"Evolved" Toyota GR Yaris with high-performance Direct Automatic Transmission debuts in Tokyo Auto Salon 2024

After all the rumors, reports, and countless hours of development, Toyota has officially revealed the automatic version of the rally-bred GR Yaris hot hatchback. Making its official debut at Tokyo Auto Salon 2024 is the “Evolved” GR Yaris.

That's right, this GR Yaris comes with an 8-speed automatic transmission. But don't think that Toyota just slapped on a slushbox to the hot hatch and called it a day. Instead, Toyota was busy refining and making key changes both inside and out.

2024 Toyota GR Yaris evolves with new 8-speed A/T image

Let's start with the most obvious first, that new gearbox. Developed in-house, the new Gazoo Racing Direct Automatic Transmission was honed in both motorsports and various road conditions. In fact, the TGR World Rally Team (TGR-WRT) put it through the ringer on snow-covered roads in Finland and in the grueling Japanese World Rally Championship.

Toyota claims the 8-speed has a unique transmission control software optimized for sporty driving. Unlike regular software which can already sense driving behavior, g-force, and deceleration, the one in the GR Yaris can also detect the way the driver steps on the brakes or accelerator. This allows the transmission to anticipate when gear shifting is required – mirroring the driver's driving style which should help with performance.

2024 Toyota GR Yaris evolves with new 8-speed A/T image

With two more gears compared to the 6-speed manual, Toyota was able to use close-ratios gears. This allowed the engineers to keep the GR Yaris engine in the powerband while changing gears. For better driving control while at the limit, a Torsen limited-slip differential (LSD) is equipped in both the front& rear axles. Last but not least, Toyota installed a highly heat-resistant friction material in the gearbox to ensure optimal performance is always achieved.

To keep the transmission at optimal temperatures in any driving condition, there's an automatic transmission fluid cooler that comes as standard. There's even a sub-radiator, cool air intake, and intercooler sprayer available as factory options for those who want to take advantage of its high-performance cooling system.

2024 Toyota GR Yaris evolves with new 8-speed A/T image

As for the 1.6-liter G16E-GTS turbocharged three-cylinder, it now makes more power and torque. From 272 PS, the inline-three now cranks out 304 PS along with a meatier 400 Nm of pull which translates to an increase of 30 Nm (370 Nm before). This means the Evolved GR Yaris makes similar power as the GR Corolla and makes 30 Nm of additional pull.

Body rigidity on the GR Yaris was also increased after Toyota increased the number of bolts connecting the body to the dampers from one to three to increase the responsiveness of the vehicle. Even the spot welding points and the areas where structural adhesive is applied were increased by 13% and 24%, respectively. The result is a more rigid body that ultimately translates to better handling & stability, as well as ride comfort.

2024 Toyota GR Yaris evolves with new 8-speed A/T image

The cockpit of the GR Yaris was also given attention to improve driving posture. For starters, the control panel and display have been tilted 15 degrees towards the driver for improved visibility. Meanwhile, the driving position was lowered 25mm along with the steering wheel position. The shifter was also raised to 75mm and is positioned in the same place as the 6-speed manual version. More importantly, manual gear shifting via the lever is done just like a sequential transmission in rally cars – meaning upshifts are done while pulling the shift lever while downshifts are done by pushing the lever.

2024 Toyota GR Yaris evolves with new 8-speed A/T image

Over to the exterior, Toyota gave the hot hatch improved aerodynamics and functionality thanks to several key changes. An opening at the lower section of the rear lower garnish allows air from under the floor to escape which helps reduce drag and improve stability/maneuverability. The rear stop lamp is no longer integrated with the spoiler which allows users to customize it further. Last but not least is a new front bumper which resembles the one used in the Aqua GR Sport.

With the “Evolved” GR Yaris now sporting a more powerful engine, suspension upgrades, a more rigid body/chassis, and a quick-shifting 8-speed automatic, those who want to drive Toyota's hot hatch without a third pedal are surely aching to get their hands on one. It's set to be available in Japan later this year which means other markets like the Philippines might get it around next year should demand be met.

2024 Toyota GR Yaris evolves with new 8-speed A/T image

Would you take the automatic version of the GR Yaris over the manual variant? Let us know in the comments.