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