Hot hatch fans can still snap up Toyota’s power-packed GR Yaris hatchback at its $39,950 drive-away launch price – despite a rush of orders that crashed the reservation website yesterday.

    Toyota says 560 deposits were taken on the first day on sale, meaning 440 examples of the GR Yaris are still available at the sharp drive-away launch price. 250 of those deposits were taken in the first 30 minutes on sale.

    The price will jump to $49,500 before on-road costs once the first 1000 have been sold.

    “Having previously gone through a similar process ordering a Supra last year, this time I was prepared. I set a countdown timer, had a laptop and a desktop attached to fast internet connections, and my trusty phone as a backup,” one GR Yaris owner to-be told CarExpert.

    “At midday I hit the ‘Preorder your Yaris’ button, only to have the site return a server error. I tried both devices and switched internet providers to no avail – obviously I wasn’t the only person attempting to nab one of the first 50 units and a year of heavily-discounted fuel.

    “I never expected I’d be in a frenzy to snap up a Toyota Yaris of all things. At 12:12 I tried the site on my mobile phone and succeeded in placing the order.”

    Set to touch down in November, the GR Yaris is the first homologation special from Toyota since the Celica GT-Four, and packs the world’s most powerful production three-cylinder engine under its compact bonnet.

    With 200kW of power and 370Nm of torque, a kerb weight of just 1280kg, and a rally-inspired all-wheel drive system, the GR Yaris will hit 100km/h in 5.2 seconds from standstill.

    There’s a significantly wider track than the standard Yaris, a bespoke suspension, and uprated brakes measuring 356mm up front and 297mm at the rear.

    A more focused Rallye model will follow the regular GR Yaris in 2021, with a race suspension, locking differentials, 18-inch forged BBS alloy wheels, Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres, and red brake calipers.

    Why the bargain drive-away price? Toyota Australia says it’s using the GR Yaris as an “investment” in the Gazoo Racing brand, giving enthusiasts a chance to experience what Toyota Australia vice president of sales and marketing Sean Hanley describes as a “performance thoroughbred”.

    “We want to excite as many fans as possible with a price that makes GR Yaris more appealing, and genuinely attainable” Mr Hanley today told media.

    Mr Hanley said the drive-away price will “accelerate the awareness and excitement around the GR brand by ensuring we have a substantial number of cars on the road”.

    Toyota is pushing to make the GR brand a “market-leading performance brand” in Australia, although it acknowledges that won’t happen overnight.

    Scott Collie

    Scott Collie is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Scott studied journalism at RMIT University and, after a lifelong obsession with everything automotive, started covering the car industry shortly afterwards. He has a passion for travel, and is an avid Melbourne Demons supporter.

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