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Toyota GR Yaris With 8-Speed Auto 'Box in Testing, Self-Shifting Option Could Become Real

In this day and age, most enthusiasts don’t give a flying hoot about manual transmissions anymore. And who can blame them, because, in addition to the obvious comfort advantage, some of the automatic cars are often quicker off-the-line than their stick-shift counterparts.
Toyota GR Yaris 9 photos
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The win-win situation doesn’t apply to certain models, however, like the Toyota GR Yaris, which is only available with a six-speed manual gearbox. Nonetheless, that could soon change, because the Japanese automaker is currently working on an automatic transmission for the rally-bred hot hatch.

According to CarWatch, the car firm has already developed such a tester, which was put through its paces in the Toyota Racing Rally Challenge. This early development vehicle features an eight-speed automatic transmission whose goal is to deliver quick shifts, and be smooth and fuel efficient.

Accommodating it required a few changes, and the addition of an oil cooler, and larger intakes were just some of them. As you can imagine, the automatic GR Yaris has a new gear shifter inside, and paddles mounted behind the steering wheel. The brand’s Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors, Shigeru Hayakawa, is driving the prototype, and he described it as being “completely different.” “I’m told that it’s okay to break it. I’ve already broken it once,” the exec commented.

There is a big step between testing an auto ‘box and actually implementing it in the sporty subcompact model, so there really is no guarantee that we will ever see it on the road. Still, such an option should make it a couple of tenths of a second quicker to 62 mph (100 kph) over the manual variant, which can deal with the sprint in under 5.5 seconds in the European specification. This one uses a 257 hp and 266 lb-ft (360 Nm) of torque 1.6-liter three-pot and has a 143 mph (230 kph) top speed.


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