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.
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.
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.