Akio Toyoda is a man who lives for speed. He’s an amateur racer. He’s the patron saint of the rear-drive 86 coupe. He’s the driving force behind Lexuses that are fast and powerful. He secretly takes old race cars out of the Toyota vault and challenges teens to illegal drift contests. (Okay, not the last one, but I bet he’s considered it.) But he runs Toyota, the most boring automaker around! He has long wanted Toyota to get sexy and thrilling, and the new GR Performance line in Japan is part of that.
And it’s fine! It’s just fine, I guess. If you were expecting Dodge Demon levels of madness, look elsewhere.
In Japan today Toyota unveiled the GR Performance line, short for their in-house motorsports division Gazoo Racing, comprised of tweaks to various models that range from extremely mild to just mild. They come in three levels: the base GR Sport, middle GR, and top-trim GRMN. Parts can also be bought a la carte.
These improvements to cars like the 86, Prius (seriously), Harrier, Mark X, Vitz (the Yaris here) and more include exhaust, brakes, suspensions, interior bits and cosmetic details, but no extra power. Several of these enhancements come to cars not sold in the U.S.
Thrilling stuff! I guess. I can’t be the only one who’s a bit disappointed we didn’t get the full-on hot hatch Toyota Yaris yet, the one we’ve been promised for a while. As it stands here, I’m having a hard time caring about most of this lineup, and even if I did it’s not like I could buy any of them anyway.
No word yet on whether this line of “performance” cars will come to the U.S. market, either as factory or dealer add-ons. I suppose it’s an okay start if Toyota’s serious about making cars more interesting and fun for younger buyers, but this could have gone a hell of a lot better.
We still have the new Supra coming out soon. Let us put our faith in that; let us pray to the speed-gods that it is not bad, but in fact, good.