WRC Toyota just couldn’t wait for the Detroit show to be over to blurt out the Japanese giant’s plans for the next show on the annual calendar. In Geneva this March (9-19) Toyota is getting ready to launch its first proper hot hatch in yonks, now that the company is returning to the World Rally Championship with the Yaris and all, getting Flying Finn Jari-Matti Latvala in one of the seats.
We’ve been begging for a WRC homologation special for years, and ever since Mitsubishi and Subaru left the big time the world’s been too short on rally cars for the road. This high-performance Yaris — based on a three-door body — isn’t quite the thing, but it’ll stand up to Clio R.S. Sports and Fiesta STs with 210bhp driving the front wheels. Expect 0-100kph in less than seven seconds.
For Geneva, Toyota is preparing a production version wearing the car’s new facelifted front end styling and rear design, with an updated interior and model-specific 17in wheels shod with sticky Bridgestone track-rated rubber.
The baby-WRC Yaris also gains a rear diffuser, which shrouds a centre-exit exhaust pipe, a black rear spoiler and black side mirror caps along with a host of technical mods to improve comfort and handling.