Subaru Forester STI could be revealed at Sydney Show

October 6th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

The Sydney Motor Show is ready to kick into gear next week and much of the rumour and anticipation before the event is being directed at the Subaru stand.

The Aussie motoring press are getting all ‘fair dinkum’ excited about Subaru who may or may not be bringing a new sporty SUV to the show. Many expect that this vehicle will arrive in the form of a Forester STI which is big news for Subaru fans on both sides of the ditch.

The Forester STI should get a significant jump in power over the rather vanilla Forester currently on sale here in NZ with estimates that it could receive as much as 230kW under the bonnet. That’s more than the Kiwi-spec WRX STI.

The Japanese domestic market has seen a Forester STI, but it was based on the previous version of the model, and sold only there. That version of the Forester STI uses the same engine as the Impreza.

Little else is known about the Forester STI, except for Subaru to state that it could be sold in global markets. Check back as we’ll have more details on the mysterious performance version Subaru Forester STI as soon as they become available.

Subaru reveals third-generation Boxer engine

September 28th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Subaru’s heavyweight parent company – Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. (FHI) has just announced the new-generation Boxer engine that will start appearing in its vehicles from early next year.

This third generation engine replaces the motor that first appeared in the first Legacy in 1989 and has been developed subsequently to meet emission regulations and market expectations.

Boxer engines have been the core technology that has supported Subaru’s unique driving since the first generation motor first powered the Subaru 1000 way back in 1966.

This latest third generation Horizontally-Opposed 4 cylinder petrol engine in two and 2.5 litre capacities, showcases Subaru’s latest engineering research and development.

The engine is entirely new, starting from the basic structure, while all the advantages of the horizontally-opposed layout have been maintained: lightweight, compact, low centre of gravity, and superior vibration balance.

New-generation improvements include advances in both environmental friendliness, with a reported 10% improvement in fuel efficiency, and driving performance.

FHI designed the new engine with consideration of the technology’s expandability and potential capability to receive further upgrades meeting future environmental measures.

Major mechanical features of the New-generation Subaru Boxer engine are a longer stroke, improvements in practical torque and fuel economy. A more compact combustion chamber aids the greater torque and fuel efficiency, together with Tumble Generated Valves in the intake ports and an Exhaust Gas Recirculation cooler.

Continue reading “Subaru reveals third-generation Boxer engine” »

2011 Subaru WRX STI launched in NZ with auto box

September 15th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

The 2011 Subaru WRX STI has been launched in NZ and for the first time is being offered with a automatic transmission.

It’s a sign of the times, with the new STI auto providing a solution for buyers who spend time in commuter traffic, but still want a performance car to do some weekend excursions or get leery on NZ backroads.

To enhance the automatic driving experience the STI auto comes with steering column mounted paddle shifters so manual gear changes can be made.

But Subaru has not forsaken its high performance roots either and the 2011 model year sees the return of an STI sedan model with a large boot mounted rear wing, which has not been available since 2007.

With the choice of a close ratio six speed manual and five speed automatic gearbox and sedan and hatchback bodies, the STI is now available in four different models.

“STI is still great value for money and should now appeal to more potential buyers,” said Wallis Dumper, the Managing Director of Subaru of New Zealand. “It gives us the opportunity to meet performance car buyers’ needs for daily ease of use in our bigger cities where most of our sales occur, but provides the enjoyment factor for weekends away or trips that have a great driving experience attached.”

At a launch price starting from $59,990 until the new GST regime kicks in the STI auto comes with 221 kWs at 6200 rpm from the 2.5 litre turbocharged quad cam Boxer engine, which produces 350Nm of torque between 3000 and 6000 rpm. The manual has the same 221 kWs of peak power at 6000 rpm but boasts a larger 407 Nm of torque at 4000 rpm.

The STI comes with Subaru’s programmed SI-Drive with its three different performance characteristics. The Intelligent mode with gentle response produces the best economy, while the Sport is ideal for daily use and Sport # (sharp) gives you the most direct throttle response and precise rev control across the entire rpm range. This is done by changing the behaviour of the electronic throttle control and the engine control unit.

Continue reading “2011 Subaru WRX STI launched in NZ with auto box” »

New 2011 Subaru WRX officially launched in NZ

September 10th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

The 2011 model Subaru WRX received its official NZ launch at a special press event held in Auckland yesterday. The WRX, is 18 years old with the introduction of the 2011 model and is now a more direct sibling to Subaru’s flagship performance car, the STI, than ever before.

The Subaru WRX will now come with the same wide body styling of the STI and more importantly the same wide track suspension with wider tyres to produce greater stability, handling and road holding.

At a quick glance the WRX looks just like an STI, although keen Subaru fans will notice the rear wing on the hatch and sedan is not as big as the STI and the still generous wheels and tyres are “only” 17 inches in diameter.

“The WRX still offers the best bang for the buck in the performance car market,” said Wallis Dumper, the Managing Director of Subaru of New Zealand. “At $44,990 until the end of September its unbeatable value for money whether you want a sedan or hatch.”

Both the WRX sedan and hatch have the same design front spoiler which merges into the bumper and dark finish grille to produce a wide, low aggressive look. The car’s sides are highlighted by the wider flared wheel arches that lead to the sedan’s rear diffuser with centre rear fog light. Both hatch and sedan have four exhaust tail pipes. It is the same system as the STI.

WRX comes with a 195 kWs version of the 2.5 litre quad cam turbocharged Boxer engine and a five speed manual gearbox with Symmetrical All Wheel Drive. Maximum torque of 343 Nm is available at 4000 rpm. It is distributed by a Torsen rear limited slip differential and an open front diff.

Braking has been increased with larger 16-inch front calipers and pad return springs. The system has ABS with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BA).

Continue reading “New 2011 Subaru WRX officially launched in NZ” »

Subaru makes record sales in New Zealand

August 18th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Subaru of America, Inc. posted its best July result in history with 23,983 sales — a 10 per cent increase over July 2009.

Year-to-date sales now total 149,943 compared with 115,145 through the same period last year — marking a 30 per cent increase.

The Subaru Outback continues to be the stellar performer for the company selling 9030 in July — a massive 82 per cent increase over July 2009.

In Canada, Subaru continues to be the fastest growing Japanese brand. Subaru Canada had its best ever July sales of 2336 vehicles, up 28.1 percent over July 2009. Year to date, Subaru’s sales in Canada have increased 31.8 percent this year over 2009.

Across the Tasman Subaru achieved all-time record July sales of 3253 vehicles, according to official VFACTS figures released.¨¨ Subaru sales were up 16 per cent for the month and the innovative Symmetrical All Wheel Drive brand has a 4 per cent share of the market year-to-date (YTD).

New Zealand is having an equally successful year, with sales for the first seven months to the end of July totaling 1251, a 60 percent increase over the 784 sold at the same time last year. This July’s sales were 42 percent in front of 2009, with 149 cars being retailed.

“Subaru’s strong success in New Zealand is due to the dedication and hard work of our dealer network combined with outstanding models such as the Outback and Forester. Our vehicles provide kiwi’s a mix of practicality, versatility and total driving confidence thanks to the invisible advantages of Subaru All Wheel Drive” says Wallis Dumper, Managing Director of Subaru of New Zealand.

Click here to read Car and SUV reviews of the current Subaru model range.

Subaru’s FT-86 ‘Toyoburu’ to use Legacy platform

August 12th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Recent reports are stating that the Subaru version of the upcoming Toyota FT-86 (aka Toyoburu) will sit on a revised Legacy platform with an Impreza rear suspension. This isn’t a bad option at all and it means the car should have a chassis that isn’t too soft when the roads get windy.

Under the bonnet on the Toyota FT-86 will be a hard-revving naturally aspirated 2.0-litre boxer engine with around 149 kW of power, the Subaru model is instead expected to use an updated 2.0-litre turbo with 194 kW. Both models will use the six-speed manual box from the Impreza, but an automatic transmission will most likely be on offer as well. Strangely for Subaru, all-wheel drive doesn’t seem to be included in the initial package.

Styling won’t differ from the Toyota FT-86 very much, as all body panels will be shared, but the Subaru version will feature a unique grille, modified bumpers, and unique wheels.

Expect to see this much anticipated ride on our streets sometime in 2013.

Toyota FT-86 still scheduled for 2011 launch

July 29th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Contrary to recent rumours, Toyota’s eagerly anticipated FT-86 is still scheduled for a 2011 launch. Toyota recently held at press event in Japan in order to get some things straight about its Toyota G’s performance vehicles. Naturally, there were many questions about the FT-86 (or FR-S). Although it was reported a few months ago that the sports coupe would be delayed until 2013 for design and powerplant reasons, now it’s back on schedule with a release date of November 2011.

Clarity on the lineup was offered as well, there will be three spec levels  with at least two engine options, and the mid-range model is expected to cost around 2.5 million yen ($39,550 NZ). The top dog model will be a turbocharged variant which will add appeal to drifters and tuners. Apparently, there will be no hybrid drivetrains — that tech is being reserved for a different sporty product.

Check back as we bring you more info on the development of the FT-86.

New Subaru WRX TV commercial

July 22nd, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

New Subaru WRX ad featuring pro driver Dave Mirra and a blonde passenger who brought her own airbags

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