A Toyota development mule resembling the Yaris has been spotted testing at the Nürburgring, sporting the bodywork from the current car and a camouflage livery.
The company has made no announcement regarding a new hot hatch, but, under the same disguise as prototypes of the recently revealed Supra sports car, the mule looks to be carrying out high-speed performance and handling tests.
The main clue as to the model’s sporting ambitions are found at the rear, where two wide-bore exhaust pipes can be seen exiting a diffuser-style bumper.
Elsewhere, wide alloy wheels wrapped in low-profile tyres round off a low, squat stance in the same vein as the range-topping GRMN variant of the current Yaris.
The next-gen Yaris will move to Toyota’s latest TNGA vehicle architecture, as used by the new Corolla and Camry. That car is tipped for a reveal late next year, suggesting these images show final testing of components for the new model.
Toyota has launched a number of performance badges, including GRMN and GR Sport, based on its Gazoo Racing motorsport arm, and company boss Akio Toyoda has spoken of a desire to produce more performance vehicles.
The performance division turned its hand to the Yaris last year, with the launch of the warm GR Sport variant, which produces 99bhp from its four-cylinder 1.5-litre petrol-electric powertrain.
That model is available only in five-door form, which suggests this latest sighting could be based on the Yaris GR Sport.