2023 Toyota GR Corolla revealed – grown-up GR Yaris with 304 PS 1.6L turbo 3-cylinder, 6MT, GR-Four AWD

The party may have been spoiled somewhat by yesterday’s leak, but this is still one of the most highly-anticipated cars in a while, and it finally gets revealed in full today. This, boys and girls, is the new Toyota GR Corolla, a grown-up GR Yaris that aims to take the Honda Civic Type R by the horns.

As previously reported, the spec sheet will be familiar to those who own Toyota’s previous pocket rocket, with all-wheel drive and a G16E-GTS 1.6 litre turbocharged and direct-injected three-cylinder engine. The mill is even more potent here than in the GR Yaris, punching out 304 PS at 6,500 rpm and 370 Nm of torque between 3,000 and 5,500 rpm. That’s 27 PS more than even the more powerful Japanese-market Yaris.

Freeing up the additional power is a more efficient exhaust designed to reduce back pressure, culminating in a unique triple-tailpipe setup. There are regular round tips at the corners of the rear bumper, plus a large single exit in the centre. An active valve system is also fitted. All that power and torque is sent through an honest-to-goodness six-speed manual with a rev-matching function, the same one fitted to the GR Yaris – there’s no automatic option here, as rumoured.

2023 Toyota GR Corolla revealed – grown-up GR Yaris with 304 PS 1.6L turbo 3-cylinder, 6MT, GR-Four AWD

The GR-Four all-wheel-drive system has also been carried over, utilising a multi-plate clutch to shuffle power front-to-rear, with users able to choose from either a 60:40, 30:70 or a 50:50 split. Unlike in the Yaris, the drive modes have been split from the AWD modes and control the throttle response, steering weight and other settings. As per its smaller sibling, a Circuit Edition adds Torsen front and rear limited-slip differentials as standard; they are available as part of the Performance Package on the standard Core model.

In stark contrast to the rather bespoke GR Yaris, the GR Corolla uses the basic structure of the Corolla Hatchback, giving it five doors and seats for extra practicality. However, the body has received increased welding points and a greater use of structural adhesive, while some bracing has been added to the rear wheel wells, underfloor tunnel and part of the floor ahead of the fuel tank.

Suspension consists of MacPherson struts at the front and double wishbones at the rear, equipped with retuned springs, dampers and anti-roll bars. They are attached to ventilated and slotted brake discs all around, clamped by four-piston callipers at the front and two-piston items at the rear. The GR model also ditches the regular Corolla’s electronic parking brake for a mechanical handbrake, which disconnects the rear axle on the move to allow you to pull lurid slides, just like on the GR Yaris.

2023 Toyota GR Corolla revealed – grown-up GR Yaris with 304 PS 1.6L turbo 3-cylinder, 6MT, GR-Four AWD

The GR Corolla builds on the aggressive aesthetic of the GR Yaris, sporting a similarly massive rectangular lower grille and vertical corner air inlets, with fog lights sitting where the brake ducts would be on the Yaris. Twin holes have also been cut out of the gloss black upper grille bar.

But it’s the rally-style flared wheel arches that give the GR Corolla its thuggish stance, increasing the car’s width by 20 mm at the front and 30 mm at the rear. They hide the track width increases of 60 mm at the front and 85 mm at the rear and house the GR Yaris’ 18-inch multi-spoke matte black alloy wheels. You don’t get that car’s optional forged BBS rollers, however.

Extensions have been tacked onto the back doors to blend in with the rear flares, while the front fenders house gaping vents. The side skirts are also deeper and jut further out, incorporating an embossed GR-Four logo. A large rear diffuser houses the aforementioned triple tailpipes.

All GR Corolla models come with an aluminium bonnet and front doors to save weight, although the Circuit Edition gets a sizeable bonnet bulge and functional vents, along with a bigger rear spoiler and an exposed forged carbon fibre roof. Despite all this, the car weighs nearly 200 kg more than the GR Yaris at 1,475 kg, due to the larger body and the Yaris’ more extreme lightweighting strategy.

Inside, the GR Corolla is fitted with the Yaris’ sports seats (with adjustable headrests), alloy pedals and unique startup animation in the multi-info display, along with copious amounts of GR branding. The seats are upholstered in Brin Naube suede on the Circuit Edition, which also gets the Yaris’ smaller three-spoke steering wheel, red interior highlights and a gearknob bearing the signature of Morizo, the racing pseudonym of Toyota president Akio Toyoda.

A new Toyota Audio Multimedia system is fitted as standard, coming with an eight-inch touchscreen, a revised interface, a “Hey Toyota” voice control system, cloud-based navigation and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. An eight-speaker JBL sound system is standard on the Circuit Edition.

All models also come with the latest Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 suite of driver assists, including autonomous emergency braking (now with motorcycle and guardrail detection), adaptive cruise control, lane centring assist, lane keeping assist, traffic sign recognition, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, automatic high beam and a rear seat reminder.

Built in the same Motomachi plant as the GR Yaris, the GR Corolla is the first Toyota-developed GR model to be sold in the United States, although it will be offered globally as well. Sales in Japan will start in the second half of the year. In the US, the Circuit Edition will be a limited-run model, available in 2023.