The Daihatsu Copen GR Sport is pure JDM joy


Daihatsu may historically be the king of kei cars and also one of the oldest engine producers in Japan, but as a fully owned subsidiary of Toyota since 2016, there are limitations to what Daihatsu can do these days. Since Toyota doesn’t make a sports car as small as the Daihatsu-produced Copen, it made perfect sense to let its Gazoo Racing division take a gander at the tiny hardtop roadster. And the resulting pocket rocket is pretty fantastic, even if it’s for Japan only. After all, so is the Toyota Century GRMN.

This second-generation Copen has a turbocharged 660-cc three-cylinder engine connected to either a five-speed manual or a seven-speed CVT automatic. And in order to improve handling, Gazoo Racing made quite a few modifications.

Daihatsu Copen GR Sport
Daihatsu Copen GR Sport

Daihatsu Copen GR Sport

Perhaps the most important is the limited-slip differential at the front, which GR calls “super.” Then, Toyota’s GR division went for stiffer springs sprayed red, along with tuned shocks and a new front brace. The center brace has also been modified, with special spats beneath the floor panels.

Retuned power steering and forged aluminum BBS wheels complete the handling package, while the aero is improved by the new front and rear bumper designs. With LED lights and plenty of GR Sport emblems all around, the Copen GR Sport also features Recaro seats and a leather-wrapped Momo steering wheel.

This hottest of all Copens comes in eight colors and contrasting folding hardtop finishes, going on sale in Japan next month. Personally, I’m all for a yellow one with the carbon roof. How about you?

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