Whenever a new hatchback is unveiled, our thoughts almost invariably turn to one question: will there be a hot version? In the case of the new Toyota Corolla hatchback (aka the Auris in other markets like Europe) it appears to be a matter of “when,” not “if.”
Speaking with Motoring, Toyota’s sales and marketing chief for Australia spoke positively of the prospect. "Absolutely I do," Sean Hanley answered on whether he thought a performance version of the new Corolla hatch could happen. "I’d like to see it as soon as possible."The model would likely bear the GR moniker. That’d be one peg lower than the top GRMN label that’s only been applied to the smaller Yaris to date. It could have even more power, though, if it’s to go up against the likes of the Volkswagen Golf GTI, the new Hyundai i30 N and the next Ford Focus ST.The limited-production Yaris GRMN boasts a 1.8-liter supercharged inline-four that sends 209 horsepower (212 PS/156 kW) to the front wheels through a six-speed manual. Put your foot down and it’ll run from 0-62 mph (100 km/h) in 6.3 seconds and top out at 143 mph (230 km/h).Hanley indicated a Corolla GR (or Auris GR) would likely reach the Australian market in around three years, but other markets might get it even sooner. It could adopt a version of its aforementioned baby brother’s engine, or another power plant entirely. Either way, you could expect a stiffened suspension, beefier brakes and enhanced aero to also form part of the package.For our part, we can’t help but wonder if an even hotter GRMN version will follow. With 300 horsepower or so, it’d be just what Toyota might need to take on the Honda Civic Type R. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. Like, several car-lengths ahead. For now, we’d be happy to see an Auris/Corolla GR hit the scene, with the full weight of Toyota’s resources behind it. After all, it’s been more than a decade since we’ve seen the automaker compete in the compact hot hatch segment with the 189 HP Corolla T-Sport, which was produced between 2002-2005, and its supercharged 215 HP TTE limited edition that was made in 2006 and 2007.