Subaru says it’s not ready to announce specific prices for its BRZ sports car, even though Toyota just announced pricing for the nearly identical Scion FR-S. Subaru does say that the BRZ will start at “about $25,000,” which would make it similar to the Scion FR-S starting price of $24,930, including shipping, for the manual transmission version, $26,030 for the automatic.
The cars go on sale about the same time — April or May, as 2013 models. Both are manufactured by Subaru’s parent, Fuji Heavy Industries, in Japan. Production there began March 16.
The car uses Subaru’s new “FA” four-cylinder “boxer” engine, which is physically smaller than previous Subaru powerplants and thus easier to tuck low in the sports car’s chassis for better handling.
It’s called a boxer because the flat layout has two pistons on each side, moving back and forth toward and away from each other, as boxers might punch. (Some folks prefer thinking of the designation as coming from the fact that the flat, rectangular engine looks like a box.)
The engine is fitted with what Toyota calls its D-4S fuel injection system. It combines modern direct-injection with older port-injection systems and uses a very high 12.5-to-1 compression ratio, yielding 200 hp and 151 lbs.-ft. of torque.
Chassis comes from Subaru, very loosely derived from the Impreza.
BRZ stands for Boxer (horizontally opposed engine layout), Rear drive, Zenith, meaning top of the food chain.
It’s a rear-drive car, the first one of those for all-wheel-drive specialist Subaru since the 1950s, and first ever for Scion, which has been exclusively front-drive.
Though it looks like a hatchback, it’s not. Constructing the car with a conventional trunk and the accompanying structure makes the car stiffer and able to handle better, the maker says. Rear seats fold, though, providing pass-through space to enlarge the cargo area.
It’s referred to as having “2+2” seating, the auto industry’s code for an almost useless back seat.
A turbocharged version of the BRZ engine will be used in the WRX, Subaru says.
Specifications for the BRZ, nearly identical to the FR-S:
-166.7 inches long
-69.9 in. wide
-50.6 in. tall
-Weighs about 2,800 lbs.