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LA show: Subaru sheds more light on BRZ

Blue streak: Subaru's BRZ STI concept on display at the 2011 LA Auto Show.

Subaru BRZ coupe concept points to superficial differences with Toyota 86 twin

Subaru logo17 Nov 2011

SUBARU’S much anticipated BRZ rear-drive sports coupe appears set to share sheetmetal with its Toyota twin, the 86, as well as the jointly developed boxer engine and other mechanicals.

The BRZ Concept-STI revealed at the Los Angeles motor show overnight has the same fundamental muscular panels as the Toyota version, when compared against leaked brochure images of the Toyota coupe in Japan.

Exterior differences appear to be restricted to the bolt-on plastic bits, such as the front and rear fascias and side skirts, along with wheels and light treatments.

All will become clear at the upcoming Tokyo motor show in late November, when both companies will reveal the final production versions of their joint coupe ahead of a 2012 rollout.

While Toyota has confirmed the 86 for Australia, Subaru Australia said it will not make the call until mid-December. If the BRZ gets the green light, it will lob in local showrooms in mid-2012.

The BRZ Concept-STI is the first in-the-metal showing of the Subaru version of the joint-venture coupe, with only a transparent-bodied concept revealing the mechanicals having been shown previously, at the Geneva and Frankfurt motor shows.

2 center imageLeft: Teaser image of production BRZ. Below: BRZ STI as seen at the LA show.

The concept is close to the standard production version, judging by a recently released front-end teaser photo of the standard BRZ that shows the same fundamental front-end design, with only minor differences.

STI enhancements evident on the LA show car include a larger, race-style front splitter in naked carbon-fibre and a matching carbon front bumper insert, which the teaser photo indicates will be regular body-colour plastic on the standard version.

The standard BRZ’s round driving lights in the brake duct air openings have also gone missing on the trimmed-down STI concept, replaced with “fin shaped” LCD fog lamps, while the showroom car’s thin metallic strips in the main grille opening have been replaced with a menacing plain black grille.

The concept’s carbon-fibre roof, wild rear wing and 18-inch wheels also appear to be straight out of the STI (Subaru Tecnica International) parts bin for Japan’s Super GT race series in which the BRZ is a hot chance to compete in 2012, in the GT300 class for cars up to 300hp (224kW).

The STI version’s “hawk eye” projector-style headlights – complete with LED “eye-brow” daylight-running lights – are common with the production version, along with all the body lines and hexagonal grille opening visible in the teaser shot.

Subaru has again held back key statistics on power, performance and fuel economy, regurgitating previously released general information about the overall dimensions and basic design of the 2.0-litre boxer engine with its Toyota-sourced D-4S direct injection technology.

As GoAuto has reported, leaked Toyota training documents indicate the zingy naturally aspirated direct-injection 2.0-litre horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine will produce 147kW at 7000rpm, along with just 205Nm of torque from 6600rpm, running on premium unleaded petrol.

Similar figures are expected to apply to the Subaru BRZ, with both companies opting for a single engine tune, at least at launch.

The kerb weight of the Toyota 86 is 1210kg in six-speed manual guise, rising to 1230kg for the six-speed automatic version with paddle shifters.

It is unclear if Subaru’s STI hot shop will get to produce its wilder version of the coupe, or – if it does – whether a turbocharged version will emerge.

While the Toyota documents indicate the 86 will wear 16-inch or 17-inch wheels, depending on the variant, the Subaru BRZ STI concept gets 18-inch alloys shod with 215/45 R18 tyres on the front and 225/45 R18 rubber on the rear.

Stopping power comes via a Brembo brake package, while handling is said to have been enhanced with a special STI suspension tune.

Subaru has dipped into its world rally championship past by choosing a bright blue for the concept coupe, this time WR Blue Pearl II – a new generation of Subaru’s WR blue paint scheme.

The Subaru BRZ and Toyota 86 will both be built by Subaru in Japan.

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