The Toyota Starlet Could Be Returning With A 148bhp GR Version | News

For a mainstream manufacturer, Toyota has no shortage of performance models on offer at the moment. There are hot hatches in the GR Yaris and Corolla and sports cars in the GR86 and GR Supra, and rumours have long suggested both a new MR2 and a flagship ‘GR GT’ sports car are in the works as well.

Now, more rumours have emerged that yet another sporty model could join them, in the form of the return of the Starlet. Originally sold in five generations between 1973 and 1999, the Starlet was a little supermini that boasted various performance versions over its lifespan, most memorably the turbocharged GT Turbo and Glanza.

Toyota Starlet – first generation

A report from Japanese magazine Best Car suggests that a reborn Starlet is in the works, leveraging Toyota’s ownership of Daihatsu to produce a small car based on its New Global Architecture platform, which currently underpins both kei cars and small A- and B-segment cars.

The article also states that the range-topping Starlet will be a performance GR version, with the claimed specs sounding fairly tantalising: a downsized, 1.3-litre version of the GR Yaris’s turbocharged three-pot making 148bhp, a kerb weight of less than 1000kg, and either a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic. It forecasts the GR Starlet’s price at between 2.5 million and 2.8 million Yen – that’s between around £12,700 and £14,200 at current exchange rates, although should this car come to fruition and make it to the UK, that price would likely go up.

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Toyota Starlet – fifth generation

Best Car goes on to claim that the GR Starlet may be in development with a view to Toyota having an entry in Rally4, a junior front-wheel drive rallying category populated by the likes of the Ford Fiesta, Peugeot 208 and Renault Clio. Currently, Toyota campaigns the GR Yaris in the top Rally1 class and the Rally2 category immediately below it, so it may be looking at offering a ladder for up-and-coming rally drivers.

Until we get anything concrete from Toyota, these rumours – along with those of a new MR2 – should be taken with a fairly big pinch of salt, but regardless, it’s hard not to get excited about the prospect of an even more accessible, affordable performance car from the GR brand.

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