This is the GR Yaris and it's the most exciting car Toyota's built in decades. Born on the stages of the World Rally Championship and developed by Toyota's Gazoo Racing and rally royalty Tommi Mäkinen Racing — it's a true homologated rally car for the road. We love it.
The extent of what's been done to produce this car should not be underestimated. It's got an all-new platform, a 261hp 1.6-litre turbocharged engine, permanent four-wheel drive, new suspension, a lightweight construction and, as you can see, a serious new look. Hell, Toyota even went to the bother of lowering the roof by a not-inconsiderable 9.1cm (next to the standard car) to reduce drag.
While the front of the GR is based on the Yaris' platform, the back end borrows the Prius' underpinnings
In fact, the body's all-new, the GR getting a super-stiff (and unique to the Yaris range) three-door design, frameless doors and huge blistered wheel arches to accommodate its 18-inch alloy wheels, while the boot-mounted GR-Four badge is a nod to the '90s GT-Four Celica. If aggression's your drug, then the GR Yaris is your pill.
First to the heart of the beast, though, and that engine. It's not the four-cylinder you might expect it to be, Toyota opting instead for a lightweight 1.6-litre, 12-valve triple shoved far behind the front wheels for better weight distribution. It features nerdy components like multi-oil-jet piston cooling, large-diameter exhaust valves, a part-machined intake port and, naturally, a single-scroll ball-bearing turbo.
The Circuit Pack is an essential just to get your hands on these gorgeous forged alloys
The result? How about 0-62mph in less than 5.5 seconds (a lot less, we'd wager), a 143mph top speed, 360Nm of torque and 261hp. Remember, the Ford Fiesta ST produces 200hp and a 290Nm from a similar configuration, and you can imagine which car is more likely to leave you stranded roadside.
That performance is as much down to the Yaris' killer kerb weight, which has been pared down thanks to a carbon fibre polymer roof, plus an aluminium bonnet, doors and tailgate. As a result, Toyota's little psycho tips the scales at 1,280kg – just 18kgs more than a Fiesta ST, which does without the GR's weighty permanent four-wheel-drive system.
The GR Yaris looks so good it could... ah jeez, just pass the tissues
And it's not just any old four-wheel drive, oh no. Along with a centre diff, opt for the Circuit Pack and you can also have limited-slip differentials on the front and the rear. In other words, the Toyota can send all its power to one wheel if it happens to have the most grip.
Even if you shun the Circuit Pack, the centre diff has something to boast about, allowing you to split power 60:40, 50:50, or, if you're feeling particularly game, 30:70 front to back using a dial in the cabin. You can't do that in your VW Golf R, can you?
Those seat will treat you to the warm embrace of a mother suffering from separation anxiety
And the suspension. Well, the suspension... You can forget about a run-of-the-mill torsion beam rear setup because the GR Yaris gets motorsport-inspired double-wishbones with MacPherson struts up front, where you'll find 356mm grooved discs clamped by four-pot calipers. They're designed specifically to resist fade on track.
To do the job as Mr Toyoda intended, though, you'll need the aforementioned Circuit Pack that, along with fancy diffs, adds even stiffer suspension, and lightweight 18-inch forged alloy wheels with a square setup featuring super-tacky 225/40R18 Michelin Sport 4s.
Business-like interior is typical of Toyota but you get a sporty three-spoke steering wheel, six-speed manual 'box and alloy pedals
While we have a moment to ourselves to contemplate the fact that the Yaris could cost as little as £27,000 (that's what it will cost in Japan), you can read the car's full specifications in delicious detail below, or why not relieve your rallying memories with this Tamiya Castrol Celica model?