Toyota South Africa will be launching its new Corolla Hatch in the next few weeks, but this got us thinking... What if Toyota was to apply the full-fat GRMN treatment onto the newcomer?
Render credit: Duwyne Aspeling
Up until recently, Toyota could easily be accused of being a boring and predictable manufacturer. Then, seemingly out of the blue came the Toyota Yaris GRMN, which took what we knew and understood of the compact hot hatchback segment and promptly turned it onto its head. Firstly, the name, GRMN, what's that all about? GRMN stands for Gazoo Racing Masters of Nurburgring. Toyota is slowly returning to the performance sector of the market and has introduced its GR division. It's broken down into 4 pillars. GR Parts (cosmetic package), GR Sport (suspension package), GR (power package) and GRMN (high power package). Of course, let's not forget the Supra returning too.
GRMN is the new badge reserved for the most potent of Toyota products and while we are some time away from a fully-fledged and weaponised Corolla GRMN, we can start the speculation. With the South African Corolla Hatchback market introduction just weeks away, we're likely to see the lesser GR Parts / GR Sport badged Corollas being revealed before the hardcore version rolls in to take the fight to the Volkswagen Golf GTI. We should see a cosmetically sportier Corolla Hatch at the Geneva Motor Show in the coming days.
How do we even know that Toyota will make a Corolla GRMN? Well, Toyota's deputy chief designer, Toshio Kanei was being interviewed by Dutch publication AutoRAI.nl recently and had this to say. "We are currently investigating what would be most effective for the European market, but a Corolla GRMN is certainly realistic. We are already working on that. The development takes place under the supervision of Toyota GAZOO Racing. This department has included the Corolla GRMN in the future plan, but for now, the project is still in the planning stage. " In terms of powertrain, he added "The Toyota Corolla GRMN does not get a hybrid powertrain. We want more power, an even sportier engine and lower CO2 emissions," says Kanei. "A 4-cylinder turbo engine with an engine capacity of about 1.6 litres can be interesting." So, we have confirmation from Toyota that it's in the pipeline!
While the Toyota Yaris GRMN was powered by a supercharged 1.8-litre engine with 156 kW, we think that Toyota will be aiming for around 185 kW with its turbocharged setup, putting it squarely amongst the more established players. Thing is, Toyota currently doesn't have that engine in its arsenal and we're wondering whether it would develop its own powertrain or source one from elsewhere.
GRMN isn't just about straight-line prowess either and you can bet that the suspension and braking will be top notch too, meaning it should be quite potent when it comes to cornering.
Watch this space because if the Yaris GRMN was anything to go by, the Corolla GRMN will also be one incredibly special performance machine.
Drag Race Video: Toyota Yaris GRMN vs Volkswagen Polo GTI