The BRZ: Not the Only Subaru in Town?


The BRZ and GT86 may be the talk of the town, but what if demand outstrips supply?

It's been tough for Subaru dealers recently. The lack of muddy Imprezas in Deep Blue Mica with gold wheels in the WRC, and the move of Ken Block to Ford, has left Subaru as something of a footnote in these low CO2, high MPG times.

As I've written about before, the slightly confusing cavalry has arrived in the shape of the light weight and rear wheel drive BRZ and GT86. I had the chance to drive the BRZ recently and found it interesting but rather lacking. Maybe not enough seat time stopped me from really getting to know the car, but I'd also just stepped out of the current WRX STi. The difference in power delivery could not have been more marked, and the bigger, softer WRX definitely rolled a bit more but felt better damped and suited to the road.

If you tried a BRZ and found the torque didn't match the noise quite as you expected, imagine how a WRX STi would feel in comparison. Now imagine the salesman pointing out that Subaru have cut the price of the WRX down to the same amount, and Sir can have an extra 40bhp and 61 lb/ft of torque for an extra £1600 with warranty still intact.

In fact, go for the hottest WRX STi 340R (to give it the full, and appropriately Japanese name) and you're getting almost 60% more power and over three times as much torque as the little coupe for very similar money.

Ah, you say, you're missing the point. The BRZ is about driver involvement, while the WRX STi (and it's a real wrench not saying Impreza) is a rallying relic from a bygone age. I'd certainly love to try the two back to back, but for those with BRZ cash to spend and a copy of Colin McRae Rally gathering dust on top of a similarly unused Playstation, wouldn't you love to try it yourself?

It's an odd conumdrum as to why Subaru would do this now, but one reason may be to do with available stock. I've heard Toyota will be bringing in around a thousand GT-86s while Subaru will be in the low hundreds for the BRZ. This might keep the residuals bouyant, but how better for Subaru to convert foot fall into sales.

As a child of the Impreza era, I hope this will give the four wheel drive saloon another lease of life, but with economics so central in car buying decisions, the official combined MPG of the standard WRX STi 26.9mpg and emissions that put it in the top but one tax band, could the Government be the ones making the 4WD turbo monster obsolete?