Subaru BRZ rumoured to have more power than Toyota FT-86 brother

October 27th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The joint development of a lightweight sports coupe between Subaru and Toyota has provided much rumour and speculation. While Toyota has shown its hand at every opportunity with its FT-86 concepts, much little is known about Subaru’s mysterious BRZ. But with both cars set for world premiers at next month’s Tokyo Motor Show, interest has reached fever pitch.

Up until now, Toyota has tantalized us with three versions of its RWD coupe, while Subaru has revealing only a transparent concept in Geneva and Frankfurt with very little details.

Now Subaru, which has performed most of the engineering work providing the 2.0-litre flat-four engine that will power both cars, has revealed some very interesting facts in a recent interview. Continue reading “Subaru BRZ rumoured to have more power than Toyota FT-86 brother” »

More details released on Subaru’s BRZ sports car

September 15th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

More details of Subaru’s rear-wheel drive BRZ sports car have emerged at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

The BRZ Prologue concept has been designed to show the drivetrain beneath a transparent body. The unorthodox approach shows a fully new FA Boxer engine, exclusively designed for the car.

Subaru claims the 2.0 litre alloy engine’s light-weight, compact size and low centre of gravity produces strong handling stability and driving excitement. The engine sits 120 mm lower and is positioned 240 mm closer to the centre of the chassis than existing Subaru models.

The BRZ Prologue features MacPherson strut front suspension and double wishbones at the rear, and will rely on driving dynamics rather than power output to be successful. Continue reading “More details released on Subaru’s BRZ sports car” »

Subaru names new RWD coupe – the BRZ

August 24th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

When it was first revealed that Toyota and Subaru would collaborate in developing a low-cost, RWD sports coupe, fans of both brands were suitably excited. Since then it’s been all about the Toyota FT-86 with Subaru keeping much more quiet about the development of its version. Toyota has already unveiled several preview concepts of the FT-86 and all Subaru has given loyal fans is some images of the vehicles frame. But now that’s set to change.

The Frankfurt Motor Show is on in a couple of weeks and will be the scene for Subaru to reveal a ‘technology concept’ of its take on the sports coupe. While announcing its plans, Subaru announced the name of its new creation – BRZ.

What does it mean? BRZ stands for Boxer Rear-drive Zenith and will be used firstly on the concept called the BRZ Prologue. While it’s unknown exactly what a technology concept really is, expect at least some of the questions surrounding the BRZ to be answered at the Frankfurt show.

Until then, enjoy the name BRZ, feel free to say it out loud and use it to impress friends with your knowledge of future Subaru products. Or click here to go to Subaru’s BRZ teaser website.

Subaru to split next-gen WRX from Impreza model line

July 18th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Subaru revealed its new shape 2012 Impreza earlier this year in standard trim, it looked good but fairly conservative. Despite this, WRX fans everywhere began imagining it with a full wide-body kit and big gold rims. But for the next WRX it’s not going to work like that, according to reports, the next WRX will be built as an entirely separate model line.

Due for release in 2014 the new WRX will apparently become a sports coupe with an entirely different body design to the new Impreza. The two models will continue to share a platform but the upcoming WRX will have a shortened wheelbase for improved handling dynamics, and other extra goodies.

A Subaru source said in a recent interview, “The first thing you must understand about our all-new WRX is that we have developed it from the ground up to win in motorsports events. That’s why we have focused so heavily on weight issues, not to mention a shorter wheelbase that permits faster, more precise turn-in. Marry that to our proven AWD system, and we think we have a winner.”

Subaru is planning a return to WRC rallying so when the hardcore STI variant of the WRX is released a future WRC rally car will be based on it. Continue reading “Subaru to split next-gen WRX from Impreza model line” »

Subaru plans to release four new models by 2016

July 11th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Subaru is going big and has announced plans to build and release four new models over the next five years. The biggest launch will be the much-anticipated sports coupe that’s in development in conjunction with Toyota. A new hybrid model is also expected.

Subaru has also revealed what it calls the ‘Motion-V plan’, which aims to generate global sales of 900,000 units per year by 2016. This will be a huge increase on the 633,000 sales the Japanese company has forecast for the current fiscal year.

Subaru’s new range will be lead out in the second quarter of 2012 with the global launch of the as-yet unnamed sports coupe, that’s nicknamed the Toyobaru. Toyota has released images and more details for its own ‘FT-86′ version of the vehicle, while Subaru has revealed very few details or photos of its concept. Continue reading “Subaru plans to release four new models by 2016” »

Subaru reveals video of Isle of Man TT record settting lap

June 27th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Subaru went to the 2011 Isle of Man TT race and returned home winners. No, the Japanese carmaker hasn’t created a high-tech AWD motorbike but it did take a near-stock standard WRX STI and run a time of 19 minutes and 37 seconds on the famous 60km course. That was quick enough to achieve a new record for a car traveling the course. But to get things into perspective the outright lap record for any vehicle  stands at 17 minutes and 12 seconds set in 2009 by John McGuinness on a Honda CBR1000RR ‘Fireblade’ motorcycle.

To break the existing record the WRX had an average speed of 185kph and got up to 255kph on some of the longer straights. Ex WRC driver Mark Higgins took the Subie through 200 corners and had a frightening incident getting loose at 200kph before bringing it straight again.

The record-setting WRX STI is powered by standard production turbocharged engine pumping out 227kW. Safety modifications included the addition of a roll cage, fire-suppression system, special brake pads and a louder open exhaust to best warn spectators of an unexpected approaching car. Subaru also took off the car’s speed governor and tweaked the suspension with Tein dampers to handle the course’s famous jumps. Continue reading “Subaru reveals video of Isle of Man TT record settting lap” »

Used Car Buying Is Hit and Myth

June 12th, 2011 by Tim Grimley

As a Pom who had not experienced the joys of living in Godzone during the construction of the Waikato Expressway, I was bemused to hear my Kiwi colleagues spend much of this week ranting about a ‘Taniwha’. Although I’ve made a point of learning some basic Maori phraseology so that I don’t become completed befuddled by the bilingual nature of some conversations – I now know that when I come home in the evening my wahine is expecting kai – this was entirely new ground.

When pressed, the rantee’s couldn’t exactly define what a Taniwha was – common consensus placed it somewhere between a tribal guardian and a monster and firmly in the realm of mythology – but their ire was raised by the fact that it was threatening to bugger up the proposed Auckland CBD rail tunnel.

For sale - One careful Taniwha owner

The Taniwha in question – this one is called Horotiu and even has a Twitter account – apparently dwells in a subterranean stream somewhere in the region of Queen Street and should someone thoughtlessly build a train line through its home will cause all kinds of mischief with public transport. At least that is what Glenn Wilcox, a member of the Auckland Maori Advisory Board, tells us.

I suspect Mr Wilcox is not to be believed.

Let’s be honest, once the rail tunnel is built Horotiu will have no chance of competing against ARTA who, by that stage, will have a full two decades of hands-on experience in buggering up public transport. And I also suspect he’ll still be having far too much fun messing with the heads of used car purchasers. Continue reading “Used Car Buying Is Hit and Myth” »

Toyota announces powertrain details for FT-86

May 3rd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

To keep Toyota/Subaru fans interested new information has been released on the upcoming FT-86 sports coupe a.k.a Toyoburu.

Toyota has confirmed that its rear-driving affordable sports car will go on sale next year and will be powered by Subaru’s latest 2.0-litre 4-cylinder boxer engine fitted with Toyota’s D-4S technology. It’s a real team effort here and Toyota’s D-4S tech consists of direct injection combined with port injection for more power.

Unfortunately output figures still haven’t been released, stopping us armchair critics from judging the FT-86 before it even reaches production. But Toyota is amping everyone up by claiming that its D4-S technology “results in increased horsepower and torque without sacrificing fuel consumption and environmental performance.”

The engine itself will come from Subaru’s with an improved 2.0-liter horizontally opposed gas motor, in its current Impreza guise this motor only puts out 110kW and 197 Nm of torque, but in the case of the FT-86, output is expected to be bumped up significantly. The real tragedy here is that the FT-86 won’t be turbocharged, not at first, anyway.

For changing gears the FT-86 will be offered with either a six-speed manual gearbox or a six-speed automatic transmission. “The manual will offer quick and precise shifts with a short-throw, while the automatic transmission will feature sporty shifts controlled by steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifts,” said Toyota. Continue reading “Toyota announces powertrain details for FT-86” »