The Subaru BRZ, alternately called the Scion FR-S or the Toyota 86, has been a hotly anticipated car for some time. However, most people will have to buy the Scion version, as Subaru is only importing 6,000 Subaru BRZ coupes for its first year.
Only a few cars get the badge with stars
A lot of people have been anticipating the soon-to-be-released Subaru BRZ sports car, alternately known as the Scion FR-S or the Toyota 86, as the car is a joint project between Toyota and Subaru.
The appeal of the BRZ is that it’s a back-to-basics sports car. It isn’t terrifically powerful, but it’s rear-wheel-drive, light and nimble, which makes for a car that’s a blast to drive. As a project between Toyota and Subaru, it will also be affordable.
However, according to AutoBlog, only a limited number of Subaru BRZ models will be sold in the U.S., as Subaru is only shipping 6,000 to the United States. Everyone else will have to wait until 2013 or buy the Scion.
According to Car and Driver, there are only a few mechanical differences, in that the Scion FR-S has different shocks and springs in the suspension. Aside from that, most of the differences are cosmetic.
Both the Scion FR-S and the Subaru BRZ have the 2.0-liter four-cylinder boxer engine, for which Subaru provided most of the architecture. Toyota designed the ports and fuel injection system. The engine sends 200 horsepower to the rear wheels and comes with a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. The automatic transmission comes with wheel-mounted paddle shifters to manually cycle through gears.
According to Automobile magazine, Subaru is going to offer two trim levels, Premium and Limited. Car and Driver reports a turbo version is coming eventually.
Not a bad buy
The base price for the Scion FR-S isn’t available yet, but it should be close to $25,000. The base Subaru BRZ will be a bit more, and Toyota isn’t selling the 86 in the U.S.
Because the FR-S/BRZ is so light, the best comparison is to coupes that weigh 3,000 pounds or less, as weight is a big factor in speed. The MiniCooper S starts at $23,800 and has a very similar power-to-weight ratio, producing 181 horsepower and weighing 2,668 pounds with the manual transmission. The Honda Civic SI Coupe produces 200 horsepower, weighs in at 2,877 pounds and starts at $22,205 for the base model with a manual transmission. The Kia Forte Koup 2.4LX is cheaper than the FR-S/BRZ, at $19,350, but is less powerful, producing 173 horsepower.
The Mazda RX-8 is no longer in production, but is still available. It’s a shade more than 3,000 pounds, at 3,065 with a manual transmission, producing 232 horsepower and starting at $26,795. Other sporty coupes are either more expensive or much heavier.