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Watch the Toyota GR Yaris Hot Hatch Driven Hard at the Fuji Speedway in Japan

Internally known as the XP210, the fourth generation of the Yaris is the most aggressive one yet as far as go-faster upgrades are concerned. Toyota Gazoo Racing has worked its magic on the GR with rally-infused performance, but don’t believe for a single second that the newcomer feels at home off the beaten path.
Toyota GR Yaris 4WD 13 photos
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The Yaris GR is exclusively a street machine, and it can hold its own on the track as well. e-Car Life had the opportunity to put the hot hatchback through its paces at one of Japan’s most celebrated circuits, the Fuji Speedway that stands in the foothills of Mount Fuji. In the current configuration, the track features an overall length of 4.5 kilometers (2.8 miles) and a straight section of 1.4 clicks (0.9 miles).

Although it’s referred to as a prototype, the car is as production-spec as the GR Yaris gets. No fewer than two versions were offered for testing, namely the RZ High and RZ trims.

Both GRs rely on a six-speed manual transmission and a 1.6-liter turbo, a three-cylinder engine that cranks out 200 kW and 370 Nm. That’s 272 PS or 268 ponies and 273 pound-feet of torque, figues that make the Fiesta ST and Clio RS seem underpowered by comparison. The G16E-GTS engine is exclusive to this application, combining direct and port injection like the EcoBoost V6 from Ford.

What comes as a bit of a surprise is that the force-fed mill has the highest specific output of any Toyota series-production engine, a measure of engine performance that combines horsepower and displacement. As far as I’m aware, there’s no other three-cylinder turbo as impressive as the engine in the GR Yaris.

There is, however, an exception to this rule. Koenigsegg has a 2.0-liter motor that produces an eye-watering 600 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque (608 PS and 600 Nm). The Gemera, however, is limited to 300 examples worldwide.

Turning our attention back to the track test, it’s easy to hear those Michelin PS4Ss doing their best to handle the fury under the hood. Track Mode defaults the torque distribution to 50:50 but the GR-Four AWD can actually send 100 percent of the oomph to either axle. As for the driving experience, well, press play to find out what Yomitaka Gomi of e-Car Life thinks of this lil’ hatch with a big punch.

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