The chief engineer on Toyota’s GR Yaris project says he had to “fight” for a three-door body style for the new hot hatch because “everyone disagreed”.

Billed as a homologation model “born to win the FIA World Rally Championship”, the bodyshell of the GR Yaris will form the basis of the 2021 Yaris WRC contender.

Speaking to Autocar, Naohiko Saito said it wasn’t easy gaining approval for the sportier three-door configuration considering the standard Yaris features five portals.

“When we asked for three doors, everyone disagreed, because it meant a new body. We had to fight for it, but we finally got it,” Saito-san told the British publication, confirming the WRC team was behind the request.

The all-wheel-drive GR Yaris employs a turbocharged 1,6-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine generating 200 kW and 370 N.m in JDM spec (and 192 kW and 360 N.m in Euro spec). It will be mated exclusively with a six-speed manual gearbox.

Saito-san told Autocar a turbocharged 2,0-litre four-cylinder engine would have proven too heavy for the application, adding that the chosen powerplant was both the lightest and the most powerful production engine displacing 1,6 litres.

Toyota South Africa Motors told CARmag.co.za soon after the hot hatch’s reveal it had "requested the local introduction" of the GR Yaris, confirming the new model was "currently under study"...