Is this Toyota’s next sports car?

Derryn Wong

Toyota showed off its sporty side at Tokyo Auto Salon with a GT3 concept racer, Yaris GRMN limited-ed hot hatch, BZ4X GR Sport Concept and more

TOKYO, Japan – Vroom-vroom ain’t dead, at least if Toyota has anything to say about it. At Tokyo Auto Salon, the Japanese carmaker announced more than a few cars that should get any petrol head pumped up.

This includes a concept GT3 race car, the even-more-limited-edition version of the GR Yaris hot hatch, the GRMN Yaris, a concept GR Sport model of its BZ4X electric SUV, and an offroad concept for the just launched Lexus NX SUV.

Toyota GR GT3 Concept

When it comes to production series racing, the car usually comes before the race machine. But Toyota’s going the other way around with its GR GT3, a concept racing car that could compete in the popular GT3 category around the world.

If you can’t recognise the car it’s based on, that’s because no production model has been announced yet. Toyota says its aim is to ‘commercialise motorsports cars, rather than simply adapting production vehicles for competition’, which makes sense given we may not even have combustion production cars on the roads in less than a decade.

A road-going version of this would look rather tasty, even without the GT wing

There is some precedent here – the original successor to the first Honda NSX, the Honda HSV, made its debut as a Super GT race car first, with the road car it was based on being cancelled very late in its development life, and we got the hybrid NSX second-gen instead, eventually.

But that doesn’t mean a road-going version is out of the question: Toyota also said that this venture for GR is to ‘develop cars both for GT3 competition and mass production’. If any Japanese brand could pull off a proper supercar now, it’s Toyota – after all GR isn’t standing still with the GR Supra, GR Yaris, and GR86 (arriving in Singapore this year).

GRMN Yaris

We know the Toyota GR Yaris as the pinnacle of hot-hatchdom now, a glorious homologation special in an era where there’s nothing else quite like it. But Toyota hasn’t stopped there, with the extra-special limited-run version, the GRMN Yaris, announced.

The GR Yaris is a firecracker and even the experts at going fast say as much

20kg off weight loss, 10mm lower and 10mm wider, with 268hp (up from 253hp), and a buyer can choose from a circuit pack (wheels, bigger brakes, uprated shocks, aero kit) or rally kit (roll cage, underbody protection, shcks, etc). At the announced price it’s around USD64k, but that’s not the problem here – it’s a limited Japan-only run of 500 units sold by lottery.

Toyota BZ4X Sport Concept

Of course it’s not all vroom-vroom, some of it is ‘wheen-wheen’ (the sound an EV makes) since Toyota has announced its huge plan to even further electrify its future lineup. The carmaker’s first full battery electric vehicle, the BZ4X, will debut this year (Singapore debut TBC) and the usual sport-ified versions are also expected further on down the line. Not much has been revealed about it, but there’s the obvious special paintjob, larger wheels, and body kit. Compare it to the production BZ4X here.

Lexus RX 450 Offroad Concept and Lexus ROV

Left to right: Lexus E-Bike, Lexus ROV, Lexus NX 450h Offroad Concept

Lexus didn’t miss out on the fun either, with an off-road styled version of its NX 450h plug-in version – the new second-gen NX has just launched in Singapore, and you can find out all about it here, then read our test drive of the NX 350h. The car has a unique ‘Iron Oxide’ paint finish, matt black styling elements, offroad wheels/tyres and increased ride height.

Lexus also showed off an ATV (all-terrain vehicle) dubbed the ROV, but the twist was in the vehicle’s 1.0-litre three-cylinder hydrogen powerplant.

If you’re wondering what that’s about,Toyota is taking the big picture approach to electrification, with hybrids forming a larger proportion of the mix than European carmakers, and it along with the Koreans believe hydrogen will play a big role as well.
Toyota GR’s Auto Salon Press Conference in full if you want to watch it. Skip to 37:40 to watch Toyota President Akio Toyoda trash talk Nissan (jokingly) before the unveiling of its Nissan Z.


bz4x concept high performance motorsport Toyota toyota gr

About the Author

Derryn Wong

CarBuyer's chief editor has a keen interest in all things mechanical, technological, animal and mineral. He's particularly fascinated by eco-cars and cars which make no logical sense. An avid motorcyclist and photographer, he also enjoys cats. Follow him on Instagram @werryndong

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