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.
First off, the BRZ is a damn sexy car straight out of the box, but for a turbocharged model, Subaru will have to sweeten up that pot a little. We assume that the turbocharged BRZ will have to boast Subaru’s famous STI designation, much like the WRX STI.
With this STI package would come a set of 18-inch alloy wheels, a complete body kit, and a wing to keep the rear end in check at high speeds. We wouldn’t be surprised to see Subaru sneak in a little movement in the wing to increase or decrease downforce, as needed. Smoked headlights and taillights would also be a nice touch, giving the BRZ Turbo a more mysterious look, but Subaru is not big on customizing the lighting.
As we inch closer to the BRZ Turbo – if it bears the STI badge – we will continue to update the exterior with actual data from Subaru.
We would anticipate the BRZ Turbo coming with full leather interior, but not just plain old leather. Subaru will certainly add some contrasting stitching to the seats, as well as STI embroidery to remind you what’s under the hood, if it boasts the STI badge.
The BRZ Turbo will come standard with all of the gadgets and gizmos that the regular BRZ currently has, including: voice-activated GPS, 8-speaker HD Radio stereo system, Bluetooth, iPod control, keyless entry, etc. In addition to these standard features, you can anticipate the obligatory boost gauge, yaw control, and maybe even a turbo timer.
Just like with the exterior, we have not received any confirmation from Subaru, so we will add more information as it becomes available.
Engine and Drivetrain
Under the hood is about the only place that we have a little bit of information from Subaru to pass on. Granted, the information is from the upcoming Impreza , but we at least have a base to go off of. The FA-20 turbo that is going into the upcoming Legacy punches out 296 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. Its biggest limitation is that it bolts up to a soft and weak CVT. We have a strong feeling that Subaru had to detune the FA-20 after installing the turbo to help preserve the CVT’s lifespan.
If a BRZ Turbo hits showroom floors in 2015, it will not bear a crappy CVT – at least it had better not – and therefore, Subaru can push the FA-20 to its limits. We anticipate a horsepower number north of 325 and a torque rating in the 350s, which would make this 2+2 hatchback a screamer. The transmission we expect to see connected to the FA-20 turbo would be the same 6-speed manual that connects to it on the current BRZ, and maybe an optional dual-clutch automatic.
If Subaru is going to boost the BRZ, chances are that it will include all-wheel drive. It would be a bit of a waste to have a hopped up Subaru pushing power only to the rear wheels. This would also include the ability to adjust the torque ratio from front to back, in order to compensate for varying driving and track conditions. Wanna drift? Set the torque to full-rear and rip that ass end loose in the twisties. Want to stomp some V-8-powered car into the ground? Set the torque to a 50-50 distribution and watch the V-8 vaporize its tires as your BRZ squats and scoots its way to the finish.
With the 200-horsepower, rear-driven 2012 BRZ hitting 60 mph in as little as 6.4 seconds and covering a quarter-mile in just 14.9 seconds at a top speed of 95.5 mph, it is already a fairly peppy little car. Pump in an extra 125 ponies and AWD, and you have a car that we estimate hitting 60 mph in about 4.6 seconds and covering the quarter in roughly 13 seconds at 110 mph.
This is still all preliminary speculation on our end, but in our own little magical world, the BRZ turbo is one for the ages. Hopefully Subaru can deliver on our expectations.
Suspension and Braking
The BRZ is already an impeccable handling vehicle, so we don’t expect to see too much modification here. The most likely changes to the suspension will be the addition of thicker sway bars on the front and rear, and possibly adding in strut tower braces.
The brakes on the turbo model will likely boast a set of slightly larger diameter rotors, and 4-pot calipers for a little extra squeeze.
The most notable difference in the BRZ Turbo’s handling system will be larger section width tires. The current BRZ boasts 215 mm (8.46-inch) section width tires, and with the taller and wider rims, we would figure on seeing 225 mm (8.85-inch) tires. This gives the Subaru more rubber to bite the road with, thereby increasing its handling and braking performance.
We’ll update you more on the suspension once Subaru gives us an idea of what it’s thinking with this model.
While guessing a price for a high-performance model like this is tough, we can use some educated assumption in pinpointing a price range. We’ll use the WRX as a basic template. The base model WRX has a $25,595 MSRP, and the WRX STI has a $34,095 base price. The difference between the two levels is $8,500, which is a 33 percent markup on the base model.
Using that markup, we can reasonably say that based on the base MSRP of the BRZ, which is $25,495, we can estimate a price of roughly $34,000. Again, this is purely just using known variables to estimate the complete unknown, so don’t start setting up financing just yet.
We are heading into the true unknown with the BRZ Turbo’s competition. We do know that Ford is redesigning the Mustang, which we figure will be a 2015 model . There are also rumors of this model boasting a 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine that supposedly pumps out 330 horsepower, which rumors are pointing to being installed in a resurrected Mustang SVO . This is the only true competitor that we can point to now, but the information is just so scarce on the mustang redesign that we can’t make a comparison just yet.
We can say that the two will be very close to one another in performance, especially if Ford fits the Mustang with AWD.
For now, this is purely speculative information based on what we think Subaru would do to the BRZ if a turbo model hits showrooms. We will continue to update this review as information becomes available, if Subaru ever pulls the trigger on this model, and give you a full conclusion on the model. In our own little automotive wonderland, the BRZ Turbo is a work of art.
Love the idea of 300+ ponies in this lightweight car
STI badges would look just right
Acceleration would be out of this world fast
Subaru’s taking its sweet old time announcing it
May become detuned to avoid competing with the WRX STI