Same name, significantly different cars.
Toyota presented its performance lineup in September 2017 with a three-tier hierarchy by positioning the all-show-without-extra-go GR Sport at the bottom of the food chain, followed by the midrange GR, and the flagship GRMN. In a drag race between a GR Yaris and a GRMN Yaris, you'd expect the latter to take the win, but it's not as simple as some might think because we're dealing with two generations of the supermini.
There are major differences between the two even though both share (most of) the same name. The old one is front-wheel drive whereas the current model sends its power to both axles. On a damp surface, like you’d expect to find in typically rainy UK, that makes all the difference since the GR Yaris has better traction off the line.
Gallery: 2020 Toyota GR Yaris
The GRMN does have an advantage over the newer hot hatch as it's approximately 145 kilograms (320 pounds) lighter than the GR. The engines are also vastly different, a supercharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder against a turbocharged 1.6-liter three-pot, with quite a horsepower and torque advantage for the smaller engine.
Carwow lined up the two hot Yaris flavors in a drag race followed by a couple of rolling races and two brake tests. While the old GRMN is a real hoot, it didn't stand a chance against the GR. It was slower in the quarter-mile drag race by 1.1 seconds, completing the sprint in 14.7 seconds. It was a similar outcome in the subsequent rolling races from 30 mph and 50 mph, with no real chance for the GRMN to keep up with the latest performance Yaris.
Perhaps an even bigger difference between the two was the brake test from 70 mph as the GR's significantly chunkier brakes helped it come to a full stop much quicker than the GRMN.
We're now beginning to wonder whether Toyota has plans for a GRMN-spec Yaris based on the latest generation of its subcompact hatchback, one that would make the old one feel slow by comparison. As a matter of fact, a more aggressive GR Yaris was spotted late last year at the Nürburgring, so a new GRMN might just happen.