A BRZ for Christmas

KYLE CASSIDY - NZ AUTOCAR MAGAZINE
Last updated 09:20 16/03/2012

Subaru NZ has announced a local launch date for the rear-drive BRZ coupe that will see a select few enjoying an early Christmas present this year. Subaru NZ will attempt to generate some buzz around its version of the Toyota/Subaru joint project by initially launching with a special run of 12 cars on the 12th day of the 12th month of this year, 2012.

BZR 4

The first 12 owners will get a "special experience" with their purchase including a day on the track with driver instruction from Emma Gilmour while each car will wear a personalised number plate.

The new rear-drive BRZ Coupe poses a challenge for Subaru NZ's marketing team due to the fact that for the last 15 years all Subarus in New Zealand have been sold on the benefits of "symmetrical all-wheel drive".

But as Subaru NZ MD Wal Dumper said at a small gathering at Subaru HQ, "If we were going to make an exception to the rule, it needed to be a great car, not some shopping basket." And so after driving it, Dumper decided Subaru would indeed offer the car here in New Zealand.

It can be had with both a six-speed manual or auto, and Dumper expects that most of the first 12 buyers will be enthusiasts who will opt for the manual. 

So how do you get yourself in the line, you ask?

You can "register your interest" on Subaru New Zealand's website later in the month, which will allow potential buyers to start negotiations with their local dealership.  

And the price? Dumper says there will be indicative pricing listed on the website, though the actual RRP has not yet been negotiated with the factory. Something starting with a "five" would be most likely, which would see it sit above the WRX but below the STI. It's possible people will be willing to pay extra to get their hands on one of the first cars. 

The new BRZ, a co-development with Toyota, which has a 16.7 per cent stake in Subaru (though Subaru performed most of the engineering work), features a 2.0 litre, flat-four engine specially developed for the rear-drive coupe which produces 147kW and 205Nm of torque. The car is pretty compact, with an overall length of 4240mm, while its height and width measure 1300mm and 1775mm respectively. It's claimed to weigh in at 1220kg.

Though we didn't get to drive the new car, a pre-production car was available to inspect at least, on loan from Japan before making its way to Australia. It's a spunky little machine, and though it has a 2+2 seating arrangement, the rear seats are best for (small) kids. There's a reasonable boot too, but the most important aspect is the cockpit, which has everything "just to hand" including the handbrake, situated close to the driver to initiate the odd handbrake-induced slide on track, no doubt.

Can't wait to drive it. Stay tuned for a full appraisal. 

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14 comments
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Jim   #1   02:45 pm Mar 16 2012

Great to see Subaru going in a new direction, this new car looks great. Bit dissapointed with the engine specs tho... certainly doesn't match the looks.

Sam   #2   04:12 pm Mar 16 2012

^^^ Its only 1220kg. With 147kw and 205NM I expect it to be a snappy lil thing that is bucketloads of fun!

Matty   #3   02:15 am Mar 19 2012

Too heavy, not enough poke. Here's hoping the chassis dynamics are good.

Leon   #4   08:18 am Mar 19 2012

I think that this car has potential. After all, the MX5 is a car that's as slow as a wet Wednesday, but has fun value that you'd just never expect from looking at the numbers.

Mostly though, it appears that the Toyota/Subaru/Scion multicar has been put together with a huge input from the enthusiast designers, rather than simply the bean counters.

Will this car be fast? Definitely not. Will it be fun? Almost certainly.

Will I be able to afford one ... um, no. Probably not until it's 20 years old.

Myke   #5   12:57 pm Mar 20 2012

Interesting looking and should drive well, but like the rest I'm thinking it'll be underpowered UNLESS....There 'just happens' be room in the engine bay for some turbos and a big fat intercooler to be added later. Why oh why did they not just use the perfectly good power pack from a Legacy? Right now it reads like a boy racer's (or mid-life crisis) MX5. Trouble is, it's neither cute nor convertable like the MX5 and the styling is writing cheques the power probably wont be able to cash.

Alfonso Delgardeo   #6   03:22 pm Mar 20 2012

Have you doubters read a proper review from someone who has driven this pair of cars (last months Top Gear mag for a start). It reads that this is a properly sporty little car. Not too much power for the chassis, light (enough) good handling, rwd etc etc. No it's not going to out-run an STi or Evo from the lights, but that's not what it's about. Also, don't forget that the first WRX's only had ~147kW and at the time people couldn't believe how quick they were.

Geoff   #7   04:00 pm Mar 20 2012

I'd be keen but most likely turn it into a race car. Not sure how well it'd do on gravel though. Might stick to the more traditional Subaru drivetrain then.

Have to wonder if they, like the rest of the Subaru range, can play musical engines/drivetrains if it was desired. Probably spoil what the factory created though.

Meghan   #8   06:04 pm Mar 20 2012

I'd best start saving. Want one in about 5 years!

Ivor Sti   #9   09:58 am Mar 21 2012

Looking forward to the launch of the BRZ/ GT 86 twins - maybe the car companies are finally realising that driving should be fun. Perhaps this also signals a return to form for Toyota who haven't had anything remotely fun in their line up for years. The first cars do sound a little underwhelming, but I'll reserve judgement until I've had a drive. Personally I find NA Subaru engines a little lame, but it will only be a matter of time until we see a kosher BRZ STI - they'd be crazy not to have one in the works. No mention on pricing yet - something starting with a '4' would be good!

don   #10   04:47 pm Mar 21 2012

I like it - looks more like my old 240Z than the latest Nissan does!


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