New 2022 Toyota GR Corolla is 300bhp AWD VW Golf R rival
1 April 2022 - Autocar
Gazoo Racing turns the Toyota Corolla into a rally-inspired hot hatch - but it won't come to the UK
Toyota is going after the Honda Civic Type R and Volkswagen Golf R with a new entry to the fearsome hot hatchback segment: the long-awaited GR Corolla.
The hot new take on the Toyota Corolla joins a quickly expanding line-up of hot Toyotas developed by the Gazoo Racing performance division, alongside the Toyota GR Yaris, Toyota GR Supra and Toyota GR 86 – but unlike those cars, it isn't destined for sale in Europe.
The latest entry to the ranks uses a single-scroll turbocharged 1.6-litre three-pot engine familiar from the acclaimed GR Yaris but with power hiked up substantially to 300bhp and torque boosted slightly to 273lb ft.
The hikes come courtesy of a triple-exit exhaust, which reduces back pressure and improves exhaust flow, a new "multi-oil jet piston" cooling system, larger exhaust valves and a part-machined intake port.
Power is sent to both axles through a six-speed manual gearbox, as in the GR Yaris, with an intelligent manual transmission (IMT) function, which essentially serves as a rev-matching function for smoother downshifts.
The top-rung Circuit Edition car is also equipped with a pair of Torsen differentials for improved grip and cornering response.
The bespoke 18in sports wheels are wrapped in sticky Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres and backed by ventilated, slotted performance brake discs gripped by four-piston aluminium callipers.
Toyota has yet to confirm performance figures, but expect a 0-62mph time nudging 5.0sec.
While the GR Corolla’s silhouette is more closely related to the car on which it's based than with the GR Yaris and regular Yaris, Toyota claims the “highly rigid body was specially constructed” for the new car.
Over standard, it features extra welds around chassis joints and more extensive use of structural adhesive between various components.
It’s also said to be lighter than the standard Corolla without compromising strength or safety.
Lightweight materials are used throughout, taking the standard GR Corolla to a kerb weight of 1474kg, and the Circuit Edition takes that ethos further with a forged carbonfibre roof panel and an aluminium bonnet and front doors.
The rally-inspired visual makeover introduces black trim details, gaping intakes on the bonnet and sides, heavily flared wheel arches and, most obviously, a prominent wing stretching out over the rear screen.
That’s matched by motorsport-inspired tweaks to the cabin, including a leather-trimmed GR steering wheel, GR-badged seats and aluminium pedals; and on the Circuit Edition, suede seats and a shift knob signed by Toyota president Akio Toyoda.