2013 Subaru BRZ
By Laura Burstein
On Sale: May 2012
Expected Pricing: About $25,000
A totally new sport coupe from Subaru goes on sale next spring. Unveiled at the November 2011 Tokyo Motor Show, the 2013 Subaru BRZ touts a low profile, sexy design and a very attainable price.
In addition to its appealing racer styling, the big story with the BRZ is its new boxer engine. The Toyota-sourced powerplant uses direct injection and produces 197 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque in its current European incarnation, although Subaru reps say the American version will get a few horses more. And while we wouldn't call this a supercar by any means, it does pack enough punch to rival other affordable sport compacts such as the Mazda MX-5 Miata, Hyundai Genesis Coupe, the forthcoming Scion FR-S and the newly unveiled, nearly identical Toyota GT-86.
Subaru boasts that the new 2.0-liter flat-4 is not only more symmetrical than other engine configurations, but also allows for very low placement within the engine compartment, which reduces body roll and improves handling. The engine in the BRZ also sits farther back than in any other Subaru, a full nine inches compared to the Impreza. The low-slung motor allows for lower dimensions everywhere, including the hood, roofline and seats. Transmission choices on the BRZ will be either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic, and it will all roll on summer tires only.
The 2-plus-2 Subaru BRZ is relatively trim at 2,700 pounds, nearly 500 pounds lighter than the Genesis Coupe but about 200 pounds heftier than the MX-5. Part of the weight saving is due to its short wheelbase and length, which takes its toll on cargo space; the BRZ offers a modest 6.9 cubic feet with the rear seats up.
Most body panels in the BRZ are shared with the Toyota GT 86, but the Subaru has its own unique design elements including the headlights and Subaru-esque grille. Inside, you'd be hard-pressed to find much that isn't shared with the Toyota and Scion. Subaru reps point out that the instrument panel was designed with a rollcage in mind, which makes the BRZ all the more attractive to would-be weekend racers.
Suspension and tuning on the BRZ is unlike anything else in the Subaru lineup. Though many elements were based loosely on the Impreza, the BRZ's suspension is collectively unique. Specifically, the rear suspension was modified to accept the BRZ's rear differential. And Subaru reps promise their setup will be entirely different from that of the Toyota GT 86.
Two trim levels, Premium and Limited, will be available. Standard features include cloth upholstery and the same GPS system found in the Impreza. Premium models will cost about the same as a base WRX and come with HID headlamps, limited-slip diff, navigation, Bluetooth and iPod connectivity. Leather and Alcantara trim will be among the options.
The 2013 Subaru BRZ is slated to hit showrooms in May 2012, with a starting price of about $25,000.