- Competes with: Hyundai Genesis Coupe, Nissan 370Z
- Looks like: A Bizarro World Subaru
- Drivetrain: 200-hp, horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine; six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission; rear-wheel drive
- Hits dealerships: Mid-2012
Less than two weeks separate the unveiling of the Subaru BRZ-STI concept at the 2011 L.A. Auto Show and the release of the production-ready 2013 Subaru BRZ, which debuted today at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show. Almost makes you wonder what the point of the concept was at all.
For those reading about the BRZ for the first time, this is Subaru’s new lightweight, rear-wheel-drive sports coupe, the result of a partnership between Subaru and Toyota. Toyota will market its counterpart as the Scion FR-S in the U.S.Changes between the Subaru concept and the production model are predictable. The 2013 BRZ has conventional-looking side mirrors, and it actually sports a pair of (always useful) door handles. Low-profile amber turn signals have been added to the front fenders. The front intake, fog lights, rear diffuser and taillights have different designs, too.
We also get our first glimpse of the interior. Overall, the design is reminiscent of Mazda’s recent works, and obviously the steering wheel is on the "wrong" side. For a Subaru, we dare say the interior looks a bit busy, coming from an automaker known for its sparse design inside its cars.
That raises an important point about the BRZ: It’s unlike any Subaru that Americans are used to seeing. In the U.S., the automaker is known for its functional all-wheel-drive wagons, hatchbacks and, less so, sedans. A rear-wheel-drive sports coupe seems pretty antithetical at first glance, but there are still plenty of Subaru trademarks here.
The new 200-horsepower four-cylinder boxer engine produces 151 pounds-feet of torque. Toyota’s additions to the boxer design include direct injection and port injection technology. Boxer engines give Subarus an inherently low center of gravity, and the BRZ will have the lowest center of gravity of any Subaru. The engine sits 4.7 inches lower in the chassis compared with the Impreza.
The 2013 Subaru BRZ will begin production in the spring. Information on trims, available features or pricing hasn’t been made available yet.