Saturday, 14 April 2012

Toyota GT-86 and Subaru BRZ Impressions

Japan hasn’t been putting out many sports cars lately- great cars like the Toyota Supra, Mazda RX-7 and Honda NSX have been out of production for years now. Even recent editions of Mitsubishi Evolutions and Subaru Imprezas have been a little tame. While Nissan have been holding the fort with the 370Z and GT-R, that’s pretty much it. It’s a damn shame if you ask me, but fortunately, Toyota and Subaru have been working together on a new sports coupe. The Subaru BRZ and Toyota GT86 are going on sale in the UK later this year.

The car has a two-litre flat-four powerplant provided by Subaru, driving the rear wheels through a six-speed manual or automatic gearbox. It’s a compact, lightweight, 2+2 coupe, with a super-rigid chassis and aerodynamic stability from all angles. It is designed for sporting purity and driving experience. And it looks nice. Look at it, shit!

This isn’t a continuation of the Japanese GT car tradition, as I had initially thought. It is instead a car from the MX-5 school of design- not so much a performance car, but a sports car in the purest sense. We’re talking about a car that’s about driving purity as distinct from track-day performance, and reports say that it achieves these goals marvellously. It’s unashamedly old school, and I do approve. Nonetheless, to me that styling writes cheques that a naturally aspirated two-litre engine can’t possibly cash- those lights and the overall profile of the car are real aggressive. I’m not alone in this; in Japan, where sales have already blitzkrieged estimates, customers are saying that they want more power. Word is that Subaru are listening- so it seems pretty likely that we’ll see a jacked up STI version, probably turbocharged and slimmed down, within a year or so. Hard to say whether or not the Toyota will get the same treatment- I don’t know what kind of deal the two companies have on the project (what do I look like, a fucking motoring journalist?).
If I had the £25,000 that the car is speculated to cost (and a driver’s license) I would definitely be looking into this machine. I really like the way it looks, and the purist philosophy is very appealing indeed. As for which to go for, I’m not quite sure. Only nuanced differences are present in the styling, but I think those nuances are nicer on the Toyota. Apparently the BRZ has sportier suspension, and it’s likely to be a little more exclusive, with noticeably lower sales estimates than the GT86. Fact is, though, that it looks like either would be a great car. Not one that my punk ass can afford, alas. Maybe once that book deal comes through, eh?

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