Recently, us in the UK have had to say goodbye to the idea of the Nissan Z and the GT-R thanks to regulations on new cars, leaving Nissan with no new sports cars for sale on our little island. This, I could just about live with. We never had the Z, and GT-Rs are getting too expensive anyway. But now Toyota has revealed the GR Corolla, and guess what? It’s not coming to the UK. I am absolutely livid.
The UK has a famous passion for hot hatches. Our roads are small and narrow and speed cameras are everywhere, so having a car that can easily navigate our roads at very close to legal speeds… well, we can’t get enough of it. So of course, Toyota isn’t giving us its new highly tuned Corolla.
Toyota’s latest go at making their portfolio much more interesting than most sees the Corolla getting a 1.6-litre inline 3-cylinder engine with a single-scroll turbo. Yep, the one that currently powers the excellent GR Yaris. It squirts its hot air into a “valve-equipped triple exhaust muffler” to increase back pressure, and has a number of small changes such as multi-oil jet piston cooling, larger exhaust valves and a part-machined intake, that work together to create 300 horsepower. That’s almost 30 more horses than the Yaris.
Unsurprisingly, this power is sent to all four wheels. And thanks to its beefier track (60mm at the front and 85mm at the rear) it looks like it’ll put it down to the tarmac pretty well.
Power is sent through a 6-speed gearbox to front and rear LSDs, but this can be split from front to rear depending on how you’re driving. Road driving will see a 60/40 split. Performance driving works best with a 50/50 split, and if you fancy kicking out its tail, a 30/70 split will come in very handy.
This power is matched in its braking ability with vented discs and aluminium calipers being found at each corner, and its body panels have gone on a diet with light weight aluminium being used instead of the stock material to bring it down to 1,474kg. A Circuit Edition even gets a fancy carbon roof.
Exterior changes are pretty obvious. It’s wider, more aggressive, and features a number of aerodynamic sings and splitters. It sits on 18-inch wheels and a new bonnet features WORKING vents. Bloody hell.
Inside there’s a 12.3-inch display alongside a GR meter and fancy sport seats.
Damn it, Toyota. You tease.