Toyota was working on a mid-engined GRMN Yaris – report

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New reports out of Japan claim Toyota was working on a wild GRMN Yaris fitted with a mid-mounted engine, before scrapping those plans due to uneasiness in the market.


A wide-body Toyota GRMN Yaris fitted with a mid-mounted turbocharged engine – inspired by Group B rally cars of the 1980s – was once in development, according to a shock report in a Japanese magazine.

Best Car – known for having reliable sources inside Toyota – claims the car giant was planning a special GRMN Yaris with its 1.6-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine relocated ahead of the rear axle to improve weight distribution.

However, the magazine now claims those plans have been scrapped.

The report says Toyota has put a stop to the mid-engined GRMN Yaris amid concerns the vehicle would be “limited to enthusiasts,” and would “lack impact.”

Artists for Best Car created a digital illustration of what the wide-body GRMN Yaris may have looked like (top).

The publication claims interest in the GR Yaris may be waning overseas, leading to apprehension over whether there is a market to support a highly specialised and likely expensive version of the model.

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The vehicle was said to be inspired by hot hatches developed in the 1980s for the infamous Group B rally championship – such as the Peugeot 205 Turbo 16, the Renault 5 Turbo, and the MG Metro 6R4 – as well as the Renault Clio V6 of the early 2000s.

While this is believed to be the first time the prospect of a mid-engined GRMN Yaris has surfaced publicly, it’s not clear when Toyota made the decision to axe the project.

In January 2022, a Toyota GRMN Yaris was produced, but it was a front-engined limited-edition model fitted with fixed racing Recaro bucket seats, lightweight panels, and a boost to the torque output from the three-cylinder turbocharged engine.

The GRMN Yaris was limited to just 500 vehicles, and only sold to the Japanese market.

Ben Zachariah is an experienced writer and motoring journalist from Melbourne, having worked in the automotive industry for more two decades. Ben began writing professionally more than 15 years ago and was previously an interstate truck driver. He completed his MBA in Finance in early 2021 and is considered an expert on classic car investment.

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