It’s official: The 2024 Toyota GR Yaris is getting an optional automatic transmission. As one of the last manual-only cars on the market (along with the GR Corolla, Honda Civic Type R, Civic Si, and a few others), the GR Yaris was part an exclusive club. But now it's joining the masses with a new torque-converted eight-speed automatic transmission.

Toyota revealed the updated GR Yaris and the new gearbox at Tokyo Auto Salon, calling it Direct Automatic Transmission. It’s based on a torque-converter auto that's been optimized for faster shifts and has specifically tuned shift logic for track use. It’s not a dual-clutch gearbox like other performance cars, but if the ZF 8HP automatic is any proof, normal automatics can be plenty good too. Astute racing fans will remember that Toyota tested this gearbox in the Super Taikyu endurance series, as well as the Japan Rally Championship.

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Along with the new gearbox, the GR Yaris is getting more power and a brace of improvements in all areas. The output improves from 268 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque to 300 hp and 295 lb-ft – same as the GR Corolla. A “Circuit” specification will be available with an improved cooling package, specifically an extra radiator, intercooler spray, and a redesigned intake system. Automatic-equipped cars will also get a dedicated cooler for the gearbox. Both coolers can be seen in the side intakes. Astoundingly, the automatic only adds around 40 pounds to the car.

General body rigidity and suspension improvements support a power increase from the turbocharged three-cylinder engine. And it’s not just a new tune, but a “strengthened” valvetrain, a new undisclosed exhaust valve material, an increase in direct injection pressure, a new intake air pressure sensor, and redesigned lightweight pistons.

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Finally, the GR Yaris gets a facelift inside and out. A more aggressively-style front bumper accommodates the extra coolers, while the interior has been totally redesigned to be more driver-centric. Frankly, the dash is a little odd and dated, especially compared to before. At least the new gauge cluster is the 12.3-inch display from the GR Corolla.

OK, so, this car won’t make it stateside. But the crucial takeaway is that these parts could make it to the GR Corolla in a future model year, including the automatic transmission. While the 2024 GR Corolla has already been announced with its changes, there’s some evidence to suggest the 2025 GR Corolla will be a big step forward.

Gallery: 2024 Toyota GR Yaris

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