A new, pint-sized drop-top is joining Toyota's sprawling lineup. The Copen GR Sport is a two-seat mini-car with a solid, retractable roof and plenty of chassis upgrades. It's cuter than a laundry basket full of puppies and likely not much bigger.
This machine is manufactured by Daihatsu, a subsidiary of Toyota and a brand with extensive experience building kei cars for the Japanese market. This is a segment of super-small vehicles with commensurately tiny engines. If you think ais too big, this could be the ideal drop-top for you.
Toyota Gazoo Racing played an important role in developing this car. Information collected from its extensive participation in motorsports helped improve the Copen GR Sport's driving dynamics. Engineers focused on increasing body rigidity and retuning the chassis. Accordingly, this car features a special front brace and a reworked center support for greater stiffness. The suspension spring rates have been reworked and it runs dedicated shock absorbers.
According to the press release, this car should provide "…a smooth ride with supple movement, and the feeling of the tires gripping the ground..." Beats giving it the sensation that the car is sliding out from underneath you, I suppose. The electrically assisted power steering was also retuned for a sportier feel.
The drop-top rolls on beautiful, BBS forged-aluminum wheels dressed in a matte gray finish. Front and rear, the bumpers have been restyled and the vehicle features LED head-, tail- and fog-lights for enhanced visibility whether the car's coming or going.
For a nice bit of choice, eight spunky exterior colors are offered. But Toyota is pulling something of a Henry Ford because the interior is only available in black. (The automotive magnate is famously quoted as saying customers could buy his iconic Model T in any color as long as it was black.) A sporty, triple-meter instrument cluster and duet of Recaro bucket seats further accentuate the cabin, as does the tasteful use of piano-black trim. Special badging is also part of the equation.
Since engine displacement and output are restricted in Japana's kei-car segment, the Copen GR Sport's powerplant is suitably minute. A turbocharged, 12-valve, three-cylinder unit provides motivation, displacing a mere 658 cubic centimeters. Yes, that's just 0.658-liters, meaning the piston-swept area is scarcely more than a large cup of coffee.
What do you get from such a tiny engine? Well, it delivers a claimed 64 PS with 92 Newton meters of torque. In Americanized figures, that's about 63 horsepower and 68 pound-feet of twist. Reining in all that giddy-up is a limited-slip differential, which helps evenly distribute torque between the front wheels. As for transmissions, two are offered: You can choose between a five-speed manual or CVT with paddle shifters and seven simulated gears.
The Toyota Copen GR Sport convertible should be available in Japan right now. You can get a closer look at it during the Tokyo Motor Show, which runs from Oct. 24 to Nov. 4.