Japanese giant Toyota is poised to announce a full-blown performance sub-brand, much like Lexus’ hard-core F Series range.
The carmaker plans to announce to a “new sports car series” at an event in Japan next month, according to Autonews.com, but there’s a question-mark as to whether it will be rolled out to markets outside Japan.
We actually got a peak at Toyota’s high-performance side at this year’s Geneva motor show, where the brand showed off a GRMN (Gazoo Racing tuned by the Meister of Nurburgring) version of the Yaris, as a possible introduction into the hot-hatch segment.
The tiny hot hatch is powered by a supercharged 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine developing more than 155kW of power, going to the front wheels via a six-speed manual transmission.
It’s also got a Torsen Limited Slip Differential and 17-inch wheels, plus bespoke body panels. Inside, there are heavily-bolstered front seats and a race-style metal shifter along with special badging.
But, as we reported, the ‘worked’ Yaris won’t make it to Australia, or any other markets outside of Japan, Germany and France, at this stage. Hot Corollas don’t look all that likely, either, given the number of different versions throughout the world and the problematic approach to various regulations when tuning.
But, the head of Toyota’s go-fast works, Tetsuya Tada, the ‘godfather’ of the Toyota 86 – suggested to CarAdvice’s Matt Campbell at Geneva that the C-HR compact SUV might be under consideration, though no specifics were given.
Toyota has already had a crack at a performance offshoot in Australia with TRD (Toyota Racing Division) when it launched the TRD Aurion in 2007, but the car did not meet its monthly sales targets and the division was shut down in 2009.
TRD styling packs for the Toyota Hilux continue to be available, though. And in the US, the TRD line continues as the TRD-Pro line of 4Runners, Tacomas, and Tundras.
Whether this new line of performance cars arrive before the long-awaited Toyota Supra, is another matter, as it’s expected to land in showrooms in 2019.
While we approached Toyota Australia for comment, the response gave nothing away: “We don’t comment on Speculation”.