It’s been a long and difficult wait (no thanks to all the rumours and teasers), but the highly-anticipated Toyota GR Corolla is now finally here, with its sights aimed straight for the Honda Civic Type R and Volkswagen Golf R.
Just as we reported previously, the all-new Toyota GR Corolla will be powered by the same 1.6-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine that is also found in the GR Yaris, but with power bumped up significantly to 304 hp, and a slight nudge in torque to 370 Nm.
According to Toyota, the power hike comes primarily from the new triple exit exhaust system, which reduces back pressure and improves exhaust flow, and gives the engine a “more-pleasant extension of RPMs”.
Similar to the GR Yaris, the engine is also paired to a six-speed intelligent manual transmission (iMT) here on the all-new Toyota GR Corolla, with power sent to all four wheels via a reworked GR-Four all-wheel drive system. No performance figures have been provided just yet, but we’re expecting the century sprint to take somewhere around the neighbourhood of five seconds.
Toyota will also be offering a Circuit Edition model for the GR Corolla, which adds a pair of Torsen limited-slip differentials to help increase grip during and out of corners.
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While the GR Yaris took on a more radical look compared to the base Yaris it’s based on, the GR Corolla here does stick more to the script of the regular Corolla Hatchback in terms of looks, with only a slight increase in track width both front and rear (60 mm and 85 mm respectively).
Despite that though, Toyota says that the car’s body has been “specially constructed” for the GR Corolla, with new braces, structural adhesives, and welds to significantly increase the car’s body rigidity, all while without compromising on the strength and safety of the car.
The bonnet and front body panels are also made out of aluminium to save weight, and if you opt for the Circuit Edition, the Toyota GR Corolla even comes with a forged carbon fibre roof for even more weight savings.
As for looks, the all-new Toyota GR Corolla retains the same aggressive recipe as seen on the GR Yaris, with a massive gaping front grille, vertical side air intakes, widened fenders, a massive wing at the rear, 18-inch alloy wheels that hide the red aluminium calipers and slotted discs, plus a unique rear bumper that houses the triple-exit exhaust system – two circular tips on the sides, and one pill-shaped exit in the middle.
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The interior of the Toyota GR Corolla is also matched with several motorsports-inspired tweaks, including the leather-trimmed GR steering wheel and seats, as well as aluminium pedals. Uniquely, the GR model also ditches the electronic parking brakes from the base Corolla in favour of a mechanical parking brake, which disconnects the rear axle when activated to allow for more angular slides while drifting.
The GR Corolla will be built in the same Motomachi plant in Japan as the GR Yaris, and will be the first Toyota GR model to be sold in the United States – although, word on the grapevine is that it’ll also be offered in other global markets at a later date. No pricing has been announced yet, but sales in Japan will start in the second half of the year.