If you’re anything like most of us here at Automobile, you’ve looked across the wide Pacific to the streets of Japan and viewed that country’s tiny kei cars and trucks with envy. Built to be the smallest highway-legal class of car in Japan, these machines often pack the fun and funky styling of much larger cars in a teeny package. While kei cars can be anything from delivery vans to hatchbacked runabouts, there are sporty options, too—and there’s a new one of those as of today in the form of the Toyota/Daihatsu Copen GR Sport.
If the GR in the Copen’s name looks familiar, yes, it’s the same GR as in the new Toyota Supra‘s official name. It stands for Gazoo Racing, the company’s factory race team and nominal internal tuning team. Displacement is limited by the vehicle class, so the Copen GR Sport’s power comes from a 660-cc turbocharged three-cylinder engine. Like the engine’s displacement, maximum power is also limited by kei-car regulations, and while Toyota doesn’t state the output of the Copen GR’s three-cylinder, it’s not supposed to exceed 63 horsepower.
If that sounds like not much power, well, it’s not, but given the Copen’s tiny size, it’s probably enough to make the GR Sport fun to drive, and the zazzy exterior design, folding hard-top roof, and funhouse sports-car proportions likely make it even more so. There are even Recaro seats and a leather-wrapped Momo steering wheel, while both manual and automatic transmissions are on offer. The photos in our gallery show that there’s even enough room in the Copen’s wee trunk to accommodate a golf bag, albeit at an angle.
In addition to its sporty looks, the Toyota Copen GR Sport also gets an upgraded suspension tune, specially tuned electric power steering, a rigidity-enhancing body brace, and a limited-slip differential for the front (drive) axle. The GR Sport is of course based on the Copen built by Toyota’s wholly owned subsidiary, Daihatsu Motor Co. No, it won’t ever be coming the U.S. as a production vehicle. Yes, we’re all kinda bummed about that.
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