However, over the decades—the Corolla has been in production since 1966—there have been a few fun, high-performance versions of the compact car. On Thursday evening in Long Beach, California, Toyota unveiled the latest GR Corolla. With all-wheel drive and a 300-horsepower turbocharged 3-cylinder engine, the GR is much more powerful than a standard front-wheel drive Corolla hatchback.
Toyota already offers the Corolla Apex sedan with a lower, stiffer suspension and an optional manual transmission, but with an engine that produces no more power than a regular Corolla. The GR Corolla is a much more serious attempt at a performance car.
In addition, it is only available with one transmission – a six-speed manual. An automatic transmission of any type is not offered on the vehicle. Today, manual transmissions are hard to find in cars, and many drivers, especially in America, don’t even know how to operate them.
GR stands for Gazoo Racing, Toyota’s racing team. According to Toyota, Toyota president Akio Toyoda, an avid race car driver, was directly involved in the development of the car. It is also part of the name of the Toyota GR Supra, a two-seater sports car developed by Toyota in partnership with BMW.
The GR Corolla has a variable all-wheel drive system that allows the driver to choose how much power is sent to the rear or front wheels. It can send up to 60% of the power to the front wheels or 70% to the rear wheels, allowing the driver to control the vehicle to a great extent.
The front and rear wings of the car protrude from the body, giving the car a wide stance for improved handling and which allows the use of tires with wide characteristics. The roof is made of carbon fiber to reduce weight and lower the car’s center of gravity. The hood and front doors are made of aluminium. Air vents on the hood, front fenders and rear bumper allow air to pass through the car body, reducing aerodynamic drag. It has three exhaust pipes at the back.
The GR Corolla will be built at GR’s dedicated plant in Motomachi, Japan. Toyota also builds the GR Yaris there, a performance subcompact model that is not sold in the US but has a version of the same 3-cylinder engine. The engine in the GR Yaris produces slightly less horsepower.
In the high-performance compact car segment, competitors like the Ford Focus RS have come and gone in recent years, but there are still popular models like the Volkswagen Golf R and Honda Civic Type R. This type of car has its roots in rally racing. , racing takes place on winding roads and sometimes dirt roads where traction and maneuverability are paramount. According to Toyota, the GR Corolla’s all-wheel drive system was designed for and for rally racing.
The GR Corolla will initially be available in two versions. The base version will be called the Core, while the enhanced Circuit Edition will be offered during the first year of production, which should start later this year. Toyota has not yet announced pricing for the car.