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” »

Subaru breaks out XV concept vehicle at Shanghai show

April 20th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

For any Subaru fans out there wanting a glimpse of the future for their favoured brand – here’s the new XV Concept. The covers have just been pulled off this latest crossover concept at the Auto Shanghai 2011 motor show.

What exactly is it? It’s a compact crossover vehicle based on the same platform as the upcoming 2012 Subaru Impreza. Keen enthusiasts will already know that a high-riding Impreza XV variant already sells in some markets globally.

Features of the concept vehicle’s design include popped out wheel arches, full length glass roof, integrated roof rails and lower body cladding – all features that suggest a focus on practicality and off road ability. Flashing it up is Subaru’s latest hexagonal grille, hawk-eye headlights, 19-inch light alloy rims with clear blue centre caps and a matte ‘Electro Yellowgreen’ finish.

No surprises under the XV’s bonnet with Subaru’s 2.0-litre horizontally opposed Boxer engine turning all four wheels through a symmetrical AWD system. Power is shifted through a CVT transmission.

In the cabin, light leather treatment contrasts with the darker tones of other cabin features. There’s a large touch panel multi-function display in the center console for easy navigation and audio control while displaying vehicle information. Continue reading “Subaru breaks out XV concept vehicle at Shanghai show” »

Subaru gives sneak peak of XV Concept

April 12th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Next week is a busy one for Subaru with the scheduled debut of two new vehicles for the Japanese carmaker.

At the Auto Shanghai 2011 show, Subaru is ready to drop the covers off its XV crossover concept car that has been teased in a single, darkened image this week.

While the silhouette image leaves some mystery, the XV is a preview of the 2012 Impreza XV,  the high-riding version of the Impreza Hatchback already sold in some markets in the current generation. While Subaru are staying tight-lipped at this stage the XV will feature Subaru’s symmetrical All Wheel Drive system and likely a boxer engine. This will allow the XV genuine crossover ability.

In terms of design there’s four doors, highly styled headlamps, big concept car wheels and the overall  shape of a crossover, albeit one with a raked back profile. Continue reading “Subaru gives sneak peak of XV Concept” »

Subaru shows good side of new 2012 Impreza

April 8th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Subaru’s new generation Impreza is preparing for its grand reveal at the upcoming New York International Auto Show where it debuts in the early hours of April 21 (NZ time). A teaser image has been released showing the 2012 Impreza in profile.

Little is known about the new Impreza at the moment but Subaru is claiming it has impressive fuel efficiency and the all-wheel drive sedan and hatch are totally new designs, featuring greater cabin space, major gains in interior design and refinement, plus new technologies.

Here in NZ, Wallis Dumper, Managing Director, Subaru New Zealand said, “We are very excited about the amazing stylish new Impreza, which will not only broaden Subaru’s appeal significantly, but offer a new level of interior quality, technology and the safety for which we’re famed.” Continue reading “Subaru shows good side of new 2012 Impreza” »

2011 Subaru Impreza WRX STI convertible – a customisation crime

March 8th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The car tuning scene must work a little bit differently over in the States. Here in NZ, if we owned a brand spankers Subaru WRX STI we would love it and cherish it and probably knock a bedroom wall down in our homes so we could sleep next to it. Would we chop the roof off it and ruin its rally-bred dynamics while making it look totally rubbish? No we would not.

But over in the States they have a huge population so there must be a few people with loads of cash and absolutely no taste. For that small crowd, Manchester Subaru in New Hampshire has created the monster you see above – a WRX STI convertible. You could also call it a ‘rag-top’ if you’re Vanilla Ice, or want to be.

This tale of automotive woe isn’t a total hacksaw job, but it certainly isn’t pretty. The roll bar looks like a picnic basket handle but may offer some rigidity. Everything else is all bad, there’s a poorly fitted tonneau cover for the roof, chopped door pillars but they have left the STI wing on the boot to clutter the vehicles odd lines even further. Don’t expect Subaru to be inspired and put the WRX STI convertible into mass production.

But the worst part is the price which is apparently $75,000 USD that’s $101,000 of our money or the same price as a brand new WRX STI ‘hardtop’ and another standard WRX as well. Continue reading “2011 Subaru Impreza WRX STI convertible – a customisation crime” »

Subaru Unveils Full Paige Advert

March 4th, 2011 by Tim Grimley

Over the last couple of months, I’ve begun dabbling in that coolest of sports, surfing. As is the way of these things, I watched someone younger, more talented and infinitely more physically attractive than myself make it look very easy one day and thought “Yes, I need a bit of that action”. So with the help of Muriwai Surf School and my friend/personal surf Yoda Daniel, I’ve been grabbing a board, heading out into the sea and joining the ranks of people taking sick rides on knarly left hand breaks. Dude.

Full Paige Advert

Or rather I haven’t. While others are merrily catching waves, I spend most of my time thrashing around in white water trying to work out which foot should go at the front. On the few occasions where I do manage to haul myself into an upright position, there is a rapid transition to a face-first dismount capable of making passing fish wince. In short, I am not a good surfer.

The strange thing is that I really don’t care. By nature I’m not what you would call a good loser and this level of epic failure is more normally met with toys being despatched from pram and me going home, but somehow with surfing it’s different. Sure I’d rather be one of the chiselled beach-God brigade to whom hanging ten comes as naturally as taking their next breath, but it doesn’t bother me to be the incompetent guy who looks like he’s been poured into a wetsuit three sizes too small either.

Surfing it seems, is not all about the end result, but rather the joy of simply doing it in the first place. And with that in mind, I don’t think it is entirely co-incidental that Subaru have decided to pick Kiwi pro-surfer Paige Hareb to be the face of their Impreza range. Continue reading “Subaru Unveils Full Paige Advert” »

Subaru displays RWD sports car skeleton at Geneva show

March 2nd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The Geneva Motor Show has kicked into gear and among the futuristic concept cars and green technology is a little something for sports car fans.

Toyota and Subaru have been working together on a new rear-driving sports car for a couple of years now, and it is nearing production. While Toyota was soaking up the limelight with its pre-production FT-86 II version of the car, Subaru was all about showing how it’s going to look under the sheet metal. Subaru’s take on the rear-drive, front-engined platform looks very promising indeed.

Subaru’s concept car is non-turbocharged but comes sporting a 2.0-litre naturally-aspirated boxer engine and rear-drive system without Subaru’s trademark AWD. The model is scheduled for production next year and as we already know from its performance models, Subaru can tune a chassis, and with this new car purpose-built for fun, rather than family duties it’s coming with big expectations.

So what makes it any good? Well, the engine is located lower and further back in the engine bay than in Subaru’s all-wheel-drive cars, because it doesn’t need a transfer case for the front wheels. There is also very short front and rear overhangs and the more central engine location means it will change direction swiftly. It does uses MacPherson strut suspension, however, so it may be limited in some respects for those seeking lower ride heights.

This Geneva unveiling is of a skeletal RWD Sports Car which looks cool but gives little away in terms of exterior styling. Performance figures haven’t been released yet, but expect that 2.0-litre boxer engine to be one peaky unit. Continue reading “Subaru displays RWD sports car skeleton at Geneva show” »

Subaru Impreza WRX 2011 Review

February 25th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Possessing genuine rally sport pedigree is something a few car companies have attempted to trade on over the years, but it’s never been more believable than in Subaru’s WRX. While Subaru is taking a recession induced break from the WRC scene it’s go-hard Impreza continues the rally-breed evolution that began back in 1992 with its first generation. While the rally bloodlines run stronger in the uncompromising Impreza STI the WRX remains far from a standard run about. The STI will always be the choice for those who aspire to performing dirt road power slides but the WRX is now closer aligned to its more coveted sibling than ever before. But does this mean the updated 2011 WRX is a balls-to-the-wall excitement machine? Car and SUV got belted into a WRX hatch to take a voyage of discovery… rapidly.

Over the years the WRX has seen more drastic costume changes than a Madonna concert and not all the different looks have been sexy, but the third-gen model has a definite raw charm. The big changes for the facelift are the inclusion of a wide body kit distilled from the STI, this has been like a course of steroids for the WRX and has resulted in a stockier more muscular look. While there are still thoughtfully placed clues on the STI like a more pronounced rear wing, only hardcore fans could now tell the difference between the two variants with a single glance. Continue reading “Subaru Impreza WRX 2011 Review” »