3 Amigos: Toyota GT-86, Scion FR-S, Subaru BRZ

Sports Cars / Comments

How do the Japanese sports cars compare?

Toyota and Subaru announced plans to jointly develop a modern sports coupe back at the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show and unveiled the models at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show.

Toyota's version is called the GT-86, a homage to the original AE 86, and will be sold in European and Japanese markets, while the model will also be badged as a Scion FR-S for the US. The Subaru BRZ features a different front end and a few other very minor changes and will be sold in all three markets. All three are the same machine underneath but there are some differences to be aware of.

2017-2020 Subaru BRZ Three Quarter Front Left Side View Subaru

Power for all three comes from a Subaru-developed naturally aspirated 2.0-liter flat-four boxer engine, producing 200 hp and 151 lb-ft of torque. Toyota was in charge of styling while Subaru handled most of the engineering tasks. It's certainly not a bad-looking coupe, but we can't help but wonder that if a bit more effort was made, the exterior styling could be even better. Overall, it's a handsome design that will likely age gracefully as the years go by.

The GT-86 and FR-S feature an inverted trapezoid grille with a sweeping fog light design, while the BRZ has a more conventionally styled grille. The name of the game for engineers was to keep weight to a minimum, as each car has an aluminum hood, a hardtop roof, and a trunk design instead of a hatchback. The boxer engine also sits as far back and as low as possible to allow for optimal weight distribution and a low center of gravity.

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2017-2020 Subaru BRZ Front View Subaru
2017-2020 Subaru BRZ Rear View Subaru

The GT-86 and BRZ come with more premium features than the FR-S, such as a better stereo and the option of leather and Alcantara seating. The cars' 2+2 layout gives it a small backseat that can be folded flat to allow for increased trunk space. Buyers have a choice between a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters. The latter of which was engineered to mimic the response time of a dual-clutch gearbox. 17-inch wheels are standard on all three.

2019-2020 Toyota 86 Side View Toyota
2019-2020 Toyota 86 Three Quarter Front Right Side View In Motion Toyota
2019-2020 Toyota 86 Three Quarter Rear Left Side View Toyota

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