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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist

Golf R be afraid! Toyota confirms GR Corolla for South Africa

Sales of the 221kW/370Nm hot hatch will commence from the third quarter of this year.

In an announcement patiently awaited by South Africa’s hot hatch fraternity, Toyota, towards the end of Friday (10 March), confirmed that the senior sibling of the GR Yaris, the GR Corolla, will become available from the second quarter of this year.

Unveiled almost exactly 12 months ago as a supposed US-market only model, the first performance Corolla in 18 years, the last having been the supercharged T Sport marketed only in Europe, will take direct aim at the Volkswagen Golf 8 R, the outgoing Renault Megane RS 300 Trophy and the Hyundai i30 N when it arrives.

Power punch three

While Toyota remained coy about specification details and final pricing, what is long known is that the GR Corolla, denounced as recently as 2019 from ever happening, will have the same 1.6-litre G16E-GTS turbocharged three-cylinder engine as the GR Yaris, but uprated with a larger air intake intake, a new exhaust system and better cooling for a final output of 221kW/370Nm.

Toyota GR Corolla confirmed for South Africa
Price and specification will be announced later.

Purists rejoice!

An uptake of 23kW/10Nm over the GR Yaris, the amount of grunt is delivered to the same intricate GR-Four four-wheel-drive system via a rev-matching six-speed manual gearbox to the ground.

ALSO READ: Wait no more: Fire-breathing Toyota GR Corolla officially out

While an eight-speed automatic is known to be in development, the manual ‘box will see the GR Corolla being the only hot hatch of its kind with three pedals as both the Golf R and i30 N are offered solely with automatic transmissions, while the Megane RS 300 Trophy has now followed the same route by ditching the six-speed manual previously available.

As at the official launch last year, no performance figures were revealed, though according a recent test by US publication Car and Driver, the 0-60 mph (96 km/h) dash took 4.9 seconds. Top speed is reported to be limited to 230 km/h.

Toyota GR Corolla confirmed for South Africa
Steering gear will move from left to right come the third quarter of 2023.

For now, it remains to be seen which derivative comes to South Africa as two distinct models are available in the States; the more everyday focused Core and, as its name suggest, the Circuit, that additionally receives a Torsen limited slip differential, red brake calipers, Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres wrapped around the gloss black 18-inch alloy wheels and inside, red stitching on the faux leather and suede seats.

Pricing to be announced later

“The new GR Corolla promises to deliver on just what driving enthusiasts’ really want – high performance turbocharged power, agile and dynamic handling, and of course the looks to match,” Toyota South Africa Motors Vice-President of Marketing, Glen Crompton said.

As mentioned, no further details were announced, but expect to Toyota South Africa to make an announcement, including the final date, in said quarter.

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