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A GR version for the Toyota bZ4X?

The letters GR, when used in connection with Toyota, are not yet a well-known commodity in North America, but that is slowly changing, and we are starting to see them attached to some products. The most obvious ones are the GR Supra and the GR86.

GR of course refers to Toyota's motorsport division, Gazoo Racing. Its next big launch for our market is the GR Corolla, first presented last spring; it’s set to get a manual transmission, all-wheel drive and 300 hp.

Now, there is increasing speculation that the GR division is hard at work spicing up Toyota’s first electric model, the bZ4X SUV.

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Daisuke Ido, chief engineer for the bZ4X, recently told the Move Electric website that a performance version is indeed in the works and will be developed by the Gazoo Racing team. His comments follow the presentation of a bZ4X GR Sport concept at the Tokyo Motor Show in January. The prototype’s darker, more-foreboding appearance and oversized rims were the only clues that it was not a regular bZ4X.

Since then, Lexus has introduced its version of the bZ4X. The RZ uses the same platform as its Toyota sibling but its powertrain is heftier, delivering 308 hp compared to 214 for Toyota's. That configuration could well serve a possible bZ4X GR. However, Ido stressed that development of such a model requires more than just a more powerful engine. Handling, handling, suspension - everything should reflect what Gazoo Racing is all about.

If it all comes together, the bZ4X will serve as an example for the rest of the automaker’s electric lineup to come. And even in among non-electric models, other GR models could be on the way, including one of the Camry.

Stay tuned.