Subaru’s coupe, which will be sold online only, arrives in Australia just weeks after its near-identical twin, the Toyota 86.
The BRZ’s pricing doesn’t match the Toyota’s $29,990 RRP that stunned the motoring media in June, even after adding on-road charges, though unlike the 86 the Subaru comes in one rather than two trim levels.
Instead it sits between the GT and GTS variants of the Toyota 86 that cost about $34,200 and $39,900 drive-away depending on state.
"We've introduced a single, premium grade [for the BRZ]," says Subaru Australia's general manager of sales and marketing, Andrew Caie. "We won't try to beat Toyota on price."
The BRZ's standard equipment list does more closely mirror that of the range-topping GTS.
Features include auto on/off bi-xenon headlights, alloy pedals, dual-zone air-conditioning, cruise control, CD audio and Bluetooth, leather-wrapped and stitched steering wheel, handbrake and gearshift lever, sports seats, 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights and daytime running lights, trip computer, electric windows, engine start/stop button, limited-slip rear differential, seven airbags and electronic stability control.
There’s also a five-star independent safety rating from ANCAP.
Compared to the Toyota 86 GTS, and like the 86 GT, it misses out on satellite navigation with colour touch-screen and heated leather/Alcantara upholstery.
The Subaru BRZ also comes with free servicing for the first three years or 60,000km, saving $680 compared with the Toyota 86 (pictured above) that has capped-price servicing over the same period.
A six-speed manual gearbox is standard. The drive-away price for the alternative six-speed auto version is $39,730.
Both are mated to a direct fuel injection 2.0-litre four-cylinder ‘Boxer’ engine with 147kW of power at 7000rpm and 205Nm of torque at 6600rpm.
Subaru quotes 7.6 seconds for the 0-100km/h sprint – or 8.2sec for the auto BRZ.
While the auto version is slower, it at least uses less fuel – 7.1 litres per 100km versus 7.8L/100km. Subaru recommends owners use 98 RON premium unleaded, with 95 premium as minimum.
The Subaru BRZ is a low and compact coupe, measuring just 4240mm long (a fraction longer than a Volkswagen Golf) and 1245mm tall.
It weights 1256kg in manual form; 1278kg in auto guise.
Seven exterior colours are available: white, blue, silver, dark grey, red, black and Subaru's exclusive world rallying blue.
Supply for 2012 is limited. Subaru says only about 80-120 BRZ models will be available once the online buying tool goes live on Monday. The company says it has 28 firm orders already and about 60 dealers will receive a demonstrator model.
Subaru Australia believes it could sell up to 50 BRZs per month and admits it is frustrating not to have more.
Both the 86 and BRZ are being built at Subaru's Gunma plant in Japan but with a ratio of 8 to 1 in favour of the Toyota.
"The allocation [of production] was decided between Toyota and Subaru," says Subaru Australia boss Nick Senior. "Ours is 201. We were dealt a hand and that's it."
When asked why people might choose a BRZ over the 86, Senior admitted the cars had few differences but said he believed sports car customers will appreciate the fact the BRZ is built by Subaru.
"At the end of the day customers will make up their own mind whether they will buy the Toyota or Subaru," he says. "But because we build it we think that could be a tipping point [for the buyer to opt for the BRZ]."