The Corolla is famous for many things but is unheard of in performance circles. The new GR Corolla is unlike anything the old folks at the retirement home are conversant with. Instead, underneath the hood, it packs the most potent production three-banger globally. The only difference is this time, Toyota’s Gazoo Racing with a Midas touch added their magic pushing it to a whopping 300 hp (304 ps), about 185.4 horsepower per liter – it makes close to the same hp/liter as a Ferrari 488 Pista.
So, what makes the GR Corolla special? Unlike the Range Rover Evoque or BMW i8, which use a combination of a three-banger and an electric motor, the GR Corolla only runs on a combustion 1.6-liter 3-cylinder engine – the G16E-GTS.
For starters, the G16E-GTS is quite big for a 3-cylinder engine. It also comes with a cast aluminum block with an open deck. To make it more rigid, Toyota used the main bearing girdle that ties the crankshaft to the walls of the block to prevent it from bending under intense pressure.
Unfortunately, the GR Corolla doesn’t come with forged internals. Instead, the manufacturer opted for eutectic cast pistons, a popular option with performance tuners.
The G16E-GTS still shares the same D-4S and port fuel injection and 10.5:1 compression ratio as the GR Yaris. Rather than have the turbo and manifold separate, it is integrated into the manifold, with combustion gases passing freely through a triple-exit exhaust system.
The new Corolla GR uses the same six-speed transmission as the Yaris GR, the iMT (intelligent manual transmission) with a rev-matching feature, and hill assist to prevent rollback on inclines.
With tuners pushing the GR Yaris way above the 300 hp mark, it would be interesting to see what they do with the 2023 Toyota GR Corolla when it finally drives out of the production plants. Only time will tell.