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Toyota reveals GR sports vehicle series in Japan

Toyota reveals GR sports vehicle series in Japan

GR Sport will be Toyota's entry-level performance trim, which surprisingly extends to models like the Prius and even minivans.

Gazoo Racing will include a three-tiered naming structure that starts with the baseline GR Sport, moves on to the mid-level GR and is capped off by the top-of-the-line GRMN nameplate. Similar to the outgoing G's, the GR Sports upgrades are mostly reserved to aesthetics both inside and outside the vehicle. The sub-brand has yet to be confirmed for other markets, but the United Kingdom is said to be under consideration thanks to the global interest in the forthcoming Yaris GRMN hot hatch.

Whatever the origin, Gazoo is now expanding its reach from the race track to public roads with the launch of the GR series. The unit has its own budget and team of designers and engineers.

There will be different grades, all the way up to the truly high-performance GRMN models which not only get more sporty bodywork but some serious performance enhancements. It will also get 17-inch BBW wheels shod in sticky Bridgestone Potenza tires and a sport-tuned suspension. For example, the Yaris GRMN is powered by a 1.8L four-cylinder engine with 209 horsepower.

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At launch, buyers can choose from Yaris, Prius PHV, Mark X, Harrier, Noah and Voxy GR Sport models (the last four are identical to the previous G's variants) as well as the Yaris GR.

Like the plug-in hybrid version, the Prius α (or Prius v here in the States) GR Sport will have a specially tuned suspension, GR-branded tachometer and aluminum pedals as well as leather-wrapped gear shifter and decorative stitching.

At the top will sit GRMN models, the branding that has already been seen on the Yaris denotes a full re-engineering program covering the majority of core components from a heavily modified engine, through the chassis, styling and interior. It does however retain the stock output of 205 PS.

Other models are expected to follow, including GR versions of the regular Prius and smaller Prius C. Toyota will also make aftermarket GR Parts available through a network of GR Garages, which will replace its current Area 86 shops as its main performance parts retailer. The same performance upgrades will also be applied to the Japanese domestic market Yaris (called Vitz). At least for now, says Toyota spokesman Michael Kroll, "None of the GR products are coming to the U.S". What also hasn't been mentioned is whether Toyota's modern-day Supra will serve as GR's flagship offering, as has been rumored.


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