All-new RWD sports car bolsters the Subaru brand.
Tucked in with all the releases at the Los Angeles Auto Show this past November and also on display at the auto show in Detroit this month is the 2013 Subaru BRZ, a rear-wheel-drive sports car that goes on sale this spring. This new from the ground up model uses a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter Boxer engine and pairs it with a 6-speed manual transmission with a short-throw shifter. Optionally, this car can be outfitted with a 6-speed automatic with steering wheel paddle shifters and downshift blipping control.
Race Track Ready
The Subaru BRZ features 2+2 seating. Likely, you won’t be concerned about the room in the rear area, something Subaru recognizes as noted in its media release that the rear seat folds down and that the storage area is large enough to hold four racing tires, rubber that you’ll want to have on hand as you make your regular excursions to the race track. Booyah!
The BRZ has been long-awaited by Subaru enthusiasts and what they have coming their way should further their excitement. Subaru makes good use of high-tensile steel for the body and an aluminum hood, to develop a RWD coupe that weighs in at just 2,762 pounds, the lightest model in its segment. That’s about 160 pounds less than the Porsche Cayman and approximately 300 pounds less than the Lotus Evora. Notably, the BRZ comes in at more than 500 pounds lighter than a Hyundai Genesis coupe, likely its chief competitor.
A low center of gravity and an engine that is place lower and farther back than any other Subaru model are some of the chief engineering and design features of this pocket rocket. Built on a 101.2-inch wheelbase, the Subaru BRZ is just 166.7 inches long, 69.9 inches wide and 50.6 inches tall.
All-New Boxer Engine
The Boxer engine is all-new too and was engineered specifically for this model. It is more compact than the one found in the Impreza, utilizing a shorter intake manifold and a shallower oil pan. It is mounted about 2.4 inches lower than the Impreza’s engine and sit 5 inches lower overall. Subaru moved around nearby components including the radiator to optimize the car’s balance, tilting it by 17 degrees. The battery has been located to the back of the engine compartment.
Subaru’s relationship with Toyota is reflected in this car’s fuel injection system as its uses a Toyota D-4S system, which is designed to combine direct injection and port injection technology. Its direct-type fuel-injection system sprays fuel directly into the combustion chambers rather than upstream into the ports, a method Subaru says provides a cooling effect in the cylinders. The result is that this engine employs a 12.5 to 1 compression ratio, enabling it to extract maximum energy from its fuel. When driven in light- and medium-load conditions, the system’s port fuel injectors help to produce pinpoint combustion, for increased performance and fuel efficiency.
Proprietary Suspension System
The BRZ’s front suspension makes use of struts and coil springs to keep weight down. Its front struts are mounted low and have been optimized for a low hood line while retaining a long stroke, which improves handling and enhances ride quality.
In the rear, an all-new proprietary double-wishbone rear suspension system features bump absorption characteristics, designed to enrich tire grip over different road surfaces. The BRZ offers lightweight electric power steering that has been tuned to provide optimum feedback. The BRZ’s nimble 13 to 1 steering ratio and 14.4-inch diameter steering wheel impart what Subaru says is “an extremely quick steering response.”
Sporty & Elegant Cabin
Inside, the Subaru offers a simplified layout, with touches of elegance and sportiness throughout. The focus in on the driver, with easy to access controls at the ready. Its bolstered front seats are tailor-made for the BRZ and the instrument panel serves up an easily readable display offering a center-mounted tachometer with an analog speedometer on its left. Integrated with the tachometer is a digital speedometer, with temperature and fuel gauges displayed on its right.
Key Essentials — The 2013 Subaru BRZ will be more than just a halo car for this brand. This vehicle will likely have an impact on how competitors design their vehicles including the next generation Ford Mustang. Look for the BRZ to quickly attract a cult following.
Photos: Subaru of America, Inc.