Subaru Australia managing director Nick Senior this morning confirmed a number of factors swayed the brand’s decision to deviate from its 15-year strategy of selling only all-wheel-drive vehicles.
“The passion and persuasion of the FHI [Fuji Heavy Industries] engineers involved in the project was telling," said Senior. "They have poured their DNA into this car, so it drives like a Subaru. And because it is built in our spiritual home in Gunma prefecture, it has to be a Subaru."
Senior described the BRZ as a “driver’s car”, and said he believed it was “in keeping with our fun-to-drive philosophy”.
The Subaru BRZ is powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder boxer engine with 147kW and 205Nm of torque. While its estimated 0-100km/h acceleration of around seven seconds may not have sports car fans flocking to showrooms, but our drive of the virtually identical Toyota 86 recently suggests its compact dimensions, lightweight construction and low centre of gravity will also make it an agile, corner-loving machine.
“The testing and development we have undertaken for the Australian market has left me in no doubt that this is a Subaru specifically for our unique Australian conditions,” Senior said.
Following a drip-feed of information, teasers and concepts spanning more than two years, the BRZ was finally unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show late last month.
Senior says Subaru has been “overwhelmed” by Australia’s response to the BRZ.
“People have been pleading for us to bring the BRZ into the country. Dealers have been astonished at the level of interest. Indeed, the first BRZ has already been sold in Adelaide, despite no pricing or specification being released.”
Last week, CarAdvice reported one of Subaru’s largest Australian dealerships would have limited numbers of the BRZ in its showroom by May, potentially beating the Toyota 86 to market, which is due in “mid-2012”.
Subaru will confirm more details closer to its local launch. Expect prices slightly higher than the Toyota version, which is tipped to start between $35,000 and $40,000.