Subaru-Toyota to Launch New Sub-$30,000 Sports Car

Subaru has chosen the 42nd Tokyo Motor Show as the venue to unveil the final production model of its much anticipated BRZ sports car. A concept version was on display at the Los Angeles Auto Show which ran from November 18-27 and the production model will have its American Debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next January.

The sporty model is the product of a joint engineering venture between Subaru and Toyota and will reportedly have a starting price of around $25,000. At that price point, the BRZ will be positioned to compete well against other sub-$30,000 sports cars including the Volkswagen GTI, Mazda MX-5 and Hyundai Genesis Coupe, as well as the Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Mustang and even its Subaru stable-mate, the WRX.

The BRZ will reportedly be marketed by a variety of names. Among the possible names being bandied about are the Toyota 86, Toyota GT 86, Subaru BRZ and even Scion FR-S.

The vehicle will feature an all-new 200 hp, 2.0-liter, normally aspirated four-cylinder boxer engine. Subaru’s BRZ line manager Todd Hill says, “It’s a special engine made for high performance.” The new boxer engine packs a 7,450-rpm redline, roller rocker valvetrain, a respectable 12.5:1 compression ratio and 150 lb-ft of torque at 3,000 rpm.

Buyers will have the choice of an Aisin six-speed automatic transmission with selectable sport and normal modes, or a short-throw six-speed manual transmission.

At only 200 hp, the BRZ would appear to be at a disadvantage when competing against more powerful sports models like the Chevrolet Camaro. But the BRZ’s lower curb weight (a mere 2,690 lbs.) and 13.65 lbs / hp power-to-weight ratio should help level the playing field.

The BRZ’s flat-four boxer engine sits a full nine inches farther back than the boxer engine employed in the Subaru Impreza. By lowering the engine and moving it farther aft, Subaru has been able to lower the BRZ’s center of gravity to just over 18 inches. The vehicles roofline, hood and seating area have also been lowered, giving the BRZ much better road grip.

The Subaru version of the BRZ will also feature an all-new suspension system.  Hill said, “We spent an enormous amount of time tuning the suspension,” and added, “You’ll feel it when you drive the car.”

The BRZ is scheduled to begin appearing in dealer showrooms next May.

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