The Road Ahead : October 2012
ROADAHEAD.COM.AU 52 THE ROAD AHEAD OCT/NOV 2012 MOTORING ROAD TEST TESTERS: Barry Green, John Ewing FOR THOSE ASPIRING to own an affordable, driver-focused sporty car, the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ represent the most anticipated new vehicle launch in many a year. A joint project between the two Japanese manufacturers, the pair shares a purpose-built, rear-wheel- drive platform utilising a more compact version of Subaru's Impreza four- cylinder engine, enhanced with Toyota's well-regarded D-4S direct-injection (to improve torque and fuel economy). The front suspension is based on Subaru's WRX STi, with the struts shortened and A-arms reversed to accommodate the 2.0-litre Boxer engine, which is set as low and rearwards as possible to help make for a 53/47 front/rear weight distribution and centre of gravity a bare 460 mm off the ground. A six-speed manual and optional six-speed auto are available in each of two 86 (GTS and base model GT) and single BRZ specification levels. The auto costs $2500 in the Toyota and $2580 in the Subaru. So, there is much in common with few points of difference. Basically, the Subaru has stiffer front springs (by 10 percent) and different front exterior packaging. The BRZ and GTS boast a bigger brake and wheel package (294 mm front/290 mm rear ventilated discs) and 17" alloys sporting Michelin tyres. This compares with the GT's 277 mm ventilated fronts and 286 mm solid rear discs and 16" alloys shod with narrower 55-aspect Yokohama rubber. Steering is Subaru rack and pinion with quick 13.0:1 ratio Toyota electric power-assistance. In the front is a pair of supportive sports seats, while a versatile, single-piece seat in the back can accommodate two occupants up to 170 cm tall or be folded flat to create more boot space. All BRZs and 86s roll off the Subaru production line at Gunma in Japan. Value for Money The good news starts with the GT, which, at a scarcely-believable $29,990 for the manual, is far from a 'poverty pack' (see separate panel). The GTS is also excellent value. Priced from a sharp $35,490, it gains auto-levelling HID headlamps, satellite navigation with live traffic updates, dual-zone climate-control airconditioning, leather accenting and aluminium pedals. The BRZ, at $37,150, is similarly well equipped (see separate panel), the major exception being the satellite navigation and leather/Alcantra- trimmed and heated front seats are $1815 and $1500 options respectively. Both vehicles score well on servicing; Toyota charges $170 for the first four scheduled services under its capped price plan, while Subaru offers four free services to 60,000 km. Insurance premiums are line ball at just under $1000 per annum. On the Road Around town, both impress as capable and easy-to-live-with everyday transport, though the GT with its smaller wheels and narrower rubber offers a more cosseting ride. But taking the long way home, via the twisty bits, is the box that the 86 and BRZ most emphatically tick. These are toyota 86 gt v subaru brz STORY BARRY GREEN | PHOTOS AUTONEWS, TOYOTA PRESSROOM MAIN IMAGE (DIGITALLY ENHANCED): TOYOTA 86 GT, FOREGROUND; SUBARU BRZ, BACKGROUND.
August 1st 2012