“Subaru BRZ Prologue“
The Subaru rear-wheel-drive sports car (yes, a Subaru that isn’t driven by four wheels) took a baby step closer to reality here, with a new architectural see-through rendering of the BRZ Prologue concept. The production version of the coupe is expected to be shown at the Tokyo auto show later this year. The Japanese automaker has not attempted to build a dedicated sports car since the quirky, all-wheel-drive SVX, which ceased production in 1997. In the interim, it has relied on models like the WRX, based on the Impreza, and muscled-up models like the Forester XT and Legacy 3.6R to fill the sporting gaps in its line-up.
Subaru engineers claim that the BRZ Prologue, powered by a Subaru-developed boxer engine, has the lowest possible centre of gravity of any production car. The car is the twin to the Scion FR-S concept that was shown earlier this year at the New York auto show and which was based on a Toyota concept, the FT-86, introduced at the 2009 Tokyo auto show.
Under the hood will be a 2.0- litre direct-injection horizontally opposed ('boxer,' or 'flat') four-cylinder engine, code-named 'FA' and unique to this model. And while Subaru still hasn't released an official output, it's expected to be significantly higher likely around 200 horsepower compared to the 2.0-litre that's new this year to the Impreza. That will be matched to a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic, driving the rear wheels. It is also clear that, now, Subaru has also revealed that the BRZ's body will be 165.3 inches long, 69.7 inches wide, and just 50 inches high, with a wheelbase of 101.2 in.
The automaker also extols the BRZ's "Pure Handling Delight" driving dynamics. Fundamentally, it's a pretty conventional albeit neat and low layout, with struts in front and a double-wishbone setup in back. Short front and rear overhangs help reduce yaw moments of inertia, Subaru says, to aid handling, and the low boxer engine is positioned nearly five inches lower than in other Subaru models and about 9.4 inches closer to the vehicle's chassis centre. Subaru president Yasuyuki Yoshinaga, actually called it the lowest centre of gravity in a production car about 450 mm in fact.
The BRZ, Yoshinaga said, will also mark the introduction of a new pedestrian-detection system that, like Volvo's City Safety system, will be able to apply the brakes to avoid a potential collision. A production model of the Subaru BRZ is due pretty soon at the Tokyo Auto Show; then production will start in spring 2012, with a Toyota version on the way, to be called the Scion FR-S in the U.S. And affordability will be a key selling point; both versions are still expected to ring in at less than $30,000 mark!