Superman has Clark Kent; Spiderman has Peter Parker; Batman has Bruce Wayne. Super heroes have secret identities that allow them some chill time when they aren’t fighting crime. After all, seeing Batman at Starbucks could be startling.
Uniquely, Toyota president and master driver Akio Toyoda has a secret identity as well: Morizo. It’s his alias when he slips behind the wheel and onto a track as a member of Toyota’s Gazoo Racing team, or GR for short.
We’re not saying the name lends him super powers, but he does have the authority to order up some pretty bitchin’ rides, like the 2023 Toyota GR Corolla Morizo Edition, an even hotter version of the 2023 Toyota GR Corolla hot hatch. GR has already served up some pretty tasty automotive treats, such as the Toyota GR 86 and GR Supra sports cars, but the Morizo Edition sends it over the top.
Making a good thing better
For the Morizo Edition, Gazoo Racing starts with a Toyota Corolla hatchback, but not the Clark Kent version offered in SE, XSE and SE Nightshade Editions, and powered by a 168 horsepower 2.0-liter direct-injection inline 4-cylinder engine tamed to a 6-speed manual or a continuously variable automatic transmission.
Instead, GR starts with far hotter variant, the GR Corolla, the track-oriented version of the Corolla hatchback built to Toyoda’s specifications. Offered in Core and Circuit Editions with a 1.6-liter 3-cylinder engine that unleashes a massive 300 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels through a 6-speed manual.
Next, they increased its torque to 295 lb-ft from 273 lb-ft, although horsepower remains the same at 300. The engine was retuned for peak torque to occur at 3,250-4,600 rpm. Then, they matched it to an exclusive close ratio 6-speed manual with shorter differential gears. The all-wheel-drive system comes with selectable 30-70, 50-50, and 60-40 front-to-rear wheel power settings and standard dual limited slip differentials.
Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 is standard, and includes Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane-Departure Alert with Steering Assist and Lane Tracing Assist, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Automatic High Beams, Road Sign Assist, Blind-Spot Monitor, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert and Hill Start Assist Control.
Sweating the details
Engineers excised almost 100 pounds of weight, bringing the car down to a daintier 3,186 pounds, from 3,292 pounds. (After all, you can’t conquer the Nürburgring with too much avoirdupois.)
Most the weight reductions came from removing the rear seats, using the forged carbon fiber roof, also employed on the GR Corolla Circuit Edition, and fitting forged wheels. With the lack of rear seats, engineers could also chuck the rear door speakers, rear window regulator, and rear wiper blade and motor, all in the name of paring pounds.
Of course, a good dance partner has to wear a great set of shoes, in this case, extra wide Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires mounted on 18-inch forged alloy wheels with a matte black finish and Toyota Gazoo Racing logo. The wheels frame red monotube shocks that are tuned for racing.
The GR Corolla is built on Toyota’s TNGA-C platform using a MacPherson strut front suspension and a multi-link double-wishbone rear suspension. Engineers specified four-piston 14-inch disc brakes with ventilated and slotted rotors with aluminum calipers up front, two-piston 11.7-inch units in the rear.
Given the performance upgrades, it’s little surprise that engineers also increased rigidity, adding two additional floor braces and a rear strut brace. Its frame gained an additional 349 spot welds to strengthen joints and more than six meters of structural adhesive compared to a standard Corolla hatch.
The inside story
Climb inside, and you’ll find unique red and black Ultrasuede and leather sport seats with high bolsters and harness holes, accompanied by an Ultrasuede-wrapped steering wheel with red sightline, as well as an Ultrasuede shift knob and boot and parking brake lever. The shift lever has a shortened stroke for quicker shifts.
And thanks to the lack of rear seats, there’s enough space to haul four tires for track day.
As in other GR Corollas, the Morizo Edition comes with a 12.3-inch color digital instrument cluster and Toyota’s new 8-inch infotainment touchscreen system. There’s also automatic climate control, power front windows, aluminum sport pedals, two USB charging ports, one 12-volt auxiliary power outlet, lighted foot wells, front console tray and rear console bin, Qi wireless smartphone charging, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and a 4G Wi-Fi hotspot for up to five devices,
Dressed to kill
Of course, it wears the exterior detailing you’d expect of a track car, with the muscular sheetmetal you’d expect of an automotive caped crusader. There are wide front and rear fender flares, a bulging hood with functional gloss-black air ducts, front brake cooling vents, heated power outside mirrors with turn signal indicators, and everything is finished in gloss black. Lighting is all LED of course. And what would a rally car be without a high mounted matte-black rear spoiler?
Built at the GR production facility in Motomachi, Japan, where Toyota produced the Lexus LFA, the 2023 Toyota GR Corolla Morizo Edition will be limited to 200 numbered units.
Pricing and on-sale dates were not announced.