Toyota will use the Paris auto show to unveil the first of its GR Sport range of performance-oriented models, beginning with the Yaris small car.
The Japanese brand is overhauling its European lineup to add more emotional appeal, including making a closer link between its Gazoo Racing rally and track activities via the GR Sport range.
The Yaris GR Sport is based on the 1.5-liter Yaris hybrid model and carries over some of the modifications seen on the high-performance, limited-run Yaris GRMN. Toyota built just 400 of the GRMN, which uses a Lotus-tuned 1.8-liter supercharged engine making 212hp.
The GR Sport car has a lower ground clearance, sportier shock absorbers and a more rigid anti-roll bar to improve handling over the standard Yaris hybrid. The styling of the car is given a sportier look with the addition of a two-tone roof with spoiler, black door mirror housings, unique headlights and a black honeycomb grille. Inside, the car has unique white-and-black seat coverings and steering wheel taken from the Toyota GT86 sports car. No prices have been released for the car which goes on sale later this year.
The hybrid power output remains unchanged from the standard model’s at 99hp. Just over half of all Yaris sales in the first half of the year were hybrid models, Toyota Motor Europe said.
Toyota will add a second sports car to its range in early 2019 when it launches the long-awaited Supra coupe, which sits above the GT86. The Supra is due to go on sale in the first half of 2019 and was developed in partnership with BMW, which is launching a roadster version called the Z4.
Toyota is also expanding its hybrid range to include a sportier 2.0-liter gasoline 177hp powertrain, that will join the existing 1.8-liter model used in its compact models. The engine will be included in the new Corolla range, which replaces the Auris in Europe next year.