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Mercredi, 30 Novembre 2011 23:09

Toyota, Subaru Sports Coupes Set Our Hearts Aflutter

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Toyota, Subaru Sports Coupes Set Our Hearts Aflutter

This is it. Actually, these are them. The Toyota GT 86 and Subaru BRZ. They are awesome. Here’s why:

  • They’re rear-wheel-drive sports cars with flat-four engines.
  • They’re crazy light for what they are, weighing around 2,600 pounds.
  • They’re nimble.
  • They’re bound to be cheap, especially the Toyota, which will probably wear a Scion badge.
  • They’re gorgeous.
  • They’re rear-wheel-drive sports cars with flat-four engines.

Much has been written about these cars in recent months, and the two automakers finally unveiled them at the Tokyo auto show. They were developed in a corporate partnership and are essentially the same car. And what cars they are, updating the classic Japanese sports coupes of the 1970s — think Datsun Z-cars — with thoroughly modern direct-injection boxer engines bolted to a proper six-speed manual.

The engine, by the way, has a “square” bore and stroke of 86 X 86 mm, which means it’ll be suited to spinning at high RPM. Look for 197 horsepower and 151 pound feet of torque in a car not much larger than a Mazda MX-5 Miata. We figure it’ll be about 15 minutes before the tuners have these things making absurd amounts of power.

Small size. Light weight. Low center of gravity (boxer engine, remember?). Can you say insanely fun to drive? Oh yes.

Toyota, Subaru Sports Coupes Set Our Hearts Aflutter

The Subaru BRZ is essentially a carbon copy of the Toyota GT-86. The two automakers collaborated on the vehicles.

Perhaps equally important, these cars represent new directions for Subaru, which has never done a RWD vehicle, and for Toyota, which builds practical cars with zero personality. As Sam Smith notes over at MSN Autos, the GT 86 (first pic) suggests Toyota is waking from its long slumber. The GT 86 is Toyota building a car that stirs the soul, incites some passion. It is Toyota building a car, not an appliance.

Tetsuya Tada, the chief engineer on the GT 86, said as much in an excellent interview with Bertell Schmidt of The Truth About Cars:

“There is a Toyota standard for designing new cars,” he said. “This standard was to a large extent ignored. Why did we do this? There are cars that are accepted by a lot of people. Practical cars that are easy to drive and that do not break easily. These are standard Toyota cars. The 86 is not a car like that. We had to change our design approach for this car. We may have to do this again for other cars.”

Yes, please do. We need more cars like this — cars that are affordable, fun and soul-stirring.

Photos: Newspress


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