Toyota GR Models May Get a Sporty Automatic

A sporty automatic transmission for Toyota GR models is possible.

There are plenty of car enthusiasts who are excited about the availability of a manual transmission in a sporty car, but adding an automatic transmission (or CVT, or dual-clutch—something that shifts itself and does not require the use of a clutch pedal) significantly increases the number of people who are interested in purchasing that sport car. The ideal storm occurs when a corporation can afford to grow both at the same time, which necessitates interest reaching a certain level determined internally before the green light is granted. Toyota appears to have achieved this goal, and the company is currently striving to produce a typical torque converter eight-speed automatic transmission for its sportier GR vehicles, notably the GR Yaris, which will be available in 2014.

Yaris GR is now being tested with an eight-speed automatic transmission at the Toyota Gazoo Racing Rally Challenge, according to a Japanese newspaper called Car Watch. According to the magazine, the automobile is currently undergoing shift pattern calibration to verify that it functions suitably in competition. It’s also worth noting that the manual gear change mode on the gear selector lever has been reversed from the typical Toyota automatic in that market (push lever forward for upshift, down for downshift) to the reverse, which corresponds to the preferred layout for performance driving (i.e. sequential shifters), in which you pull towards you for an upshift and push away for a downshift.

In light of the similarities in powertrain configurations between the GRY and GRC, it’s safe to assume that, if Toyota decides to build an automatic GRY for general public consumption, it’ll be based on or close to the GRC. However, we can only hope that it will be more appropriate for this model than the automatic transmission featured in the Aisin-built six-speed used in the GR 86 marketed in the United States, which suffers from overly cautious shift logic.

Of course, the GR Supra is an anomaly in this group, since it is built on a BMW and features a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission that is both reliable and efficient. Toyota has also been playing the “we’ll do it if there’s enough demand” tune since the GR Supra was introduced, which is an interesting development considering it was initially only available with an automatic transmission. Customer desire for a manual transmission in the Toyota Supra only serves to feed speculation that the GR Yaris and GR Corolla will be getting two-pedal transmissions in the near future as well, if not already. The selection is strong, and we hope that Toyota’s rumored eight-speed transmission lives up to the great standard set by the ZF unit in the GR Supra’s successor to the Supra.

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