Editor: Jason “The Bok” Date – 09 Feb 2019

It’s fair to say that it has been an incredible past twelve months for the Japanese brand Toyota. Having won countless awards and titles including the very prestigious 24-hours of Lemans and Dakar 2019, the brand has certainly shown their commitment to motorsport and racing excellence.

Just on the cusp of these titles, I decided to spend some time driving a compact limited edition trophy out of the Toyota vehicle cabinet, meet the one of a kind Yaris GR MN,

What is GRMN?

GRMN stands for Gazoo Racing Meister of Nürburgring. Already an exciting start to things, and one which suggests much pedigree and Nürburgring tuning performance. While it is new to Europe, and not even coming to South Africa, the GRMN insignia has been around for years in Japan, and brings a little of Toyota’s commitment to rally and the road into a production series of vehicle and the results are astonishing.

In A Nutshell

The Yaris GRMN will be limited to just 400 units in Europe, with no units destined for SA. Being incredibly privileged, I was able to spend time driving vehicle 393/400, one of only 3 which has been imported into South Africa and will remain in the showpiece cabinet of Toyota South Africa and not sold.

GRMN - 2The Yaris GRMS costs a pretty 29,900 euros ( or almost R500,000 in current exchange rates) and uses a 1.8-litre supercharged 4 cylinder that will develop about a simply staggering 157 kW, all of which can propel the sensible compact Toyota hatch from 0 – 100 km/h in around 6-seconds depending (officially claimed 6.3 seconds). With the mass of power comes serious brakes in the way of 275-mm, 4-piston calliper front disc brake, with 278-mm discs fitted at the rear, all of which allow the compact pocket bunny to come to a halt very quality if needed.

To top the package off, The Yaris GRMN rides approximately 24 mm lower than a standard Yaris and does so on shorter springs. A McPherson strut and rear torsion beam suspension setup complemented by Sachs performance shock absorbers further adds to the compact cars racing style demeanour and stance.

Toyota’s stated objective for the Yaris GRMN from the start was to be bold and to prove its dominance as the lightest, fastest and most powerful car within its class. I can confirm that its JOB DONE! While many incredible hot-hatch rivals may compete in this space, the Yaris GRMN destroys their 0 – 100 km/h times and perhaps, more importantly, does so with an enormous and laughable sense of enjoyment.

Performance DNA

With a specifically developed and tuned chassis, a Torsen limited-slip differential and Bridgestone tyres which are there to let you have a bit of fun without generating massive grip, the Yaris GRMN has been designed from the ground upwards to be as unique as it is simply bonkers.

GRMN - 1I absolutely love driving hot compact hatches, the likes for the Ford Fiesta ST200, and Volkswagen Polo GTI, for instance, envoke a sheer sense of boy-racing pocket euphoria, but the Toyota just seems to add an extra helping of “unexpected” lunacy to the mix, and I absolutely love it!

From racing style bucket seats at the from to a curb-weight of a very low 1135 kg’s, a 0 – 100 km/h time which is best in class, the Yaris GRMN according to Toyota themselves brings “The rhythm of rally to the road” and does so in keeping with Toyota’s old slogan “Lead The Way.

Quick Facts & SA Pricing

  • Only 400-built for Europe
  • 157 kW : 250 Nm 
  • 0 – 100 km/h (approx 6.3-seconds)
  • 1.8-litre supercharged 4-cylinder engine
  • 1135 kg weight
  • Top speed 230 kph
  • Complete FUN and Lunacy!!!

GRMN - 3R0,00 (Not For Sale in SA)

The Yaris fits within the B-segment and Toyota South Africa is not looking to sadly add this model to its line-up (fuel quality issues in South Africa prevent the Yaris GRMN’s engine from breathing as cleanly as the Japanese require, which further adds to this decision). While I do wish it were to be sold in South Africa, at least I can certainly admire Toyota’s achievement of building this incredible “pocket rocket” and thank Toyota South Africa for the opportunity to have been able to experience a taste of the brands Kaizen (commitment to showing their drive for perfection).     

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