We're pretty sure you've read enough about the Toyota GR Yaris to know that it's a hoot. The little hot hatch can hold a candle against bigger, more powerful contenders but more importantly, it has a six-speed stick shift that enthusiasts from all over the world love.
But just in case you want a rally-bred Yaris hatchback but with the convenience of an automatic, we have good news for you. Toyota is currently developing an 8-speed slushbox for the GR Yaris, and it has already made a public appearance at the Toyota Gazoo Rally Racing Challenge held recently in Japan.
Gallery: 2020 Toyota GR Yaris
Japan's Car Watch has seen the car in the metal, with matching photos showing the cabin. According to the publication, the GR Yaris with 8-speed automatic transmission is currently being developed. The prototype that made an appearance this week is numbered 109 and it's visibly altered upfront to allow additional airflow to the auto gearbox oil cooler.
The GR Yaris auto gearbox is a conventional torque converter automatic. Of course, it has a manual mode, which can be toggled through paddle shifters behind the steering wheel.
Toyota said that it's aimed not only for fuel efficiency but also for sporty drives. In fact, Toyota Motor Corporation's Vice Chairman, Mr. Shigeru Hayakawa, was behind the wheel of the prototype that attended the Toyota Gazoo Rally Racing Challenge. He even jested that he already broke the transmission once, which part of the development stage.
Despite being in development, this isn't a confirmation that the production model will get the AT gearbox. If it will, the next question is when. And more importantly, will it ever reach the United States? Time will tell, but at least the bigger Toyota GR Corolla will likely make its debut stateside this year.
You can catch the no. 109 GR Yaris on Toyota Gazoo Racing's live stream embedded below right at the 1:18:49 mark.