A while back Toyota decided to offer something that is a tiny city hot hatch, but priced as a performance car two tiers above – a pricey, sporty, rally-bred Yaris. Sounds like a great idea for a car enthusiast, but a bad one for the business, right? To help the sales, they gave a special and a significant discount offer for the first 1000 cars in Australia. The sale figure slots it at just under $40k for a drive-away price and that is a significant discount from just under $50k + on-roads.

For a Yaris? Toyota obviously thought there would be some interest despite the price, but even they could not anticipate how popular the GR Yaris would be. After all, it’s unfair to call it just a Yaris.

Of 1000 cars that came to Australia, about 160 are left at the time of writing and probably all gone by the time you are reading this. Moreover, the pre-order website is already ‘temporarily paused’.

The plan Toyota had was to sell the first 1000 for the discounted price within the first 18 months, hopefully by the first 12. They would reevaluate the price after that, based on the interest for the first 1000. It did not go as planned because, since the moment order books were opened until the website was paused, only 6 days passed!

It wouldn’t sell faster if it were free.

Currently, we know nothing more, but we can safely assume Toyota will take the obvious opportunity to sell many more of these beastly little cars in Australia. We don’t know when there will be more and if the discounted price will be kept. A statement that came from Toyota Australia says that they “will communicate updates on the value beyond the initial 1000 vehicles in due course”. Translated to plain English, they are stunned by the overwhelming demand.

So, what the hell is this car?

In short, it is the more powerful production car with only three cylinders. It packs a 1.6 L turbocharged engine with about 200 kW and 370 Nm of torque. While those are fine numbers as is, bear in mind that this is in something the size of a – well, a damn Yaris. It also has an advanced AWD system, performance suspension and brakes and the whole car was based on their WRC knowledge. As if this weren’t enough, they also plan to add a Rallye edition which will add front and rear Torsen LSD.