Toyota launches a 300hp 4WD Rally Rocket!
With gasoline prices skyrocketing past $4 a gallon nationwide and around $6 a gallon in California, you might think automotive performance has peaked. If that’s your perspective, stop reading now because Toyota has just unveiled its most powerful and advanced compact car yet, with performance figures that will blow you (and likely much of the competition) away.
The 2023 Toyota GR Corolla offers a spec sheet that reads like an old-school performance enthusiast’s wish list. 300 hp? Check. manual transmission? Check. Rear-heavy all-wheel drive with torque vectoring and locking differentials? Check. A curb weight of under 3,300 pounds and a power-to-weight ratio of roughly 1:10? Check.
Even more compelling about the 2023 GR Corolla is how it achieves those old-school performance figures with the latest advanced technology. Its 300 horsepower comes from a tiny 1.6-liter, three-cylinder engine with a single turbocharger and direct injection. Despite its small size, the engine offers 273 pound-feet of torque and peak torque between 3,000 and 5,000 rpm, with peak power coming in at an easily accessible 6,500 rpm.
That power is delivered through a rev-matching 6-speed manual transmission, with no automatic transmission being offered. From there, power goes to all four wheels, with the front-to-rear torque split being 60:40 as standard, but easily switchable to 50:50 or even a 30:70 rear bias via a dash-mounted dial. Available front and rear Torsen limited-slip differentials increase cornering grip.
Structural improvements include body stiffening through the use of additional spot welds and structural adhesives, as well as performance-tuned MacPherson strut front suspension and double wishbone, multi-link rear suspension. Standard 18-inch wheels with Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires in size 235/40 and fixed-caliper disc brakes compressing ventilated rotors complete the chassis upgrades.
Additional performance and appearance upgrades like a carbon roof (it’s forged rather than a woven carbon fiber design, but just as light), aluminum hood and doors, vented upper and lower body panels, and a roof-mounted rear spoiler separate the GR from standard Corollas. The interior features aggressively padded leather front seats, a short-travel shifter, contrast stitching, an upgraded instrument cluster and a 12.3-inch center screen.
Not all of these features are included in both versions of the 2023 GR Corolla. Base or Core Grade trim does not include forged carbon headliner, limited-slip differentials, red brake calipers, heated leather front seats with contrast stitching, or heated steering wheel. These all come standard on the ‘Circuit Edition’ version of the GR Corolla, along with an upgraded JBL audio system.
Toyota also integrates its Safety Sense 3.0 system and dynamic radar cruise control as standard on all GR models. That means every GR Corolla has Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keeping Assist, Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Auto High Beam, Traffic Sign Assist, Rear Seat Reminder and Hill Start Assist.
A year-long subscription to Toyota Safety Connect, with roadside assistance, stolen vehicle tracking and automatic collision notification, is included in the price of the GR Corolla – which hasn’t been released yet, but will come later when Toyota’s Hot Hatch goes on sale.
That Toyota is launching a car like the GR Corolla right now says a lot about the brand’s ongoing commitment to performance and driving pleasure. Akio Toyoda, head of the credit company, who years ago expressed a desire to add passion and emotion to Toyota’s product range, and in recent years has implemented everything from the GR Yaris to the Lexus LC 500.
The GR Corolla’s specs suggest it will be a serious rival for established players like the Honda Civic Type R, Subaru WRX and Volkswagen GTI. We look forward to confirming this prediction as soon as possible.