On the heels of the online unveiling of the Toyota GT 86, Subaru has released details of its version of the rear-drive sporty coupe, the BRZ. We were introduced to the design of the BRZ only recently, with Subaru providing the first glimpse two weeks ago in concept form at the L.A. Auto Show. Now, Subaru has released the particulars of the production version ahead of its scheduled debut at the Tokyo Motor Show. Not surprisingly, the car doesn’t look much different from the concept, and bears a strong family resemblance to its sister cars Toyota GT 86 and Scion FR-S. But a few key details set this sports car apart from its Toyota- and Scion-badged counterparts.
Like the GT 86, the BRZ is powered by a naturally-aspirated 2.0-liter Boxer four-cylinder engine, though at 200 hp, it makes 3 more than its Toyota counterpart. Torque sits at 151 lb-ft, the same as the GT 86. A six-speed manual transmission with short-stroke shift lever is used, and is optimized for shift feel and response.
As Subaru has been quick to point out in the past, the BRZ has one of the lowest centers of gravity of any car currently on the market. This is accomplished by positioning the engine lower in the chassis and by making it more compact through the use of low-profile parts like a shorter intake manifold and shallower oil pan. Subaru says this “ultra-low center of gravity” gives the car good handling characteristics, one of the primary goals set during the BRZ’s development. Overall length of the car is 170 inches (4240 mm) with width set at 70 inches (1775 mm) and a height of just 52 inches (1300 mm) tall. Curb weight is a relatively lean 2700 lbs thanks in part to the use of weight-saving high tensile strength steel.
At first glance, the BRZ’s exterior doesn’t appear all that different from that of the Toyota GT 86, but a closer look reveals a few distinct differences. The six-star Subaru badge is front and center, flanked by a pair of angry-eye headlights – though not quite as angry as the GT 86’s, as they lack the slanted inner strip of LEDs. An inverted trapezoidal grille completes the look of the front end. The fenders are flared, with the rear fenders bulging slightly more than the front to hint at the car’s rear-drive layout. Unlike the BRZ STI Concept we saw earlier this month, which wore 18-inch wheels with a staggered set of 215/45R18-size tires in the front and 225/45R18s in the rear, the production version will wear 17-inch wheels with 215/45R17s all around. Subaru claims a few aerodynamic advancements influenced the shapes of the C-pillar, rear glass inclination, and trunk lid, so form and function both prevail in the rear.
Inside, the focus was on creating a fun-to-drive experience. A smaller steering wheel is used to give the BRZ that sports car feel, while a tachometer with digital speedometer is placed in the center of the gauge cluster to relay the most important info to the driver. The BRZ also features unique sport seats, which provide good bolstering and are low-slung to further accentuate the car’s low center of gravity.
Full details will be revealed this week, when the BRZ makes its official world debut at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show.