Toyota Yaris GRMN | Spotted
The GR isn't the only hot Yaris to look like a rally car, y'know…
By Matt Bird / Tuesday, 2 May 2023 / Loading comments
Just as it seemed like the hype had died down around the GR Yaris, so we lit a fire back under it with the PH25 vid. Sorry not sorry and all that – if ever a modern hot hatch warranted the excitement, that must be it. And now we’re onto track cars, those typically quite expensive, always very rare creations that are daubed in stickers to show how much like a racing car they really are. From STI to STO, stickers are almost mandatory. And wouldn’t you know, there’s actually a Toyota Yaris with GR in its name that also fits the track car bill. Sort of.
While the GRMN wasn’t a full-on circuit car – it being a creation not quite as extreme as the most hardcore hot hatches – it did undergo the kind of overhaul that marks out the very best road racers. It was developed by a small team of dedicated enthusiasts (which is always a good start) freed from the strictures of a large production run or endless management approvals. A host of expensive hardware was thrown at the unsuspecting Yaris, too, from Sachs dampers to a Torsen limited-slip diff, and BBS wheels to a Magnuson Eaton supercharger. All for 600 cars that had to roll down the regular Yaris production line, with just 100 allocated to Britain.
So like many track icons, the GRMN was rare. Expensive, too, which was to be expected with the kit list and the small production run: £26,295 was unheard of pre-GR, and made the Meister of the Nurburgring more expensive than even the priciest Fiesta ST. Which had some hot hatch heritage in the UK, whereas the Toyota Yaris really didn’t. It all looked quite a tough sell, but Toyota judged it just right, as every UK allocation found a buyer. There wasn’t quite the furore around secondhand ones as with the GR, but if memory serves correctly they weren’t hanging around for ages either. The car buying world, especially for limited edition stuff, feels extremely different to just five years ago.
Those that did get one must have been pleased. While a few quirks of the platform meant the GRMN wasn’t perfect, it absolutely did the business on track, seeming dogged and determined where many lesser cars would give in. It would lap hard for ages, the perfect front-wheel drive car to hone your craft in. The stickers were most certainly not just for show, however strange they looked on a lofty Yaris.
But here’s a GRMN without them, for the full ex-works rally car look. Though they were standard fit, the black and red slashes could be removed, and it’s a fascinating little car that results. To many it’ll just be another white Yaris, and it’s only when looking really closely – note the spoiler, exhaust and badges – that the keen will notice it’s something special. Which is cool. Like a GT3 RS without the contrast bits or a V12 Vantage without the wing, the slightly subtler look is nothing if not intriguing.
Plenty mocked the asking price back then, but this immaculate example – with just 14,000 miles – is still commanding £20k. Which, as half a decade ago, means plenty of alternatives are available. But surely none will be as rare, and few will likely be as sorted for circuit. It might look almost like any other Yaris, and the advert might be written like it’s any other Yaris, but this is far, far more interesting – especially without the graphics. Best get booking your first track day with it…
SPECIFICATION | TOYOTA YARIS GRMN
Engine: 1,798cc, supercharged 4-cyl
Transmission: 6-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Power (hp): 212@6,800rpm
Torque (lb ft): 184@5,000rpm
MPG: 37.6 (NEDC combined)
Year registered: 2018
Recorded mileage: 14,000
Price new: £26,295
Yours for: £19,998
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