Toyota has revealed the 300bhp GR Corolla hot hatch | Top Gear
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Saturday 30th September
Hot Hatch

Toyota has revealed the 300bhp GR Corolla hot hatch

But the four-wheel-drive, motorsports-bred special isn’t coming to the UK

Published: 01 Apr 2022

Fine. Didn’t even want it anyway. After all, the UK hates hot hatches. Especially four-wheel-drive versions with 300bhp and manual gearboxes. Our roads famously don’t even wake up for anything less than 400bhp.

And yet. Here we have the latest salvo in Toyota’s ongoing mission to spice up a badge universally accepted as being… not spicy. It’s the GR Corolla; a motorsport-bred hot hatch that, like its little brother GR Yaris, features a punchy turbocharged engine, much grip and performance.

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Toyota boss Akio Toyoda’s plan was to bring back a Corolla to ‘captivate’ customers, and what better place to start than the engine from the GR Yaris? The 1.6-litre inline three-cylinder with that single-scroll turbo is carried over to this Corolla, here featuring a “valve-equipped triple exhaust muffler” to reduce back pressure, along with multi-oil jet piston cooling, larger exhaust valves and a part-machined intake.

There’s a healthy amount of power and torque on board the Corolla’s swollen flanks: 300bhp and 272lb ft, healthy increases over the Yaris’s 257bhp/266lb ft. As for those swollen flanks, it takes the body of the Corolla Sport and embiggens the front and rear tracks for added width (60m and 85mm respectively).

Inside this swollen footprint sits a switchable 4WD setup, able to split power front and rear from 60/40 for daily use, 50/50 for circuits, and even 30/70 for “fun-to-drive quality on winding roads”. Well, Toyota did launch the thing at a Formula Drift event.

Front and rear limited slip diffs appear, as does a standard-fit six-speed manual gearbox with a short throw and rev-matching, fancy brakes (vented discs, aluminium calipers) and good use of aluminium for the body panels (it weighs in at 1,474kg). There’s a ‘Circuit Edition’ car that gets a carbon roof.

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Punchy design, too. Flared arches, gloss black detailing, 18ins, a bonnet bulge with functional air ducts, and a rear spoiler are just some of the more lairy visual changes. Inside there’s a 12.3in display, a ‘GR’ meter, synthetic leather/suede seats and – should you opt for that Circuit Edition car – a good stereo.

Anyway. None of that sounds remotely interesting. Didn’t even want it anyway.

Toyota GR Yaris review: a 10/10 car

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