Technical details on the Subaru BRZ – Mid Hudson Subaru

Under the skin of the Scion FR-S, Toyota 86, Toyota GT-86, or Subaru BRZ

First of all, it’s the right size. Just a hair bigger than a Miata, but with more space inside. So stop comparing it to that behemoth from Hyundai!

Second, it’s reasonably close to the right weight. Japanese versions are supposedly 2689 pounds, but the Japanese tend to weigh their cars dry, offer more stripped-to-the-bone versions (like no stereo, no A/C), and have lighter bumpers and door beams. All indications are that U.S. models will be about 100 pounds heavier.

Third, it was developed with the right attitude. Chief Engineer Tetsuya Tada was quoted saying

“There is a Toyota standard for designing new cars. This standard was to a large extent ignored. Why did we do this? There are cars that are accepted by a lot of people. Practical cars that are easy to drive and that do not break easily. These are standard Toyota cars. The 86 is not a car like that. We had to change our design approach for this car. We may have to do this again for other cars.

It is impossible to develop a sports car that appeals to everybody. If you try to please everybody, the car would be half-baked for everybody, and not particularly good for anybody.  This car is not developed by a committee, or by consensus.”

Do yourself a favor and go read the rest of that story at The Truth About Cars. We’ll still be here when you’re done…

Under the skin of the Scion FR-S, Toyota 86, Toyota GT-86, or Subaru BRZ

Under the hood we know some interesting things.

1: There is no engine cover. You can see the engine when you open the hood! This Tada guy obviously gets it.

2: The engine is a unique mish-mash of Subaru and Toyota technology. The bottom (middle?) end is supposedly based on the new FB20, but the square 86 x 86mm bore and stroke (the standard FB is undersquare) calls that little factoid into question. When Toyota wants to make horsepower, they pick up their red phone and call Yamaha. Yamaha did the 2ZZGE head, the 3SGTE head, and if you go back far enough, they even did the engine in the 2000GT. Word is Yamaha is responsible for the heads on this one too.

Toyota’s bizarrely complex but very effective direct and port injection system is in place, with fuel delivery split between two parallel sets of injectors, one in the intake ports and one in the cylinders.

Those Yamaha heads and direct injection are apparently pretty damn knock resistant. Compression is 12.5:1

You already know this, but just for the record, Scion is saying 200 hp at 7000 rpm, 151 lb-ft of torque at 6600 rpm, and redline is 7400 rpm. Those numbers are all very slightly different than we’ve seen before, but are close enough not to matter.

Other things we can tell from this picture of the engine bay:

The big hose teeing off the intake looks like it’s piping sound to the interior. This is a relatively common thing these days. When the intake is placed way up in cold-air land forward of the radiator, the only way to get good intake honkus sounds to the guy making the payments is to pipe the sound in through a membrane (kinda like a rugged speaker cone with no driver) that lets sound pass through without letting unfiltered air slip by. Miatas use these, Mustangs use these, and they’re quite common in Europe where drive-by noise regulations make it nearly impossible for a car to sound good without one.

The lack of a power steering pump indicates electric power steering. The fact that it’s nearly 2012 also indicates electric power steering. Hope it doesn’t suck.

There will never be an all-wheel-drive version. Never.

How can we tell? The front diff needs to be roughly in line with the front wheel centerline, and with a Subaru layout, the front diff sits behind the clutch. In this car, the middle of the engine sits on the front wheel centerline. The engine would have to move forward nearly a foot to make all-wheel drive possible, and that’s just not going to happen.

And that’s fine with us. The weight distribution is already 53/47. We don’t need it any more front heavy.

Scion FR-S underbody

We were planning to bring you fresh information on the exhaust manifold layout (will the primaries be paired Subaru-style for that off-beat sound, or will they be properly paired for good breathing?) and subframe clearance for future turbo models, but this undercover foiled that plan. At least the car will be slippery.

FR-S, GT86, 86, BRZ exhaust manifold

UPDATE: Tip of the hat to MotoIQ Nerd @Jamal, who pointed us to Hellafunctional, who stole this image from someone over at FT86Club who snapped this shot in the Subaru booth at the Tokyo Motor Show a few days ago . Looks like the engine uses a proper 4-2-1 header, which means it will sound like a proper 4-cylinder, not like a WRX. Love that fact or hate it (I’m on the fence) this manifold is surely a large part of why this engine is capable of 100 hp per liter.

Subaru BRZ Turbo, toyota 86 turbo, scion fr-s turbo

MORE UPDATES: Jay Kavanagh over at posted these pictures of the Subaru 1.6 turbo sitting right next to the BRZ/86/FT-S engine. Though there are no claims this will go in the 86, it doens’t take much imagination to see it being done, either by them or by us. This turbo packaging is very friendly for the 86’s FR layout, since there will be tons of room in front for a bigger turbo. This packaging makes a twin-scroll a no-brainer, since you could essentially have the same manifold as the non-turbo engine, but with a turbo flange right after the 4-2 collectors. It would also be much easier to simply put the intercooler in front, where it belongs, and connect to the already forward-facing throttle body.

It’s not clear how Subaru is dealing with oil drainage, since the turbo’s oil drain is down below the oil line in the pan, but the fact that Subaru already worked it out for us makes it much easier when we turbocharge one of these ourselves.

The dual direct/port injection system now makes perfect sense. It’s easier for tuners to leave the direct injectors alone and add bigger port injectors for boosted fueling.

Under the skin of the Scion FR-S, Toyota 86, Toyota GT-86, or Subaru BRZ

There doesn’t appear to be any camber adjustment in the MacPherson strut front suspension. The top mounts (visible in the engine shot) look suspiciously like Impreza top mounts. That’s just fine, since Impreza mounts are indestructible, but there’s no adjustment there.

Down here, the lower control arm is an L-arm, with the steering rack in the back and the L part of the arm pointing forward. If there was going to be camber adjustment down here, it would be on that lower control arm bushing just below the steering arm. No such luck.

Under the skin of the Scion FR-S, Toyota 86, Toyota GT-86, or Subaru BRZ

The arm itself is a simple steel arm. It’s a single stamping that should be lightweight, cheap, and easy to bend if you try to do traditional Subaru things with it.

Under the skin of the Scion FR-S, Toyota 86, Toyota GT-86, or Subaru BRZ

The last chance for camber adjustment would be here, at the strut mount. There should be an eccentric on one of those bolts, but again, no luck.

Under the skin of the Scion FR-S, Toyota 86, Toyota GT-86, or Subaru BRZ

The front calipers are two-piston sliders. These look a lot like Impreza calipers to us, which would mean there’s already a huge array of performance pads available for the 86 before it ever hits the showroom. Assuming they were nice enough to carry over mounting points, there will be brake upgrades galore as well.

Toyota Scion FR-S Subaru BRZ rear suspension

The multilink rear suspension does appear to be from an Impreza, as suspected. Long lower control arms look the same. Forged steel upper A-arm looks the same. Stamped steel trailing arm looks the same. The differential in an Impreza, though, is a Hitachi R160. Subaru has been using versions of this diff since the ’80s, and Nissan started using it back in 1967 (when they built the first 1968 510s). This is not an R160, though.

Imprezas only put 50% of their power to the back, so a diff ready to handle 200 hp would be on a 400 hp Impreza. Sadly, Subaru doesn’t make such a thing. When they make a 300-hp Impreza, though, they use an R180 (Same diff Nissan used in 1969 on the 1970 240Z). This is also not an R180…

Subaru BRZ Scion FR-S Toyota GT86 86 Differential diff

If anyone recognizes this diff, shout it out. We’ve never seen it before and fear it might be new. Carryover diffs are always good, since they mean abundant selection of gear ratios and limited slips.

is this IS300 diff the same as a Scion FR-S diff?UPDATE: Thanks to @AKADriver for pointing us in an IS direction for the diff. This IS300 diff looks like the same one. That’s all good news. Lots of ratios available, lots of different LSDs, plus word is the FR-S will come with an LSD of some sort from the factory anyway.


toyota 86 wheel and tire scion fr-s

Finally, wheels and tires are mixed news.

The wheels appear to be 17×7.5, and the bolt pattern is, sadly, Subaru’s standard 5×100. There has been rampant speculation on this subject in the last few days, but I got on my knees and measured. This bolt patern severely limits wheel selection, which is a damn shame.

The 215/45-17 tire size is actually good news. 225/45-17s will slap right on, and that’s a well supported size, with lots of performance tires available. The factory tire is a Michelin Primacy HP. No idea how bad that is. Factory tires are always engineered to the manufacturer’s specs, so even if you’ve had experience with a tire that claims to be a Primacy HP, it’s unlikely to be the same tire. The 240 treadwear rating is the only hint we have.

Other than the fact that it actually looks better in person and that we all want one now, that’s all the info we have on the 86. There are a few more shots being processed and uploaded, so we’ll update this page as soon as we have them.

Expect the car to go on sale in March or April.

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