Yes, the rumours were true: there are indeed three examples of the Toyota Yaris GRMN roaming round South Africa. Unfortunately, though, the B-segment hot hatch will not be offered for sale on our shores (something the brand told us as long ago as January 2017).

Instead, the local arm of the Japanese automaker has brought in the model to “serve as a demonstration of Toyota’s sporting direction and signify the evolution of performance-minded Toyota products”. That, at least, bodes well for local Toyota fans pining for the days of TRD and RSi badges...

Of course, as we've already reported, GRMN (or Gazoo Racing Masters of Nürburgring) models will sit at the very summit of Toyota’s new performance echelon, with GR (which includes a power hike), GR-Sport (with a suspension upgrade) and GR-Line (with purely cosmetic tweaks) derivatives positioned below it.

The first proper GRMN model outside of Japan is the three-door Yaris GRMN. As a reminder, this model is limited to 400 units, with distribution restricted to Europe. It is powered by a 1,8-litre four-cylinder petrol engine equipped with a Magnusson Eaton supercharger, and boasts a Torsen limited-slip differential as standard.

With a 10:1 compression ratio, the engine sends 156 kW and 250 N.m to the front wheels via a six-speed manual transmission, which translates to a zero to 100 km/h time of “around 6,3 seconds”, and an electronically limited top speed of 230 km/h...