On Thursday, in Long Beach, California, Toyota released the high-performance version of their famous model, the Toyota GR Corolla, known for its affordability, efficiency, and practicality.
It is an all-wheel-drive and a 300-horsepower turbocharged 3-cylinder engine making it more powerful than the standard, front-wheel-drive Corolla hatchback.
The model has a variable all-wheel-drive system which allows the driver to select how much power goes to the back or the front wheels. Through this, a driver can either send 60% of the power to the front wheels or 70% to the rear. That allows the driver to have a high degree of control over the car’s handling.
Another feature that improves its handling is the fenders at the front and rear, extending out of the body and allowing wide performance tires. The roof is made of carbon fiber to reduce the weight and lower the car’s center of gravity, while the hood and front doors are made from aluminum. There are vents on the hood, front fenders, and rear bumper to reduce aerodynamic drag, which allow the air to pass through the car’s body. It also has three exhaust pipes.
The model will be available in two versions. The base version is called Core, and a better-equipped model is called Circuit Edition and will be offered during the first year of production set to begin later this year. It will be built at a special GR production facility in Motomachi, Japan which also manufactures GR Yaris, a subcompact performance model with a similar 3-cylinder engine with lesser horsepower.
The GR stands for Gazoo Racing, Toyota’s racing team. Akio Toyoda, the President of Toyota who is also a race driver, is directly involved in the car’s development. Another model from GR is the Toyota GR Supra, the two-seater sports car the Japanese vehicle manufacturers developed with BMW.
The addition of this model will add value to this chain that has been in production since 1966, producing high-performance versions of the compact car. But it will see competition in this segment from Ford Focus RS, Volkswagen Golf R, and the Honda Civic Type R.
These cars are all from rally racing, the race that runs on twisty roads and dirt roads where traction and agility are paramount.
The GR division has been producing a four-wheel-drive system for rally races, and GR Corolla is no different as it is designed for rally race tracks.
GR Yaris was produced for Toyota’s World Rally Championship meeting its homologation rules. But the US and Canada have strict homologation processes which disqualify Yaris in these two countries. GR Corolla was released to meet the homologation rules and processes in US and Canada. The price of this model is not yet revealed.
Prior to the GR Corolla launch, Toyota has been offering the Corolla Apex sedan, a version with stiffer suspension with the optional manual transmission and an engine with the power of the regular Corolla. Its six-speed manual is a disadvantage since not many drivers know how to operate a purely manual transmission vehicle, especially in America.