Having established its credentials through genuine high-performance vehicles, Toyota is poised to launch a new range of much milder machines wearing the “GR Sport” name.
The GR Sport models won’t be anywhere near as hardcore as the GR hero cars such as the GR Supra GTS and turbocharged GR Yaris, but they will have sporty styling cues and modified suspension.
It’s a similar approach to the one Ford takes with its ST and ST Line car and Hyundai takes with the N and N-Line range.
The rear-drive Supra and all-wheel-drive pocket rocket Yaris willl be joined soon by an all-new Toyota 86 wearing GR badges, promising driving thrills for budget buyers.
And a larger GR Corolla rumoured to share the GR Yaris’s all-wheel-drive hardware could be a worthy alternative to the likes of Volkswagen’s Golf R.
But the next chapters won’t be as exciting.
The first of its “GR Sport” models is a lightly warmed-over C-HR baby SUV that takes visual cues from the GR Yaris.
Riding on 19-inch wheels with low-profile tyres, the C-HR GR Sport benefits from firmer suspension, sports seats and minor trim changes in addition to its butch new front bumper.
But it has the same hybrid engine as regular front-drive C-HR models, a non-turbo 1.8-litre unit with 90kW of power backed by frugal 4.3L/100km fuel use.
There’s a good chance the GR Sport treatment will feature on other popular models such as the RAV4 and HiLux.
Toyota dealers would love to see a rival to Ford’s Ranger Raptor in their showrooms.
At the other end of the spectrum, Toyota is set to introduce its fastest-ever model in the near future.
Based on the Le Mans-winning Toyota TS050 endurance racer, the $1 million-plus Toyota GR Super Sport shapes up to rival Ferrari’s new SF90 Stradale with a race-proven twin-turbo V6 hybrid engine.
Toyota’s GRMN (Gazoo Racing Meisters of Nurburgring) treatment reserved for track-focused models is tipped to appear on a hardcore version of the BMW-powered Toyota Supra, as well as a more potent take on the new GR Yaris.
Sean Hanley, Toyota Australia’s vice president for sales and marketing, said Toyota’s “significant investment” in performance vehicles would make its “GR” range the top performance car brand in Australia.
“GR will escalate in this country over the next five to ten years,” he said during a presentation for the GR Yaris.
“[It] will be a market-leading performance brand in Australia.”