Subaru’s new "technology concept" called the BRZ Prologue - Boxer Sports Car Architecture II - could very well be the Japanese automaker’s answer to Toyota’s version of the FT-86 that, ironically, the two are co-developing. The BRZ stands for ’Boxer engine’, ’Rear-wheel drive’, and ’Zenith’, but other than that we don’t know exactly what to expect from the BRZ other than thinking it will be an RWD sports coupe and that it "embodies ultimate passion for the new sports car and confidence in its distinctive trademark and core technology."
Filmed by Speedracer38 (respected photographer Jason Thorgalsen), the video claims to have been filmed along Germany’s unrestricted Autobahn, with the YouTuber stating, “After a grueling 1,000 mile break-in period I was looking forward to see what the car was capable of. I shipped the car to the autobahn to do some high speed runs in the car and attempt the top speed” and the following video is a result of that quest.
However, in saying that, we have trouble believing the American went to that much trouble considering there are dozens of empty runways in the U.S. which could have been used instead.
Either way, the result is clear. The BRZ, despite its ‘underpowered’ 200HP four-cylinder boxer engine, has quite an impressive top speed with the speedo clocking 147mph in 6th gear.
Check out the video, and while watching it, try and take note of all those electronic systems beeping in the first 25 seconds.
We counted at least 23 individual beeps in a matter of seconds!
The Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S have been tearing up in sales lately, becoming the No. 1 and No. 2 selling cars, respectively. This comes as quite a surprise, considering they both were met with some minor grumbling over the fact that neither had any plans for a turbocharged model any time soon.
That phrase “any time soon” really only applies to the BRZ, as Subaru and Toyota both have made it clear that customers looking to buy a Scion FR-S will not be likely to ante up the extra dough needed for forced induction, so they effectively eliminated the FR-S from the boost talks. The BRZ, on the other hand, is marketed to the higher-end customer that just might pony up some extra Benjamins for some spoolage. However, that term “any time soon” rears up again, and we are stuck wondering what Subaru’s idea of “soon” really is.
With the recent announcement from Subaru about the addition of a turbocharger onto the FA-20 engine – the engine that the FR-S and BRZ come with – and its use in the upcoming Legacy sedan and wagon, we are starting to think the any time soon period has officially ended. We anticipate seeing a BRZ with a turbocharger hitting showrooms in the 2015 model year, at the latest, but the paltry 296 horsepower that the current boosted FA-20 produces won’t hold a candle to the version that the BRZ will see.
Click past the jump to read our thoughts and ideas on what this 2015 Subaru BRZ will have to offer.
Inventory turns are the bane of a car dealership sales manager’s existence, as the general manager will ride the sales manager like a rented mule if a unit stays on the lot past 30 days. In reality, the average car sits on a dealership’s lot for a little over 50 days – that’s a lot of gripe sessions from the GM. According to a report from Edmunds, via our pals at Auto Blog, the sales managers at Subaru and Scion dealerships can breathe easy every time a shipment of new BRZ or FR-S models comes rolling in on the back of a transporter.
Why would these managers be so happy to see a truckload full of these new sports cars? Well, because the Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S are No. 1 and 2 on the fastest selling vehicle list, respectively. There is barely enough time for the driver to unload the cars and for the service team to perform a safety check and get it detailed before a deal is being worked and the car is being driven off of the lot. Yup, the BRZ lasts a whopping four days in the dealership before turning into a sale and the FR-S lasts only five days.
This is all well and good, but another issue is starting to rear its head, and that is the fact that there just are not enough BRZ and FR-S models to go around. Toyota will only make about 10,000 FR-S models and Subaru is planning only 6,000 units, which at the current pace will be completely sold out well before the end of the model year.
We are willing to bet that neither Subaru nor Toyota will leave any money on the table, so we anticipate seeing production numbers ramped up in the coming months, if sales keep going the way they are. If Mazda is willing to increase the number of special edition RX-8s it is producing to keep up with demand, Subaru and Toyota likely will too.
Oh boy… It seems like the FR-S and BRZ just hit dealerships – oh wait they did – and already they are showing up on the recall list. So, does this spell disaster for the Sciobaru twins, or is this just a rocky start to something special, a la the Ford Escort? Well, actually the recall has absolutely nothing to deal with the overall build of the vehicle, but rather a strange safety requirement by the NHTSA.
This recall is still hot off of the press, as it just hit the NHTSA’s site on June 8 at 2:49 a.m. – ah, someone couldn’t sleep – but there is still enough info to pass along. It looks like there was just a small bit of information left out of the owner’s manual regarding how the airbag system works. You know, one of the many sections of the owner’s manual that the average owner just bypasses.
From the reports we are reading, the missing information is almost unnoticeable. As described by Subaru officials, the missing information in question is that the manual not making a distinguished difference between a child and a small female when it is describing the way the BRZ and FR-S weigh its passengers for airbag deployment.
Per the NHTSA, this recall only affects a small number of the first FR-S and BRZ models to leave the production line. It is estimated that roughly 1,156 Scion FR-S models are in need of replacement owner’s manuals, but the number of BRZs needing replacement manuals is undisclosed yet, though some outlets are reporting 1,600 BRZs.
Fortunately, this recall is just something small and not a safety issue, which could be catastrophic for a new car in the market.
Our friends over at Autocar are reporting a nice tidbit of tech news on the new Toyota GT 86. According to GT 86 project engineer, Tetsuya Tada, Toyota is working on a black-box system for the GT 86 that will monitor all of the car’s main functions (i.e. braking, accelerating, stability, acceleration, speed, etc.).
In short, the black-box system is nothing new, but what Toyota plans to do with it is. Engineers are working on installing software on the black box that is compatible with the PlayStation 3. At the same time, Toyota is hard at work mapping out all of the major tracks and raceways around the world and uploading them into the black box. All the driver has to do is take the GT 86 to a mapped track on the black box and drive the hell out of his car.
Once the driver has finished his track day, just hook up the black box to a PlayStation 3 and upload the data. After all of the data is uploaded, the driver can compare his data from the track with other GT 86 drivers that have run on the same track, making for some friendly racing, without the risks of swapping paint. This system will also provide pointers for performing better at the track and maximizing the GT 86’s potential.
Seems like a pretty cool idea on paper, but the issue becomes the fact that some street racers may find a way to upload public streets, then you have GT 86 drivers driving like maniacs on busy roads trying to beat their buddy’s time around the block. We hope that the engineers find a way to block this possibility prior to releasing it, if it ever becomes a reality.
For those that snag up GT 86s before this system debuts can easily retro-fit it onto older GT 86 models.
In Road & Track’s latest road test, they took the aforementioned Subaru BRZ out onto public roads to see how it would perform when pitted against its main rival, the Mazda MX-5 Miata as well as the Hyundai Genesis 2.0 Coupe.
We won’t ruin the result for you, but keep in mind the following performance specifications when watching the video.
The BRZ features a 2.0-liter four-cylinder boxer style engine which was developed in conjunction with Toyota to produce 200HP and 151lb-ft of torque, while the base Mazda MX-5 Miata produces significantly less at just 167HP but does turn out an impressive 158 lb-ft of torque. On the other hand, the Hyundai Genesis actually produces the most of the bunch with 217HP and 217lb-ft of torque; however, it does weigh significantly more than the other two due to its larger proportions.
A few weeks ago, we let you in on the conversation that Car and Driver had with executives from Subaru and Toyota about the possibility of a turbocharger on the BRZ, GT 86, and FR-S. It was a flat out “No” on the FR-S and an “Eh, maybe, but not now” on the BRZ and GT 86. Well, first off we think that’s a load of corporate horse manure, as Subaru and Toyota would be out of their engine control modules not to force at least 8 psi into that new jointly built 2.0-liter engine.
Apparently, Subaru is taking a nibble of the bait that us turbo junkies are tossing in the water, as it has just completed development on a turbocharged version of the FA20 engine used in the BRZ, GT 86, and FR-S family. This engine is not an identical twin to the FA20, so don’t go getting your hopes up yet, but it is its fraternal twin at least. The only real difference is that Subaru scrapped the Toyota fuel injection system in favor of its own direct-injection system.
So what kind of power are we talking about? We are hearing that it cranks out a whopping 296 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque! Now for the bad news… As of now, this engine is only slated to be dropped into the JDM-spec Legacy. To make things worse, Subaru is linking this awesome engine to a CVT. What a gigantic waste.
Don’t go getting all sad on us now, this is a good start that Subaru is willing to slap some boost on this puppy and get nearly 300 ponies and 300 twisting power. Now just imagine that in a BRZ…
So we will reiterate what we said before. Regardless of what smoke and mirrors Subaru and Toyota throw up there, we will see boost in at least the BRZ and GT 86, and we would be willing to bet a penny that we see the FR-S whistling down the road one day too.
The Japanese really love their sports cars, so much so in fact, that there are literally hundreds of videos on YouTube with Japanese journos testing the latest Japan has to offer, but unfortunately, the overwhelming majority are in Japanese and as a result, we have no idea what’s happening half the time. However, that’s not the case with the following video.
While it may be in Japanese, the aim of the video is clear as the testers put the pedal to the metal in the new Subaru BRZ, Toyota GT 86 around one of Japan’s various race circuits. The Mazda is being piloted by Takayuki Kinoshita, the BRZ handled by Naoki Hattori, while the Toyota was driven by Le Mans-class winner Keiichi Tsuchiya, all of whom have copious amounts of racing experience.
In order to make the 3-lap race as even as possible, the 167HP Mazda MX-5 is given a head start of around 3 grid places, while the 200HP BRZ and GT 86 set off behind. All three cars tested have manual transmissions so this is just a test about which car is faster, rather than which shifting-mechanism trumps the other.
We won’t spoil the result for you, but the video does display just how tail-happy the GT 86 is while the BRZ and MX-5 seem to have much more grip. Whether that’s down to different driving styles, or the Toyota’s lack of traction is not yet known, but all three cars certainly look the part!
Ever since the Toyota-Subaru joint venture that netted three different models – Subaru BRZ, Toyota GT 86, and Scion FR-S – there have been speculations, rumors, and whispers of potential forced induction for these triplets. Recently an unnamed “source” informed our colleagues over at Car and Driver that “for the time being” the BRZ and FR-S will remain naturally aspirated and pumping out 200 horsepower.
The report went on to say that a turbocharged BRZ is a possibility in the future, but there is no way the FR-S will ever receive forced induction. The source also mentioned that the GT 86 could potentially get some added PSI into the intake. The reason being, according to this “source,” is because the Scion is considered an entry-level sports car and a turbocharger would push its $24,930 base price to near $30,000. At that price, most Scion buyers may start dreaming of a BMW 1-series or something a little more upscale. The Subaru and Toyota, on the other hand, cater to higher-end customers.
Being the car buffs that we are and lovers of a little forced air, this is a depressing thing to hear. It also slightly confuses us a little, as we don’t quite see how adding a turbocharger can pump the base price up $6,000. Even if it did approach those higher cars, like the 1-Series, a boosted FR-S would certainly pump out more power than the base 1-Series and is definitely a more fun car to drive.
So here’s to hoping that the three automakers come together and find a way to make a turbocharged version of all three models. A boosted model would likely have a massive impact on Scion’s popularity too. Heck, it may even get that nasty taste out of people’s mouths that the xB and xD models left behind.
Subaru has unveiled a very cool two-part documentary presenting the development process of their 2013 BRZ sports car. This video talks about the car’s low center of gravity, the new platform, suspension, the steering and driving position and stability control.
And, as a reminder, the 2013 Subaru BRZ is powered by a 2.0-liter horizontally-opposed boxer engine that delivers a total of 200 HP. Subaru has announced a 0 to 60 mph sprint time of 7.3 seconds. On the US market prices for the BRZ start from $25,495.
"This movie explains how Subaru BRZ had been developed and engineered by Subaru with the details of the ultimate low center of gravity, the new plat form, the high engine power unit, the suspension, the steering and driving position, and the vehicle stability control. All were engineered just to realize "Pure Handling Delight".