The return of the affordable front-engine, rear-wheel drive coupe.
Following the global reveal of the all-new Subaru BRZ over in the United States, Asia gets its first launch for the rear-driven coupe in Japan - arguably the homeplace of the modern cult car. It is of course launched alongside the Toyota GR 86 - its sister car - with a largely identical package in terms of broad specifications.
Insiders will of course know that the two cars are mildly different in the way engineers have set up their powertrains and suspension, as was the case with the first generation. It seems that the same philosophies have returned: Toyota has made their GR86 more nimble and lively with a looser back end to promote oversteer and sharper pedal response, while Subaru seems to have gone for the balanced approach for more overall grip and speed.
The biggest singular change with this generation of BRZ is the larger 2.4-litre naturally-aspirated flat-four engine that provides more power and far more torque, across a broader torque range. No, there's no turbocharger here - but the broad and flat torque curve makes the car far more drivable than its predecessor and more predictable in power delivery as you approach the limit. 231 PS and 249 Nm of torque from 3,700 rpm are at your disposal.
While the platform remains similar to the previous BRZ, there are major revisions to both the interior and exterior design as you can see from the photos. It definitely looks more premium, with more elegant layouts and a functional switchgear design. If the first generation was a breath of fresh air, this second generation adds a layer of elegance to the experience.
Thankfully, the BRZ is still available with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic gearbox - the former for purists, and the latter for those who merely like the shape and form of the BRZ. STI will provide a couple of optional extras including a big-old boot lid wing, trim pieces and LED lights for the vents, splitters and skirts for the front, sides, and rear, as well as BBS wheels, more aggressive mufflers, and strut bars.
No price is announced as of yet, although it is expected that the new BRZ will be marginally more expensive than the outgoing model. Either way, it's one of the cheapest front-engine, rear-wheel-drive coupes you can buy and it will most likely drive as beautifully as the original. We can't wait to see it launched here and on our roads.
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