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LA show: Subaru lays bare BRZ STI

First look: Subaru has revealed the first official pictures of its BRZ concept ahead of its debut at the forthcoming LA motor show.

Range-topping STI concept version of Subaru’s rear-drive BRZ coupe breaks out

Subaru logo2 Nov 2011

By MARTON PETTENDY

SUBARU has taken the surprise step of revealing a cracking STI-badged concept version of its upcoming BRZ rear-wheel drive coupe, which remains unconfirmed for Australian release.

Due to make its global debut at the Los Angeles motor show on November 16, Subaru’s so-called BRZ Concept-STI previews both the regular BRZ coupe that will premiere at the Tokyo show on November 30 and the top-shelf Subaru Tecnica International version that will follow.

Previously, the BRZ – which was developed alongside Toyota’s FT-86 coupe in a joint-venture that will see both cars share all their mechanical components – was seen only as a transparent-bodied concept that revealed its boxer engine and rear-drive mechanicals.

The wild STI show car therefore provides our first proper look at Subaru’s mould-breaking BRZ coupe.

It emerges as an aggressively proportioned two-door with a huge air intake, teardrop headlights, LED running lights and a lower spoiler at the front, ahead of a super-muscular rear end punctuated by a massive wing and quad exhaust outlets.

Both all-new models will make their official public debuts at the Tokyo show and, while Toyota has confirmed the FT-86 will go on sale here priced from under $35,000 by mid-2012, Subaru Australia will decide the BRZ’s local fate by the end of this year.

2 center imageLeft: Leaked Toyota FT-86 exterior and interior images. Below: Scion FR-S.

First images and technical details of the four-seater FT-86 were leaked out of Japan this week, providing a clear indication of the specification of both models.

According to official training documents, the new direct-injection 2.0-litre horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine will produce 147kW at a heady 7000rpm, along with just 205Nm of torque from a revvy 6600rpm, running on premium unleaded petrol.

However, the relatively low peak power and torque outputs will be offset by a lower than expected kerb weight of just 1210kg in six-speed manual guise, rising to 1230kg for the six-speed automatic version with paddle shifters.

Two FT-86 equipment grades will be offered, with the entry-level version riding on smallish 16-inch alloy wheels with 205/55 R16 tyres and the premium model wearing 17s with 215/45 R17 tyres.

Both models will come standard with electronic stability control, twin front and curtain airbags, a limited-slip differential for manual models and folding rear seatbacks.

In addition, a high-spec FT-86 – expected to cost closer to $50,000 here – will offer automatic Xenon headlights, LED driving lights, front foglights, rear parking sensors, a leather-clad steering wheel, aluminium-faced pedals, keyless entry/starting, premium fabric seat trim, six speakers, a digital speedo/tacho and climate-control air-conditioning.

High-spec options will include Alcantara seat trim, heated seats, metallic interior door handles, carbon-fibre centre console trim, door courtesy lights and a console knee pad.

According to the data published on a Japanese fan forum, the production FT will measure 4240mm long, 1775mm wide and 1285mm high, making it larger than Mazda’s MX-5 but smaller than the same brand’s RX-8 rotary sportscar.

Suspension is by double wishbone at the rear and a spring-strut set-up in the front, the wheelbase is 2570mm and the turning circle is 10.8 metres.

An aftermarket ‘Modellista’ catalogue leaked earlier this week also shows the production FT – the styling of which has been toned down only subtly from previous Toyota and Scion-badged concept versions – will be available with a host of cosmetic options.

It also appears Toyota will offer a stripped-out ‘Customize Grade’ model– at least in Japan, where it will appeal to drift racers – weighing only 1190kg and featuring unpainted bumpers, 16-inch steel wheels, a plastic steering wheel and power door locks, but no speakers or air-conditioning.

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