The boss of Subaru Australia says the BRZ sports car’s overarching impression as a “driver’s car” was strong enough to convince the company to divert from its 15-year exclusive all-wheel-drive strategy.

Subaru Australia managing director Nick Senior says despite the BRZ’s rear-wheel-drive underpinnings, the vehicle is in line with the company’s existing ‘All 4 The Driver’ philosophy, and would not force a rebranding or fresh marketing direction.

Senior said the deciding factor for bringing the BRZ to Australia was “the comfort that it was a Subaru and [embodies] a true spirit of a Subaru – that is a driver’s car and is fun to drive”.

He said the BRZ would not have been considered for our market if it was developed as a front-wheel-drive car rather than rear-wheel drive.

“I think if it was ever a front-wheel drive, then no, that’s an easy decision to make.”

The Subaru BRZ, which has been a joint project between Toyota and Subaru, has also resulted in the soon-to-be-released Toyota 86 and the Toyota-based Scion FRS for the US market. All three models share the majority of their underpinnings and are based on an Impreza platform using a Subaru boxer engine, albeit with Toyota’s direct-injection technology. As a result, many have questioned Toyota’s involvement and input into the 86.

Referring to the BRZ, Mr Senior said “fundamentally I think it has more of a Subaru heart to it than a Toyota”.

Pricing and specification levels are still undetermined but we believe the high-spec Subaru BRZ destined for Australia will cost more than both entry-level and top-spec Toyota 86 variants.

Meanwhile, the future of the Subaru WRX and STI remains unclear following the models’ earlier divorce from the Impreza family. The current WRX/STI vehicles (based on the old third-generation Impreza) are expected to remain on sale in a largely unchanged format until the next-generation sports cars are released.

“[We are] still in the process of looking at the next-generation and direction of WRX and STI. We’ve been looking and evaluating as to which direction it would go. Does it go more upmarket? Does it go more hard-core?”

It’s yet to be determined if the WRX and STI will share the platform of the upcoming fourth-generation Impreza small car or use a modified version.

  • Birty_B

    Justify how ever you want Mr Senior, but deciding against bringing the car here was never an option. 

  • Tom

    I can’t see why they can’t just AWD it =(

    • Sonic

      The engine is mounted too far back for it to become AWD. They’ll have to redesign the entire car in order to send power to the front wheels.

  • Mr Gaspo

    Subaru is no longer on my radar… What a missed opportunity to consolidate. Poor product tends to do that. As for AWD the BRZ Toyota vetoed that one based on cost, fuel consumption and maint requirements.

  • Chris

    Adding AWD to
    the BRZ without adding more power wouldn’t have been option. Why would anyone
    buy the BRZ with AWD if the equivalent Toyota was faster,
    cheaper, and just as agile (the addition of AWD would add more weight and extra
    costs, all of which isn’t needed with the relatively low powered naturally aspirated

  • Guest

    Referring to the BRZ, Mr Senior said “fundamentally I think it has more of a Subaru heart to it than a Toyota”.

    It’s this trashy & defensive talk like this that makes you very unprofessional as a manager and tells the public that your not even confident about the car.

    Tell us that it’s drives well. Tell us how good it is. Tell us how it makes the driver one with the car. Tell us how excited you are to see this car proudly wearing a Subaru badge. We all know it’s a joint vehicle with Toyota and this is how Nick deals with it? By trashing your own car? At the moment, Nick is just selling a half baked car that just got handed to you which might be the truth but for goodness sake don’t make it part of the PR strategy.

    The other point to rule out FWD as an easy decision makes us think that Nick knows nothing much about cars. Europeans can do FWD cars. Honda (used to) do good FWD cars. I wouldn’t feel less enthusiastic to pick up the keys to a Integra Type R over BRZ/86 and still reach maximum points on the smile-o-dial meter.

  • Pauly

    Mr Senior is an idiot and he sounds so immature stating that its fundementally more Subaru then Toyota. The public know its a joint venture and its great that the car has finally been shown in production form.

    Bagging out FWD also shows how much of an idiot he is. FWD cars have come along way in recent  years, some of the best ‘drivers’ cars on a budget are FWD (Golf GTI and Focus ST/RS come to mind)

    I look forward to seeing how the BRZ is positioned in the Subaru line up keeping in mind that the WRX and STI need to also need to fit in.

    Next Mr Senior will be claiming that having a Turbo is not needed… until he relises that the WRX and STI use turbos…

    • F1

      Funny how people bag out the Aurion for being FWD.. But euros? Of coarse, it’s a euro so it must be good regardless..

      Double standards..

  • Matthew Werner

    Pfft. The car has had that much attention since it was a Toyota concept that there’s no way you weren’t going to bring it over. You would’ve much preferred it to be AWD but big brother Toyota didn’t want to spend the money and beggars can’t be choosers, so here we are

  • craig

    Shutup for once Nick “Windbag” Senior. As if the crieria for all Subarus is for it to be fun to drive – 4 speed autos, underpowered engines on everything except the WRX and Forester XT, sucking much more fuel than most other comparably sized engines. He even said that the looks of the current Liberty and Outback is a winner with customers!

  • Bobbin

    If it was FWD Nick would have been singing its praises – after all its all about potential sales – and thats the only reason subaru is selling the car here. It will sell, and it does look good compared to the rest of the fugly range.

    There are plenty of FWD cars around the similar spec for this car, that are faster, handle better, better options etc, just without the ability to tailslide.

  • Dave

    Translation of Nick Senior’s comment: “The WRX and STi were getting a bit fat and slow in their middle age, and we’d lost anything exciting in our lineup, so we thought we’d go against what we had previously stated about AWD being the safest option and all and bring in an underpowered two door car to sell to hairdressers, and 50 year old women. Frankly we didn’t think the target audience would go round drifting the car anyway so we thought there wouldn’t be any risk to anyone’s safety at all despite it being 2WD”. Did I interpret that correctly?

  • pw3032

    It’s ok Subaru spokesperson, you can say it “Toyota wanted RWD, and they have all the money.”