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Uncharted Territory

September 6, 2011 by Matt

Subaru BRZ Cutaway

New photos surfaced today showing a heavily-camouflaged prototype of Subaru’s upcoming RWD, flat-4 sports car, the BRZ.

The diversification of the automotive landscape (SUVs, hybrids, crossovers, etc) means sports cars have become something of a riskier venture than they used to be, so the BRZ is a joint venture with Toyota, who will release a badge-engineered version under their Scion brand.

Toyota, at least, provides the car with at least a little pedigree: Their mid-’80s, 4-cylinder, RWD AE86 Corolla has a cult following among the Japanese tuner crowd, and the upcoming offering looks to be in the same vein, even if the engine supplied by Subaru has a different cylinder configuration. For Subaru itself, though, there’s no clear precedent. The two pillars of their claim to uniqueness have always been their boxer engines and AWD architecture, even in their performance cars like the WRX. The BRZ will be powered by one of their classic flat-4s, but its placement in the chassis makes an AWD version all but impossible. And they’ve made 2-door sports coupes before (the late-’90s Impreza 2.5RS was the best we ever got), but nothing that wasn’t based on sedan underpinnings. The BRZ is a dedicated, fresh design.

Maybe it’s a little much to hope for, but if the teamed-up automakers get this one right, might we be witnessing the birth of a new sports car dynasty?

Filed under: News, Subaru

2 Comments

  1. John D says:

    My fingers are definitely crossed.

    Toyota is capable of so much, yet us sports car enthusiasts get so little. Here’s to hoping for a car with Subaru’s sense of fun and adventure with Toyota’s flair for pulling off the rare (but typically well executed) grand tourer.

    • Matt says:

      Toyota’s priorities have been elsewhere for a while… And given the migration of performance qualities from the sports car to the sports sedan market, I can’t say I entirely blame them for not cranking out a Supra sequel.

      With the new car, I just hope they don’t make the same critical mistake Hyundai made with their unloved Genesis Coupe: You have to get the styling right. The Genesis Coupe’s nose is just pinched and weird-looking, and the rest of the car follows from that. Hopefully Toyota and Subaru can collaborate to design something if not achingly beautiful, at least well-proportioned and handsome.

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