Subaru’s take on the Toy­ota 86 shows per­fec­tion is af­ford­able

Herald Sun - Motoring - - First Drive - PAUL POT­TINGER paul.pot­tinger@cars­guide.com.au

Cars­guide gives Subaru’s take on Toy­ota’s 86 a rat­ing to match its five ANCAP stars. Pity you can’t get one

When subaru’s BRZ went on sale last Mon­day by novel on­line-only means, it was tempt­ing to say that the car of 2012 now had its right­ful badge.

The auto par­lour game of the year is ar­gu­ing what bits be­long to which maker. In ei­ther guise— Toy­ota 86 or Subaru BRZ— the sum is the same: two-thirds Subaru tech­ni­cal know-how plus Toy­ota de­sign (and an engine tweak) equals the best af­ford­able sportscar in decades and the best un­der $100,000.

So while Subaru sup­plied the heart and limbs, Toy­ota’s pro­vided the soul, the will and the fi­nan­cial way. Let’s call it a draw and crack on in the far smaller brand’s ver­sion.


Jaws are be­ing lifted off floors at Toy­ota’s pric­ing—$29,990 for the base model; $35,490 for the top spec GTS, and $2500 on both for the au­to­matic.

Subaru, net­tled by Toy­ota steal­ing the march on sales and sup­ply (250 cars a month to Subaru’s 201 for the rest of this year), has sharp­ened its pric­ing pen­cils to the point of prick­ing blood. Apart from the ini­tia­tive of sell­ing these 201 on­line, the price point thereby ar­rived at sits the Soob neatly be­tween the en­try and top-spec 86.

The BRZ is $37,150 for the man­ual, $39,730 for the auto.

But these are drive-away prices, plus a free three years or 60,000km free ser­vic­ing deal to trump Toy­ota’s capped plan. This for a car that any­one with any mi­crobe of petrol in their veins would cheer­fully pay dou­ble for and think they were pos­sessed of a bar­gain.

The only op­tion is a $1500 leather/Al­can­tara up­hol­stery deal with heated front seats. Clearly a long stride over the base 86, it lacks the GTS’s sat nav. But what mat­ters this when the only di­rec­tion in which you’ll head is an open road with many, many curves?


The heart is pure Soob— a 2.0-litre boxer four, en­hanced by Toy­ota dual in­jec­tion. Mod­est out­puts make for un­re­mark­able 0-100km/h sprints (a fair 7.6 sec­onds in the man­ual, 8.2 in the auto) but this is about speed off the mark in the same way as a Porsche 911 is about fam­ily trans­port.

It revs rasp­ingly, but oh-so­cleanly, to 7400rpm. Max­i­mum torque ar­rives barely be­fore­hand but there’s al­most al­ways enough to pre­vent row­ing— though this is no chore with that lovely short­throw, close-ra­tio Lexus ISderived gear shifter.

So far, so sim­i­lar to the 86. Any real dif­fer­ence be­tween the GTS and BRZ (both shod with low-pro­file 17-inch­ers) is in Soob’s sus­pen­sion set­tings.

The cars have the same setup, struts at the front and dou­ble wish­bones at the back with Torsen lim­ited slip dif­fer­en­tial. The BRZ’s stiffer springs give what’s claimed to be a quicker rear grip re­sponse and, more tan­gi­bly, even more ful­some steer­ing. The ban­tam kerb weight is an­chored by a cen­tre of grav­ity that’s drawn com­par­isons with Fer­rari’s 458.

And yes, it is the only twowheel-drive Soob.


Well, it looks like a Toy­ota 86 GTS with a slightly changed air in­take, a dif­fer­ent badge and . . .

Aw­in­ning com­bi­na­tion: The BRZ is a fresh ver­sion of a win­ning for­mula: light­weight, man­ual trans­mis­sion and rear-drive

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