Mechanical excitement

Subaru succeeds in ambition to make 'fun' car

PUBLISHED : Friday, 17 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 20 August, 2012, 10:19am

The new Subaru BRZ is sleek, fast, and a new rival for the Audi TT, BMW 1-Coupe and maybe the Porsche Cayman.

Launched at last November's Los Angeles and Tokyo motor shows, the two-door 2+2 sports car was unveiled in Hong Kong at Festival Walk last month.

Available in six-speed manual (HK$418,800) and automatic versions (HK$408,800), the BRZ handles well "with a beautifully poised chassis", according to Britain's EVO magazine.

The model is also Vehicle Dynamics International magazine's car of the year, courtesy of a judging panel of vehicle dynamicists, automotive engineers and technical journalists.

Its name BRZ stands for the car's Boxer engine, Rear-wheel drive, and Zenith, the Japanese marque's ambitions to create sports cars with its unique boxer-engine technology. The BRZ is actually a collaboration between Subaru and Toyota, with the Toyota version named the GT 86.

Both cars are similar, with different badges, grilles, wheels and reportedly stiffer suspension in the BRZ. Subaru wanted to build a fun car, so it positioned its renowned horizontally-opposed Boxer engine lower than ever, "lower even than that of the Ferrari 458", the marque says, in a lightweight, sporty chassis with an aluminium bonnet, bulging front wheel arches, distinctive headlights, air vents and a smart hexagonal lower grille. The model's interior features a compact steering wheel, a tachometer with a digital speedometer at its centre, and sports seats.

"Other creature comforts of the BRZ include keyless access with push-button start, paddle shifters and dual-zone automatic air-conditioning," says Hong Kong dealer Motor Image.

As with most Subarus, the BRZ's excitement is in its mechanics, from the marque's latest two-litre Boxer engine, to the transmission's downshift "throttle blipping" system.

Toyota supplied its D-4S direct injection and port injection technology for the 200-horsepower, 1,220kg car that has been tested independently online to reach 100km/h in about 7.6 seconds and achieve a top speed of 235km/h on

17-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels.

The BRZ also has advanced vehicle-stability-control electronics that "monitor braking, steering and cornering to help drivers from losing control as they push the BRZ to its limits", Motor Image says.