Subaru has unveiled its new BRZ sports car and observers at the Tokyo Auto Show say that, like the Toyota Scion FR-S, this is a sports car that really is a sports car, not an overpowered barge.
This is a car that may turn the heads of many driving enthusiasts who've made do with big, heavy cars with big, heavy engines and big, heavy price tags.
Like the much-loved Mazda Miata, these new models are throwbacks to the days when a sports car was something that was lightweight, low to the ground, tightly sprung and lacking in all but the most essential accessories.
The BRZ develops about 200 horsepower from its 2.0-liter, four-cylinder, naturally-aspirated boxer engine, the same engine you'll find in the Scion FR-S.
The "boxer" engine design is just what its name implies -- a low-profile flat four, sort of stuffed into a box shape, the same general design as the engine in the Porsche Boxster, although that blocky powerhouse comes with six cylinders and in some models can churn out around 300 hp.
Part of what makes the Boxster such a popular and enduring model is that its mid-engine design gives it an almost perfect 50-50 front-to-rear weight distribution. Subaru hasn't gone quite that far with the BRZ but it has put the engine lower and farther back than in any other Subaru.
All of this should combine to make the BRZ a real driver's car -- fast enough and low enough to flatten out corners and keep the shiny side up. Subaru is calling the design an “ultra-low center of gravity package.”
The car comes with a short-throw manual or an automatic transmission. Either way, you get six speeds.