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Toyota could introduce GR sedan, electrified sports models

Toyota has hinted at the possibility of a hot GR-badged sedan, but says an electrified GR model is around five years away.

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Toyota’s Gazoo Racing skunkworks could be fettling a sedan next, and has left the door wide open for electrification before 2030.

Bob Carter, executive vice president of sales at Toyota Motor North America, told Motor Trend to “stay tuned” when asked about the possibility of a GR-badged sedan.

As for electrification, Toyota says there’s nothing imminent but it’s evaluating the potential of future electrified GR models, with Mr Carter indicating an electrified GR car could “quite possibly” come in five years.

“Electrification coming to GR is something we’re talking about. In the long term, what is the best way to deliver what GR is and what does electrification have to do with that,” said Cooper Ericksen, group vice president of product planning and strategy at Toyota.

“The key is fun to drive, lightweight, track performance, so if we can deliver that with an EV, we might look into that.”

Toyota currently offers both GR and GR Sport-badged models.

GR vehicles are enthusiast-oriented, dedicated performance machines, and include the GR 86, GR Supra, GR Corolla and GR Yaris. Toyota says this year’s GR GT3 concept is also moving into the development stage.

In contrast, GR Sport models feature aesthetic and mechanical tweaks but don’t offer any more power.

Toyota sells GR Sport versions of everything from the Yaris and Prius up to the HiLux and LandCruiser 300 Series. It’s also previewed a GR Sport version of its upcoming bZ4x electric crossover.

In contrast, Mr Carter told the US publication last year there were no plans for GR-badged SUVs.

“I don’t want to eliminate anything, but initially no,” said Mr Carter last year.

“The importance is exhilarating driving. When you go to SUVs you have higher center of gravities and it’s just not conducive. Nothing is off the table, but initially you can expect it to be a car-based vehicle. There’s still a market for that.”

As to what this mooted GR sedan could be, a GR Corolla sedan seems an obvious suggestion.

The GR Corolla hatchback, due here by year’s end, uses the GR Yaris’ turbocharged 1.6-litre three-cylinder engine but with more power (220kW) and the same torque (370Nm), mated with Toyota’s GR-Four variable 4WD system.

It’ll be available only with a six-speed manual transmission – for now.

Toyota has been testing an eight-speed torque-converter automatic transmission in a GR Yaris, which could give the GR Corolla more volume appeal.

While American enthusiasts have been known to appreciate a stick shift, hot hatches are less common there and a sedan body style could resonate better.

Motor Trend also reported the GR sedan might be a GR Camry.

There’s precedent for a hot Camry. In Australia, TRD developed a hotter, supercharged version of the Aurion, as the V6-powered Camry was known here for two generations.

The blown V6 produced 241kW of power and 400Nm of torque, up 37kW and 64Nm on the already punchy Aurion V6.

Tweaks for the TRD Aurion included larger brakes, stickier Dunlop SP Sport Maxx tyres, stiffer springs and firmer damping, and a 12mm lower ride height, though there was no limited-slip differential or all-wheel drive system.

While the TRD Aurion was unsuccessful, a TRD-badged Camry appeared in North America in 2019.

While its 224kW 3.5-litre V6 is unchanged, it features a cat-back dual exhaust, thicker underbody braces, stiffer coil springs, and specially tuned shock absorbers, among other mechanical tweaks aimed at giving it “track tuning”.

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William Stopford
William Stopford

William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel (remember that?), briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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