Subaru BRZ 2.0 Review
Old school fun

Story and photos by Raymond Lai
8 Jul 2012

After a long wait, we finally had the opportunity to give the “Toyobaru Hachiroku” the once over in a proper road test, starting off with the Subaru version, the BRZ.

Introduction, styling

There's simply no other car in recent memory that is more highly anticipated than the Subaru BRZ/Toyota 86 pair. Inspired by the 1980s cult model from Toyota, the AE86 Haci-roku Levin and Trueno models that was the star of the Initial D comic series, the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ is a joint project between the two Japanese car makers and hence, often referred to as the “Toyobaru” pair.

The BRZ/86 was first teased as a Toyota concept dubbed the FT-86 at the 2009 Tokyo Motor show. Further concepts at the 2010 Tokyo Auto Salon (FT-86 G Sports)and 2011 Geneva Motor Show (FT-86 II) added further hype and expectations of the new model. It was only at the LA Motor Show in October 2011 that a model with styling close to the eventual production model appeared in the form of the Subaru BRZ concept STI. And just some weeks later at the Tokyo Motor Show, the production Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ finally broke cover.

Both the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ are now here in Singapore. we’ve already had a short impression of the Toyota 86 at its media launch some weeks ago and it’s now the turn of the Subaru BRZ for us to test.

According to Subaru, BRZ stands for “Boxer-engine, Rear-wheel drive, Zenith”, which admittedly somehow doesn’t make it sound as cool as Hachi-roku or 86. Both the BRZ and the Toyota 86 are manufactured at Subaru’s Gunma plant in Japan and look remarkably similar overall on the outside. 

At just 1,300mm in height, the BRZ features a low slung silehouette that is typical of classic sports coupes. The design and the placement of the boxer engine allows for a very low, purposeful bonnet line, which in turn accentuates the wide front fenders that hide 17-inch wheel wrapped with moderately sized 215/45 R17 rubber. The shape of the front headlamps somehow mimics that of the Lexus LFA supercar's. At the rear, a diffuser dominates the lower edge of the BRZ’s tail, with relatively large twin chrome-tipped exhaust pipes prominently penetrating on each side. The clear tail lamps though, somehow adds an aftermarket feel to the overall rear end treatment. 

The Subaru BRZ differs from the Toyota 86 mainly in its front end, where the grille on the bumper has a hexagonal shape versus an inverted trapezoid in the Toyota, while the design of the side air vents on the front wings and alloy wheels also differ from the Toyota’s. We reckon that the BRZ’s hexagonal front grille treatment somehow looks more handsome to the Toyota’s but this is just down to personal taste.

Devoid of splitters and spoilers, the BRZ features a clean look overall. Those who prefer a more aggressive or even sportier looking car can surely count on factory backed tuners like STI or TRD, or aftermarket tuners for additional exterior go faster bits and more generously sized wheel options.


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