The Toyota GR Corolla has finally been revealed, and it looks every bit the weapon we hoped it’d be.
Like the GR Yaris, it takes heavy inspiration from the world of rallying with its small-displacement turbocharged engine and adaptive four-wheel drive system, not to mention its swollen wheel arches and aggressive bonnet.
With 220kW of power and a compact hatchback body, the GR Corolla has been dropped into one of the busiest parts of the performance car market.
Along with the Golf R, which is the all-wheel drive hot hatch, it’ll take on front-wheel drive weapons like the next-generation Honda Civic Type R, the Cupra Leon VZx, and the Renault Megane R.S. Trophy.
On paper, it’s also a pretty handy rival for the Mercedes-AMG A35, BMW M135i xDrive, and Audi S3.
Here’s a quick guide around how they all stack up on paper.
Toyota has yet to reveal pricing for the GR Corolla, but it’s unlikely to be cheap. The GR Yaris Rallye is priced at $54,500 before on-roads, and packs less power in a smaller body than the Corolla.
It’s likely the GR Corolla will start around the $60,000 mark, potentially higher, when it arrives in Australia towards the back end of 2022.
That drops it right into Golf R territory. The all-wheel drive Golf R is priced at $65,990 before on-roads in Australia, while its more premium Audi brother, the S3, kicks off at $70,700 before on-roads.
We haven’t seen the next-generation Honda Civic Type R in full yet, but its predecessor was priced from $54,990 before on-road costs before being taken off sale. It’s unlikely to get any cheaper when the new model touches down at the back end of 2022.
Cupra hasn’t yet revealed pricing for the hottest, front-wheel drive Leon VZx.
The Renault Megane R.S. Trophy kicks off at $60,090 before on-roads for the manual, and jumps to $63,090 before on-roads for the dual-clutch transmission.
The i30 N is the bargain of the bunch. Even the most expensive model, the i30 N Premium DCT with sunroof, has a $52,000 sticker price before on-roads.
Finally, the BMW M135i xDrive Pure starts at $66,990 before on-roads, and the Mercedes-AMG A35 will set you back $77,869 before on-roads.
The GR Corolla packs a 1.6-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine – that’s right, a 1.6 – with 220kW of power and 370Nm of torque. That’s some serious punch from such a small power plant.
Peak power comes on tap at 6500rpm, and peak torque is available between 3000 and 5500rpm.
It’s all sent to the road through a GR-Four all-wheel drive system (more on that in a minute), and the only transmission option is a six-speed manual.
There’s no manual option, but the Golf R outguns the Corolla when it comes to power and torque. It packs 235kW and 400Nm from its 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which is mated with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
Like the Corolla, the Golf R features an all-wheel drive system the details of which we’ll dive into lower down.
Although it shares its displacement and torque figures with the Golf R, along with the fact it’s all-wheel drive and packs a dual-clutch transmission, the Audi S3 packs 228kW instead of 235kW.
Given it’s also a part of the Volkswagen Group, it should come as no surprise to hear the Cupra Leon VZx also has a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine. It’s front-wheel drive only, and makes 221kW of power and 400Nm of torque.
Like the Golf and Audi, it has a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
The Megane R.S. Trophy packs an extra cylinder (that makes four) and a slightly larger displacement than the Corolla at 1.8 litres, and edges it by 1kW in the power stakes with 221kW. It’s also up when it comes to torque, packing 420Nm.
It offers the choice between a six-speed manual or dual-clutch transmission, and is front-wheel drive only.
The BMW M135i and Mercedes-AMG A35 are both all-wheel drive, and both feature power from 2.0-litre four-cylinder engines.
The BMW makes 225kW and 450Nm, while the AMG pumps out 225kW and 400Nm. The M135i features an eight-speed torque converter automatic, and the AMG has an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission.
Hyundai, like Renault, offers a choice of transmissions. The i30 N is available with a six-speed manual or eight-speed dual-clutch transmission, and is powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder making 206kW and 392Nm. It’s front-wheel drive.
Finally, we don’t know how much the 2023 Civic Type R will make just yet. Its predecessor sent 228kW and 400Nm to the front wheels through a six-speed manual transmission.
|GR Corolla||1.6-litre, three-cylinder||220kW||370Nm|
|Golf R||2.0-litre, four-cylinder||235kW||400Nm|
|Audi S3||2.0-litre, four-cylinder||228kW||400Nm|
|BMW M135i||2.0-litre, four-cylinder||225kW||450Nm|
|AMG A35||2.0-litre, four-cylinder||225kW||400Nm|
|Cupra Leon VZx||2.0-litre, four-cylinder||221kW||400Nm|
|Megane R.S Trophy||1.8-litre, four-cylinder||221kW||420Nm|
|Hyundai i30 N||2.0-litre, four-cylinder||206kW||392Nm|
Toyota has fitted the GR Corolla with a GR-Four all-wheel drive system capable of varying the amount of torque being sent to each axle based on what the driver wants.
An electronic multi-plate clutch is used to control the torque split between the axles, and there are Torsen limited-slip differentials on both axles. The rear axle can take up to 70 per cent of the engine’s torque.
The Golf R uses a 4Motion all-wheel drive system which, like the system in the Corolla, can vary its torque split between the front and rear axles using a central clutch.
It’s also able to send 100 per cent of the torque on the rear axle to either of the individual rear wheels.
In conjunction with a system that brakes the inside front wheel, the torque vectoring rear axle is designed to make the Golf R more agile, and less prone to understeer.
The S3 features a different version of the Volkswagen Group’s all-wheel drive system. Its quattro setup is able to vary torque distribution between the axles, but doesn’t feature the same active torque vectoring on the rear axle.
Both the BMW M135i xDrive and AMG A35 feature similar systems, which can shuffle torque between the axles using a central clutch when they detect slip.
The Megane R.S. is front-drive only, and uses a Torsen limited-slip differential to put its power down. It also features dual-axis front hubs, which are designed to reduce torque steer by better separating steering and suspension inputs.
Meanwhile, the Cupra has an electronic front differential. Also making use of an electronic front differential is the Hyundai i30 N.
|Cupra Leon VZx||FWD||5.7s|
|Megane R.S Trophy||FWD||5.7s|
|Hyundai i30 N||FWD||5.4s (DCT)|