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Stripped-out Subaru BRZ not for Oz

Track special: Subaru Australia will not sell the special lightweight, stripped-out BRZ that is destined for Japan and Britain.

Subaru Australia decides against track special in favour of full-spec BRZ coupe

27 Feb 2012

SUBARU will launch its BRZ coupe in Australia with a single well-specified model later this year, rejecting a special lightweight stripped-out model that will be sold in Japan and Britain.

The front-engined, rear-drive BRZ 2+2 coupe is currently going through the Australian Design Rule (ADR) approval process ahead of its local launch in the third quarter.

A pristine BRZ was parked on the lawn outside the lunch venue during the brand’s launch of the fourth-generation Impreza in South Australia last week, but in a matter of weeks it will be reduced to scrap after being submitted for ANCAP crash testing.

Subaru Australia managing director Nick Senior confirmed to GoAuto that the BRZ will be sold here with just one, well-specified variant and that low sales volumes are almost certain, with a yearly allocation handed down by the factory.

“We will get an allocation because (the BRZ) will be in short supply, but we haven’t been told what that is at this stage and we wouldn’t know for another little while,” he said.

2 center imageLeft: The stripped-out BRZ track car. Below: The standard BRZ.

On the other side of the world, the Japanese brand’s British importer announced it will be offering three variants in a staggered launch starting in the northern spring, with the top-spec flagship model released first, followed by a lower-spec car a few months later and – most interestingly – the stripped-out version.

British Subaru distributor International Motors Limited describes the stripped-out BRZ as promising to be “the perfect solution for those who wish to tune and fettle the BRZ to their own tastes, as well as track-day enthusiasts”.

Although it has released details of the flagship BRZ’s generous equipment count, the items missing from the most basic version are yet to be announced.

In Japan, the BRZ is available in stripped-out ‘RA’ format and, according to the brand’s Japanese consumer site, it has no limited-slip differential or front foglights, and the audio system, air-conditioning and keyless start systems are deleted.

The RA also downgrades to 16-inch steel wheels, unpainted mirrors and a plain interior with bare urethane gearshifter, handbrake and steering wheel, rubber pedals and all silver highlights including the sill plates removed.

Also removed are the cupholders, parcel shelf and boot carpet, some interior lights, the rear privacy glass, aerodynamic undertray, under-floor sound insulation, rear spoiler and engine intake manifold cover.

The 1190kg manual-only RA is priced at 2.058 million yen ($A23,556) while the top-spec S variant is 2.793 million yen ($A31,968) and weighs 40kg more in manual guise or 60kg more as an automatic.

That prices the entry-level BRZ slightly higher than the twin-under-the-skin Toyota 86, which costs 1.99 million yen ($A22,777) in stripped-out RC spec, but the Toyota also has unpainted bumpers.

The top-spec 86 GT Limited variant is more expensive than Subaru’s flagship at 2.97 million yen ($A33,995).

Highly specified launch variants in the UK will come with 17-inch alloy wheels, torque-sensing limited-slip differential, electronic stability control, seven airbags, cruise control, dual-zone climate-control air-conditioning and a six-speaker CD sound system with USB and iPod connectivity.

Other standard equipment includes keyless entry and start, high-intensity discharge headlights, front foglights, LED daytime-running lights, electrically adjustable and heated folding door mirrors, heated front seats and leather upholstery (including steering wheel and gearshifter).

Powered by a modified version of Subaru’s famous flat-four ‘boxer’ petrol engine with Toyota direct injection, the rear-drive BRZ and 86 twins have an especially low centre of gravity and were benchmarked against the Porsche Cayman to major on fun, agile handling and driver involvement.

The engine’s 147kW of peak power arrives at 7000 revs and 205Nm of torque is available at 6000rpm, meaning has to be revved hard. The car’s low weight is said to enable it to achieve 0-100km/h in less than seven seconds.

Subaru engineers told GoAuto in Japan that the BRZ has a slightly different suspension set-up to the Toyota 86, suggesting the Subaru version is slightly sportier.

It took Subaru Australia a long time to deliberate over whether to import the BRZ as its rear-drive layout defies the company’s long-running policy of selling exclusively all-wheel-drive product.

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