Category Archives: Subaru BRZ

Subaru Reveals More About BRZ Sports Car – Mid Hudson Subaru


Subaru serves up a glimpse at the car’s front end—you can see that the grille is different than the one on the Toyota FT-86/Scion FR-S—plus some additional specifications. As we learned during our drive of a BRZ prototype, the boxer engine architecture is Subaru’s, but Toyota has contributed its dual port/direct-injection heads. (Engineering geeks take note: Subaru’s working on its own direct-injection tech, as previewed in theAdvanced Tourer Concept, and it’s not licensed from ToMoCo.)

A PDF also rocketed in from the Pleiades (you can check it out here) and reported the BRZ’s length, width, and height. The big deal here is less that the car is 166.9 inches long, 69.9 inches wide, and 51.2 inches high, but that the numbers corroborate those in a spec sheet allegedly leaked from Japan. That sheet also reports weight estimates of 2668 to 2712 pounds, numbers given further credibility by the dimensional accuracy. Overall, the BRZ and its Toyota sib will be longer and wider than the Mazda MX-5, though a bit taller and between that car and the RX-8 in weight.


First Drive: 2013 Subaru BRZ Prototype – Motor trend loves the BRZ – Mid Hudson Subaru

2013 Subaru BRZ Prototype Front Three Quarter

Every so often in this business, you drive a car that lets you know in the first hundred yards or so that it’s special — that it’s somehow greater than the sum of the numbers on its spec chart. The new Subaru BRZ is one of those cars. It’s not the fastest, the most powerful, nor even the sexiest two-door coupe in the business. But if you love driving, you’re going to love this Subaru.

The Subaru BRZ is the result of one of the auto industry’s oddest joint ventures since Alfa Romeo and Nissan hooked up in the 1980s to produce the ARNA, a car that spectacularly combined the worst features of both: It had Alfa Romeo’s suspect reliability and Nissan’s boring styling and sloppy handling. This time, though, everyone looks like a winner. Subaru gets a great sports car it couldn’t afford to build, and Toyota gets a great sports car, to be badged as a Scion here in the United States, that it couldn’t find room to build.

Toyota did the planning and design. Subaru did the engineering, and will build both versions at its Gunma plant in Japan. Both cars will initially be identical, apart from front and rear bumper fascias, badging, and detail equipment levels. We haven’t sat in the Scion yet, but we’ve driven the BRZ, albeit a heavily camouflaged prototype. First impressions are good. Very good.

The key to the BRZ’s appeal is the unique hardware under its relatively conventional skin. This is the world’s only front-engine, rear-drive sports car powered by a boxer engine. The Subaru 2.0-liter four is an all-new engine with a different block from that used in the 2012 Impreza, and features Toyota-sourced direct injection. It gets a unique FA designation within the Subaru engine family (the closely related 2012 Impreza engine is known as the FB, while the 2011 Impreza is the EJ), and though Subaru engineers were tight-lipped about the engine’s output, they didn’t disagree with our guess of about 200 hp and 170 lb-ft. The engine drives the rear wheels through a choice of two Aisin six-speed transmissions, one a manual, the other a conventional planetary automatic with manual actuation via steering wheel-mounted paddles. The transmission is the same one used in the Lexus IS 350, among others. Front suspension is MacPherson strut, while the rear gets a complex multilink setup. Brakes are disc all around.

2013 Subaru BRZ Prototype Rear Three Quarter

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Keeping the center of gravity as low as possible — always a good thing for a sports car — was one of the BRZ’s key design goals, and Subaru’s engineers have made the most of the flat-four engine’s obvious advantage in this area. Compared with the 2012 Impreza’s engine, the BRZ’s boxer sits almost 4.8 inches lower and just over 8 inches farther back in the chassis. What that means is this: The top of the engine is roughly knee height, and the center line of the front axle is aligned with the bore center of the rear pair of cylinders.

When you slide in behind the wheel it’s apparent just how low the cowl height is, even though you’re sitting low in the car. Once on the road, the moment you pull the steering wheel off-center you notice how rapidly and accurately the BRZ responds to driver inputs. The weight distribution is not quite 50/50; Subaru engineers will only admit that less than 60 percent of the car’s mass is over the front axle, and the chassis has been set up for mild understeer. But there’s no mistaking the agility borne of low mass, slung low.

The ride is firm, but not harsh. Tellingly, the BRZ was developed on 16- and 17-inch wheels, defying the fashionable trend toward factory-fitted dubs rimmed with rubber-band-thin tires. The benefit of smaller wheels, of course, is reduced unsprung mass, and therefore better, more precise wheel control. Our tester rolled on 17s fitted with 215/45 tires that delivered good grip and gave plenty of notice approaching the limits of adhesion.

The BRZ has the same sweet-natured nimbleness as a Mazda Miata or a Porsche Boxster. That sensation is helped by the fact that, like the Miata and the original Boxster, the BRZ’s engine simply cannot outdrive the chassis. It only takes a few miles along your favorite canyon road to start wishing you had 100 more horses to play with. The car stays flat through the turns, and when pushed very hard it will oversteer, but the onset is smooth and progressive. The low mass–Subaru says production cars will weigh a feathery 2500 pounds–means you can brake later for turns, carry lots of speed through them, and still nail apexes like a sharpshooter. The BRZ rewards neatness: Get it right and we bet you can hang with the more-powerful AWD WRX through the twisties.

2013 Subaru BRZ Prototype Front Three Quarter

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RACE FACE: Like the menacing…
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The 2.0-liter boxer delivers healthy mid-range punch, though a little more top-end bite would be welcome. The tach is redlined at 7400 rpm, but there’s little point hanging on much past 7000 as the power delivery goes flat. The engine idles quietly, but develops a pleasing muted throb, like an STI wrapped in cotton wool, when you get active with the gas pedal. Our prototype was fitted with the automatic transmission. It felt crisp and clean in regular driving, and responsive in manual mode, matching revs on the downshifts when you fanned the left-hand paddle.

The BRZ — really, could Subaru have come up with a less evocative name for a sport coupe? — is on some levels the most conventional car Japan’s quirkiest automaker has ever built. But it opens up some intriguing possibilities for the company, especially as Subaru and Toyota are free to develop the BRZ hardware any way they like from here on in. Subaru engineers quietly concede there’s more power to come from the boxer four, though they won’t confirm whether a turbo is in the works. They admit the BRZ structure has been engineered from the get-go to allow for a convertible version, so you can bet we’ll see a softtop model within the next few years. And, most intriguing of all, they say the platform is flexible enough to allow for a significant wheelbase stretch. A BRZ-based four-door sport sedan? Now that’s an interesting idea…

2013 Subaru BRZ Prototype Sketches

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How the BRZ came to be
The teaming up of Toyota and Subaru is intriguing, but not unprecedented. Back in 2008, both shared a desire to brighten their somewhat dim sports car portfolios. Toyota would take the lead in planning, designing, and bankrolling the new two-door, dubbed AS1, while Subaru offered its proven high-performance engineering and production capabilities. The companies would split sales and marketing duties.

Automotive history buffs will enjoy learning the BRZ isn’t Subaru’s first rear-drive vehicle. That title belongs to the 1953-’54 Fuji Heavy Industries Prototype 1 sedan, later known as the Subaru 1500. P-1 employed the first Japanese-made monocoque body and paved the way for brand icons such as the Subaru 360 and 1000. – Nate Martinez

Great Expectations 
Once the Toyota/Subaru deal was sealed, engineers from both automakers made sure to agree on basic expectations. There weren’t many, but each was critical in crafting the coupe you see here.

First, it had to be lightweight and fuel-efficient. Second, handling prowess, rather than all-out speed and horsepower, needed to be emphasized, with a low center of gravity. Third, there had to be enough room for four passengers and luggage space for a pair of golf bags.

Engineering a mid-engine layout would negate the 2+2 seating requirement, while an AWD system would add weight and reduce fuel economy. A twin-clutch gearbox would also add unwanted mass, plus increase cost. According to Subaru’s engineers, a front-engine/rear-drive configuration with a boxer engine and a traditional gearbox duo was “ideal for [the BRZ’s] vision.”

Engineers were tight-lipped about exact production numbers, but they nodded in agreement when we coughed up a 3000-unit-per-year guess. That would put the BRZ in current WRX STI production territory, making it a low-volume niche car. – Nate Martinez

2013 Subaru BRZ prototype
BASE PRICE $25,000 (est)
VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, RWD, 4-pass,2-door coupe
ENGINE 2.0L/200-hp (est)/170-lb-ft (est) DOHC 16-valve flat-4
TRANSMISSION 6-speed manual,6-speed automatic
CURB WEIGHT 2500 lb (mfr est)
WHEELBASE 93.5 in (est)
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 148.8 x 70.0 x 46.8 (est)
0-60 MPH 6.0 sec (MT est)
EPA CITY/HWY FUEL ECON 25-27/30-32 mpg (est)
ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 125-135/105-112 kW-hrs/100 mi (est)
CO2 EMISSIONS 0.67-0.72 lb/mi (est)
ON SALE IN U.S. Spring 2012


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Subaru BRZ STI Concept Revealed Ahead of LA Auto Show Debut – Mid Hudson Subaru


The Subaru BRZ media fest continues with the reveal of the BRZ STI Concept ahead of its LA Auto Show debut.


Looking remarkably similar to the Scion FR-S concept it does have a more production-ready finish, with modest wheels (215/45/18 tires up front and 225/45/18 in the rear) and a believable rear diffuser. Compared to leaked photos of the FT-86, there are unique fender vents and it’s hard to miss the massive rear spoiler. While just the one rear-angle photo has been released Subaru promises the front end design gets a hexagonal front grille and hawk eye headlights, instantly distinguishing it as a Subie. And in true Subaru fashion it gets a version of the company’s trademark WR blue paint, called WR Blue Pearl II. One area that isn’t painted is the roof, with an exposed carbon fiber weave that further reduced the car’s already impressive center of gravity.


Rather than the turbocharged engine many are expecting, this STI makes use of the same naturally aspirated 2.0-liter boxer 4-cylinder with direct-injection, which on the FT-86/FR-S is touted to deliver 197-hp. To give an idea of just how incredible a handling machine this is, Subaru says that compared to other cars in its lineup the engine is located 4.7-inches lower to the ground and 9.4-inches closer to the center of the chassis.




Subaru BRZ – Mid Hudson Subaru


The new Subaru BRZ coupé will have the lowest centre of gravity of any production car when it goes on sale next summer, according to the manufacturer.

The BRZ’s rear-wheel-drive configuration has meant that Subaru’s compact 2.0-litre Boxer engine can be mounted even lower in the chassis than would normally be permissible in the manufacturer’s conventional four-wheel-drive layout.

See Autocar’s exclusive image of the Subaru BRZ

Despite being co-developed with Toyota, the vast majority of the engineering work has been undertaken by Subaru; although the company has confirmed that the BRZ’s flat-four unit will incorporate a Toyota direct fuel-injection system.

Power outputs, however, will differ with a Subaru-spec ECU liberating the BRZ’s power to “less than 300bhp,” compared with the FT-86’s 200bhp figure.

Details of the car’s final spec remain under wraps – even Subaru’s UK new MD admitted to Autocar that he’d only seen a clay model of the finished product – but insiders suggest that the grille and bumpers will differentiate the RBZ from its Toyota-badged sibling.

A roadster version could yet play a part in future model plans, but a topless car is ‘under consideration’ rather than developmental reality.

While the new 2+2 coupé is expected to fill a healthy new niche for the manufacturer, Subaru UK has made it clear that it intends to focus much of its energy on ‘lifestyle’ products, such as the new XV crossover.

The Subaru BRZ will be unveiled at the Tokyo show next month.

Why Subaru Went Rear-Wheel Drive With The BRZ – Mid Hudson Subaru

One of the biggest mysteries puzzling Subarufans is the issue of why the Japanese automaker, after building its performance reputation on symmetrical all-wheel drivetechnology, would switch to rear-wheel drive for its upcoming BRZ sports car.

Of course, a lot of it has to do with the fact that the BRZ is being jointly developed withToyota, which will sell the car as the Scion FR-S here in the U.S. though it may revive the Celica name elsewhere.

From the start of the project, Toyota was adamant that it wanted a rear-wheel drive sports car.Subaru’s product planning chief and head developer of the BRZ, Toshio Masuda, has revealed to us that the joint-developed sports car was originally conceived by Subaruand that there were several reasons why his design team didn’t want it to be all-wheel drive.

2011 Scion FR-S Concept2011 Scion FR-S Concept

Toyota’s intentions notwithstanding, Masuda explained that Subaru wanted to showcase its road-holding and traction expertise in a rear-wheel drive application.

Subaru already sells front-wheel drive cars in markets outside the U.S., so launching a new rear-wheel drive model was the final frontier, so to speak, where the automaker could implement its latest engineering knowhow.

Masuda also pointed out that some of Subaru’s all-wheel drive models have been tested during development with up to 90 percent of their torque being sent to the rear wheels, virtually mimicking the dynamics of a rear-wheel drive car.

And the results of this knowhow speaks for itself. Prototypes of the BRZ have been tested at speeds above 50 mph in heavy snow–something normally unthinkable in a lightweight rear-wheel drive sports car.

Key to its prowess will be its very low center of the gravity of around 17.8 inches, one of the lowest of any car currently on the market.

Look out for the respective debuts of both the Subaru BRZ and its Scion FR-S sibling at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show this December. First sales are scheduled to start in the first half of next year.