Toyota has unveiled the GR Corolla, which draws on the rally heritage of the Corolla name to “bring back a Corolla that captivates our customers,” said Toyota President Akio Toyoda.
The GR version of this well-known car was developed through racing in the Super Taikyu Series in Japan while being equipped with a hydrogen engine.
To ensure that the vehicle performs well in a variety of situations, it was also put through its paces on “highly demanding dirt roads and snow-covered roads,” said the company.
“Driving was done beyond the breaking point for comprehensive honing by drivers who each have unique perspectives.”
The GR Corolla relies on a strengthened version of the 1.6-litre, turbo-petrol engine found in the smaller GR Yaris to produce 224kW and 370Nm – compared to the Yaris’ 198kW and 360Nm.
A new triple-exhaust muffler reduces exhaust pressure and noise, which in turn improves the engine exhaust efficiency that leads to better acceleration and a “more pleasant extension of RPMs.”
The Corolla is fitted with the same GR-Four selectable 4WD system, too, which uses an electronic multi-plate clutch to provide variable front and rear driving force.
“This time, however, the system’s ‘4WD’ mode, which controls driving force distribution, and its ‘Drive’ mode, which controls accelerator response, steering, and others, have been separated to enable selection according to driver preference and the driving environment,” said Toyota.
Additionally, the company tailored the system to fit the driving characteristics of the larger Corolla, adding pillow-ball bushings and reworking the springs, shock absorbers, and wheel alignment.
Body rigidity was also increased to enhance agility and the use of new braces between the rear wheel wells to the under-floor tunnel, and under the floor in front of the fuel tank resulted in better handling stability.
“Also, like in the case of the GR Yaris, the roof panel is made of CFRP molded by the SMC process, which offers a high degree of freedom of shape and contributes not only to increased rigidity but also to weight reduction,” said the automaker.
A six-speed manual gearbox then delivers power to the wheels, and altogether the GR Corolla package offers “overwhelming cornering performance,” said Toyota.
Unfortunately, the manufacturer has not yet revealed the official acceleration or top speed figures of the GR Corolla.
The GR Corolla is based on the body framework of the Corolla Sport, boasting improved high-speed cornering performance thanks to a 60mm wider track at the front and an 85mm wider track at the rear.
“Stability and control during sporty driving have been greatly enhanced, allowing confidence and enjoyment while driving as one pleases, even when pushing the car to its limits,” said Toyota.
To give it the sporty look it deserves, the automaker also installed 20mm wider front fenders and 30mm wider rear fenders, a triple-exhaust outlet, aggressive front bumper air intakes, and front fender and hood air outlets.
Gloss black, 15-spoke, 18-inch alloys continue the athletic look, and are wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres.
Inside the cabin, a hand-operated parking brake “has been used to allow better vehicle control” when drifting, said Toyota, and a short-throw gear lever enables quicker gear changes.
A digital instrument cluster specific to GR models is also fitted as standard, as well as GR-specific seats, a touchscreen infotainment system, and the Toyota Safety Sense advanced driver assistance programme.
Detailed below are the North American specifications of the new Toyota GR Corolla.