The powerful, stylish and agile hot hatch U.S. drivers are looking for is on its way, the first-ever 2023 GR Corolla. With the detail-obsessed TOYOTA GAZOO Racing team at the helm, and master driver Akio Toyoda, a.k.a. Morizo, signing off on approval, this all-new addition to Toyota’s growing lineup of sports cars brings the performance, handling and functionality that hot hatch fans love.
Powered by the lightweight, compact-yet-powerful G16E-GTS turbo-charged, direct/port injected three-cylinder engine, GR Corolla delivers 300 hp and 273 lb.-ft. of torque. Engineered for snappy acceleration out of the corners, output hits peak torque at 3000-5500 rpm, with max horsepower coming at 6500 rpm. Its thrill-inducing power is piped through a unique triple exhaust that’s designed to reduce backpressure for maximum power delivery.
The G16-E engine is paired with Toyota’s rally developed GR-Four All-Wheel-Drive (AWD) drivetrain. This system gives drivers a choice of 60-40, 50-50 or 30-70 power distribution to the front and rear wheels. GR Corolla will be offered exclusively in a manual transmission, staying true to its hands-on rally racing roots.
Its broad hatch profile and low center of gravity are built on Toyota’s GA-C platform, with enhanced frame reinforcements developed specifically for GR Corolla at GR Factory at Toyota Motomachi plant. Functional exterior air vents and aerodynamic features further support steering stability.
GR Corolla will come in two grades, Core and Circuit Edition.
The Core Grade will be available later this year in white, black and Supersonic Red. It will have a color keyed roof with a black rear lip spoiler, GR-Four stamped side rockers and wide-fender flares. On the inside, seating for five will come with GR logoed fabric sport seats.
The Circuit Edition will be a limited-run model available in 2023. Standard colors are white, Supersonic Red and Heavy Metal with the same GR-Four stamped side rockers and wide fenders as the Core. It adds a forged carbon fiber roof, vented bulge hood and a sporty rear spoiler, Brin Naub® suede-trimmed sport seats with red accents and a launch-year-exclusive Morizo signed shift knob.
The GR Corolla will come equipped with the all-new touchscreen Toyota Audio Multimedia system.
In 2007, Toyota expanded its car development activities with a decision to compete in the 24 Hours Nürburgring, the grueling endurance race held on the famous track winding through the German forest. However, as an unofficial Toyota activity, the team was called GAZOO Racing and was made up of employees, including Akio Toyoda driving under the alias of Morizo.
With a limited budget, the newly named team entered the race with two second-hand Altezzas. Despite adversity, both cars finished the challenging race, and a new era of Toyota motorsports and product development, one founded on a spirit of challenge aimed at instigating change, began.
As TOYOTA GAZOO Racing’s first wholly developed and manufactured model for the North American market, the GR Corolla carries this spirit forward.
With professional drivers, experts and Morizo at the wheel, GR Corolla was tested repeatedly at some of Japan’s leading circuits, including Fuji Speedway, Suzuka and Tsukuba Circuit. In addition, the GR team carried out heavy duty dirt and snow driving with a Japanese Rally Championship driver. No road was left unturned in the process, so engineers and technicians could sharpen acceleration and control worthy of the GR name.
To help meet the performance goals for the GR Corolla, Toyota has established a dedicated GR Factory at its production facility in Motomachi, Japan. It’s the birthplace of legends such as the Lexus LFA and Supra A80 and is now home to the first GR production line, where GR Corolla and GR Yaris are precision built.
Instead of the traditional conveyor system, the body and assembly lines comprise several different cells connected by automatic guided vehicles (AGVs) rather than the conveyors featured in conventional car plants. This fully flexible method of working, with many manual assembly techniques, enables precise body and suspension alignment, with variations in vehicle dimensions and weight kept to a minimum.
Being built by experts means that the assembly of each GR Corolla takes longer than a conventional mass-produced car. The production line has been streamlined for performance, with elements such as body alignment and weld checks to ensure that each GR Corolla is built with meticulous care and attention.
Toyota Gazoo Racing has brought together highly skilled technicians from throughout the company to work on the GR Corolla. This team not only assembles every GR Corolla but also contributes to the technical skills of workers at other Toyota facilities. It’s a team structure that’s part of the overall GR mission at Toyota, developing people, driving fans and making ever better cars.
The GR-FOUR System
With all TOYOTA GAZOO Racing sports cars firmly rooted in motorsports, it only makes sense that the GR Corolla’s drivetrain was born from the rigors of rally racing.
At the heart of the new GR Corolla is the GR-FOUR All-Wheel-Drive system, Toyota’s first sports all-wheel-drive system in over 20 years. Developed in collaboration with the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team and honed by WRC drivers, it delivers exceptional levels of traction and control with engineering designed to optimize drive power to each wheel, while also being simple and lightweight.
Made for rally, the GR-FOUR system is designed for a variety of conditions. Whether the driver is looking to adjust performance for dirt, rain or snow, or just in the mood for a different feel, the GR-FOUR system offers settings to match.
With the twist of a dial, GR Corolla can adjust four-wheel drive performance to fit the driver’s needs. For every-day situations, drivers can set a front/rear torque distribution of 60:40; for a more sport setting, balance can shift to the rear, with 30:70 distribution for a fun-to-drive quality on winding roads and circuits; and for maximum stability a 50:50 setting can be used for fast, competitive track driving on circuits or special stages. In each mode, the torque balance will automatically adjust in response to the driver’s inputs, vehicle behavior and road or track conditions.
The GR Corolla Circuit Edition is also equipped with front and rear Torsen Limited-Slip Differentials (LSD), which offer enhanced cornering performance and grip with control of left and right-hand drive torque distribution on the front and rear axles. Front and rear LSD is available as part of the Performance Package on the Core grade, with 4WD open differentials standard.
Revolutionary 3-Cylinder Turbo Engine
For GR Corolla, we took the same turbocharged G16E-GTS powerplant used in the GR Yaris and boosted its output. This compact-yet-powerful three-cylinder engine has increased power for GR Corolla thanks to improved engine exhaust efficiency thanks to a 3-piece muffler with valve capped off with brushed stainless steel tips. This design reduces exhaust pressure and outside noise, which are essential to back pressure performance.
The G16E also benefits from motorsport technologies that maximize performance, including multi-oil jet piston cooling, large-diameter exhaust valves and a part-machined intake port. Displacing 1,618 cubic centimeters, it produces a maximum power of 300 hp and 273 pound-feet of torque.
Compact and lightweight, the DOHC 12-valve engine features a single-scroll ball-bearing turbo that’s matched to a 6-speed intelligent manual transmission (iMT) with rev-matching engineered to accommodate high torque levels. The turbocharger is integrated in the exhaust manifold, reducing weight, while control of wastegate bypass gases is used to improve the catalyst’s warm-up efficiency. Combustion is fed by Toyota’s D-4S direct and port fuel injection system, which operates at high pressure for maximum fuel dispersion and efficiency.
Wide, Rigid and Designed to Handle
To achieve control worthy of the GR badge, a highly rigid body was specially constructed for GR Corolla. Based off the GA-C platform, it produced handling performance that rewards the driver. Enhanced rigidity comes from significantly more weld points in the frame, particularly to strengthen joints. Further gains are made through extensive use of structural adhesive, increasing the joint rigidity between component parts.
The front suspension is a MacPherson-type strut design that offers both light weight and firm handling, maximizing the tires’ grip potential. Made up of circuit-tuned coil springs, shock absorbers and stabilizer bars, the front suspension is designed to deliver all the engine’s power to the road and provide optimum cornering capability on all surfaces. The rear suspension uses a double-wishbone type multilink system that accommodates the AWD system’s goal of maximum agility and stability.
Wide tread tires ensure high cornering performance while maintaining the excellent high speed stability of the GR Corolla’s 103.9-inch long wheelbase. It wears Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires 235/40R18 on the both grades and comes equipped with 18-in. gloss-black 15-spoke cast alloy wheels on the grades.
Braking power comes from opposed, fixed-caliper disc brakes with 14 x 1.1-inch ventilated and slotted rotors outfitted with 4-piston aluminum calipers on both grades, the Circuit Edition caliper is red painted with GR logo. At the rear, 11.7-in. x 0.7-in. ventilated rotors with 2-piston aluminum fixed-caliper disc brakes with red-painted calipers and GR logo are standard on the Circuit Edition.
Lightweight and Aerodynamic
Throughout the GR Corolla, there has been a focus on saving weight to maximize the performance potential, without compromising strength and safety. This rigorous approach is particularly evident in the car’s construction, with extensive use of lightweight metals and materials used in key areas.
On the Circuit Edition, the roof is made of a forged (rather than woven) carbon sheet molding compound. This lightweight, highly rigid material keeps off the ounces that a steel roof would bring and helps lower the car’s center of gravity.
Aluminum is used for the hood and front door panels, with light and strong high-tensile steel in critical areas to ensure the car’s structure can safely absorb and dissipate impact forces.
For the best possible aerodynamic performance, GR Corolla’s nose ascends to a tapering roof line. Wind flow is directed onto the rear spoiler to generate extra downforce. As with rally cars, the shaping of the front and rear canards and GR-FOUR stamped lower rockers efficiently channel airflow down the sides of the vehicle. Hood, fender and rear bumper ducts and a flat underfloor reduce drag, add downforce and improve stability.
Rally Ready Hot Hatch Style
The wide stance and broad hatch exterior design of GR Corolla projects a strong, attack ready style with its black GR badged functional matrix grill. Flanked by functional air ducts on both sides, the front grille on the Circuit Grade comes in gloss-black and features integrated LED fog lamps. Auto on/off LED headlamps and LED DRLs are standard on both grades.
Both grades feature wide front and rear fender-flares. The Circuit Edition features a bulge hood with functional gloss-black air ducts. The Carbon Fiber roof on the Circuit Edition is matched with a matte-black roof mounted shark fin antenna. The Core Grade features an aluminum hood with a color-keyed roof and matching shark-fin antenna. Gloss-black heated power outside mirrors with turn signal indicators, gloss-black window molding and black GR Corolla badges are standard on both grades.
At the rear, both grades feature a rear lower bumper cover with functional air vents, for an extra touch these vents are gloss-black on the Circuit Edition. The tapering of the roof and rear pillars are complimented by a high mounted matte-black rear spoiler on the Circuit and a gloss-black rear-lip spoiler on the Core Grade. The wide track and flaring of the rear wings emphasize the car’s wide and low silhouette.
Race Inspired Interior
The design of the GR Corolla’s interior reflects the car’s performance, particularly around the driver’s cockpit.
Incorporating the feedback of professional drivers, a GR Full TFT meter was newly developed with a 12.3-inch color Multi-Information Display (MID) that has a GR meter with 4WD mode, turbo pressure, gear position indicator and tachometer. The brightly lit display is designed for easy-viewing in any condition and even features a start-up GR animation.
The shift lever has a shortened stroke for a quick throw between gears. Positioned where the driver’s arm is naturally lowered from steering, the action is light with short shift strokes, adding to the performance quality. GR Corolla uses a pull type mechanical parking brake.
The Circuit Edition’s interior is finished in black with red trim details around the door handles, center console, steering wheel and side air vents, and the Core Grade is finished with black and silver details.
Brin Naub® suede and synthetic leather-trimmed sport seats with red stitching, red mesh inserts and GR badged headrests; 6-way adjustable driver’s seat with seatback pocket; 4-way adjustable front passenger seat with seatback pocket are standard on the Circuit Edition. Fabric sport seats with gray stitching and GR badged headrests; 6-way adjustable driver’s seat with suede sheet seatback pocket; 4-way adjustable front passenger seat with seatback pocket are standard on the Core.
Automatic climate control, power windows with one-touch auto up/down and heated front seats and steering wheel standard on Circuit Edition. Heated front seats and steering wheel are available with the of Cold Weather package option on Core Grade.
A GR leather-trimmed tilt/telescopic sport steering wheel with audio, Multi-Information Display, Bluetooth® hands-free phone and voice-command controls comes standard on the Circuit Edition. For an added touch, a “Morizo” signed shift knob comes exclusively on the launch year Circuit Edition.
Standard on both grades is a push button GR engine start/stop button, aluminum sport pedals, two USB charging ports, one 12V auxiliary power outlet, lighted foot wells, front console tray and rear console box. Qi-compatible wireless smartphone charging with full charge indicator light is standard on the Circuit Edition and available as part of the Technology package on the Core Grade.
Toyota Audio Multimedia
All GR Corollas feature Toyota’s all-new, North American developed Audio Multimedia system. Featuring an 8-inch touchscreen, the system offers an improved user experience and a wide range of enhanced connectivity and convenience features, including being Over-the-Air (OTA) updatable. Users can interact with the new system’s design through touch and voice activation. With Intelligent Assistant available through Drive Connect*, simple phrases like “Hey Toyota” awakens the system for voice-activated commands to search for directions, find Points of Interest (POI), adjust audio controls, change the cabin temperatures and more.
The cloud-based native navigation system offered through Drive Connect allows for real-time Over-the-Air updates for mapping and Points of Interest (POI), and Google POI data is integrated to ensure up-to-date search capability.
Toyota Audio Multimedia allows for simultaneous dual Bluetooth phone connectivity with support for wireless Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ capability. A Wi-Fi Connect subscription offers 4G connectivity for up to five devices. Adding to the already robust offering of audio playback ability with HD Radio, USB data, and a SiriusXM® Platinum Plan 3-month trial subscription, Wi-Fi Connect also enables the new Integrated Streaming feature, providing the ability to link your separate Apple Music® and Amazon Music subscriptions to the vehicle for onboard control.
The Circuit Edition offers an enhanced audio experience with an available eight speaker JBL® Premium Audio system including an 8-channel HiD 800-watt amplifier and subwoofer.
The GR Corolla comes with a host of additional standard Connected Services. Safety Connect includes an Emergency Assistance Button (SOS), 24/7 Enhanced Roadside Assistance, Automatic Collision Notification, Stolen Vehicle Locator and Collision Assistance with a 1-year trial service. Service Connect offering drivers the capability of receiving Vehicle Health Reports, Maintenance Alerts and reminders with a 3-year trial.
Safety & Other Technology
All GR Corolla grades come standard with Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 (TSS 3.0), which includes enhancements made possible by system sensors with improved detection capability. The Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection is also capable of detecting motorcyclists and guardrails in certain conditions. When making a turn or approaching an intersection, the system is designed to detect forward or laterally approaching oncoming vehicles and provides audio/visual alerts and automatic braking in certain conditions. Improved lane recognition delivers refined performance of Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist and Lane Tracing Assist.
GR Corolla will be equipped with Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC). Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist is designed to notify the driver via audible and visual alerts and slight steering force if it senses the vehicle is leaving the lane without engaging a turn signal. When DRCC is set and engaged, Lane Tracing Assist uses visible lane markers or a preceding vehicle to help keep the vehicle centered in its lane.
Automatic High Beams are designed to detect preceding or oncoming vehicles and automatically switch between high beam and low beam headlights. Road Sign Assist is designed to recognize certain road sign information using a forward-facing camera and display them on the multi-information display (MID).
Toyota’s Rear Seat Reminder comes standard on all GR Corolla grades. The feature can note whether a rear door was opened within 10 minutes of the vehicle being turned on, or at any time after the vehicle has been turned on, with a reminder message in the instrument cluster after the engine is turned off, accompanied by multitone chimes.
In addition to the TSS 3.0 system, other standard safety features on the GR Corolla include Blind Spot Monitor (BSM), which is designed to help detect and warn you of vehicles approaching or positioned in the adjacent lanes and Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) for added peace of mind by helping to detect vehicles approaching from either side while backing out and alerting you with a visual and audible warning. Hill Start Assist Control (HAC) also comes standard.
GR Corolla Core Grade is available with the following packages:
- Performance package: Includes front and rear Torsen Limited Slip Differentials (LSD). 4-piston aluminum fixed-caliper disc brakes with red-painted calipers and GR logo; 14-in. x 1.1-in. ventilated and slotted rotors (front), and 2-piston aluminum fixed-caliper disc brakes with red-painted calipers and GR logo; 11.7-in. x 0.7-in. ventilated rotors (rear).
- Technology package: Includes JBL® Premium Audio system with Clar-Fi®, and Qi-compatible wireless smartphone charging.
- Cold Weather Package: Includes heated front seats and heated steering wheel.