Yaris represents the latest evolution of Toyota’s high-performance Yaris small cars, harkening back to the Yaris GRMN introduced last decade.

While the US gets the GR CorollaGiven the disappearance of the Yaris nameplate after 2020, it’s unlikely the smaller GR Yaris will reach these shores.

The latest development of the pocket rocket brings more power and an automatic transmission as an alternative to the standard 6-speed manual transmission. The car is no ordinary slushbox, but a quick and intuitive shifting design developed by Toyota Gazoo Racing’s motorsport division in rally competition.

Known as Direct automatic transmissionThe 8-speed automatic transmission is designed to shift faster by using software to predict driving behavior. Although this technology is not new, Toyota’s software goes beyond standard metrics like deceleration, g-forces and speed and integrates acceleration and braking into its logic. In this way, it is able to predict when a shift is required before a change in driving behavior actually occurs.

Toyota says the GR Yaris with the new car is capable of delivering faster track times than the manual transmission car.

Further modifications were required to ensure appropriate drivability and to counteract the susceptibility of automatic transmissions to heat damage. Key measures included the use of new materials, tighter gear ratios (hence the choice of eight gears) and a new torque control system.

2024 Toyota GR Yaris

2024 Toyota GR Yaris

The driver can control the performance of the transmission using the vehicle’s drive mode selector, and there is a manual mode that allows the driver to decide when to change gears. According to Toyota, keeping the engine in the 4,900 to 7,200 rpm range is ideal for performance.

The engine is a turbocharged 1.6-liter inline-3 engine with 276 hp, up from 268 hp current GR Yaris Launched in 2020. Drive is delivered to all four wheels as standard via a GR-Four all-wheel drive system that can adjust the balance of drive torque between the front and rear wheels depending on the vehicle’s mode. Torsen limited-slip differentials are also available front and rear.

Further improvements to the GR Yaris formula were achieved through additional reinforcements to the vehicle’s lightweight body, particularly additional spot welds and structural adhesives. The chassis is a bespoke design that combines the GA-B platform of the standard Yaris at the front with the rear end of the larger GA-C platform of the Corolla and other Toyota compact cars. The suspension, which consists of MacPherson struts and rear double wishbones with trailing arms, has also been slightly revised with new springs and additional bolts for the front dampers.

2024 Toyota GR Yaris

2024 Toyota GR Yaris

A comprehensive redesign was also carried out in the interior. Based on feedback from Gazoo Racing drivers, Toyota designers made key changes throughout. Changes included moving key controls for performance driving closer to the driver’s reach when strapped in a belt, such as controls for the intercooler spray function, stability control and hazard warning lights. The driver’s field of vision has also been improved by lowering the height of the instrument panel, changing the position of the rearview mirror and tilting the center console 15 degrees further towards the driver. The steering wheel and front seats were also lowered.

Sales of the 2024 GR Yaris begin this summer in select markets. In honor of its successful WRC drivers Sébastien Ogier and Kalle Rovanperä, Toyota will also offer two special edition versions that the automaker will unveil at the Monte Carlo Rally later this month.

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