The all-new, rear-wheel drive Subaru BRZ sports car made its United States debut today at the North American International Auto Show at Cobo Hall in Detroit. Arriving in Subaru dealerships this spring, the BRZ delivers pinpoint handling precision and an unmatched driving experience for sports car enthusiasts of all skill levels.
Subaru developed the BRZ with the fundamental of sports car design in mind: low vehicle weight, an ultra-low center of gravity and precision steering. Utilizing Subaru's naturally aspirated 200 horsepower horizontally opposed (BOXER) engine design is a sports car that does not sacrifice everyday comfort and practicality. With 2+2 seating and folding rear seats, cargo space is sufficient to transport four race tires and tools to track days. Combined with the Subaru brand's renowned safety and quality, the BRZ is a sports car with practicality as well as performance.
Key to Sports Car Handling: Low Weight and Ultra-Low Center of Gravity
The recent sports car trend has been to focus on "ultimate" power, luxury and performance. As a result, many sports cars have grown heavier and more expensive. Seeking a pure sports car for road and track driving Subaru followed a purist approach to engineering the 2013 BRZ.
Using a large proportion of high-tensile steel, with aluminum for the hood, the 2013 Subaru BRZ weighs an estimated 2,762 pounds for the U.S production models, making it the lightest closed rear-wheel drive sports car in the U.S. market today. Comparing the BRZ to a few notable current sports cars, the BRZ weighs about 160 pounds less than the Porsche Cayman, about 300 pounds less than the Lotus Evora and is more than 500 pounds lighter than a Hyundai Genesis coupe.
Critical to its agile handling, the Subaru BRZ has one of the lowest centers of gravity of any production car in the world at just 18.1 inches. The Subaru BOXER engine design, with its inherently low height and its mass concentrated low in the package, contributes to a low center of gravity in all Subaru models. For the BRZ, Subaru took maximum advantage of this characteristic. A rear-wheel drive configuration allows placement of the engine lower and farther back in the BRZ than in any other Subaru model in order to attain the best possible center of gravity and polar moment of inertia. Compared to the all-new Subaru Impreza, for example, the BRZ's BOXER engine sits 9.5 inches farther back. Moving the engine closer to the center of the chassis also helped make the BRZ itself quite compact, at just 166.7 inches long on a 101.2-inch wheelbase.
The all-new Subaru FA-Series 2.0-liter Boxer engine was engineered specifically for the BRZ to help achieve the car's "ultra-low center of gravity package." The engine was made more compact than the FB 2.0-liter Impreza engine by such means as developing a shorter intake manifold and a shallower oil pan. Compared to the FB 2.0-liter engine in the Subaru Impreza, the engine in the BRZ is mounted about 2.4 inches lower, but due to the engine's lower overall height it sits 5 inches lower overall. In addition, under-hood components were located to optimize the car's balance, including tilting the radiator back 17 degrees and moving the battery to the back of the engine compartment.
All-new 200-Horsepower BOXER Engine
The Subaru BRZ is powered by an all-new FA-Series BOXER engine that is not shared with other Subaru models. Fundamental to true sports car character, the 2.0-liter engine combines light weight with high strength, high compression and high-revving responsiveness. The 4-2-1 exhaust exits with dual outlets, and the system has been tuned for a throaty sound. Directing some of the intake sound into the cabin also adds to the performance-tuned feeling of the car.
The Subaru BRZ engine has a true "square" architecture, meaning that its bore and stroke dimensions are each the same, in this case 3.38 inches (86mm). That gives the BRZ engine a quick-revving nature, with a 7,400-rpm redline. Yet, the engine's broad torque curve, which peaks at an estimated 150 lb.-ft. and offers a strong midrange, makes the BRZ feel responsive in daily driving.
The Subaru BRZ BOXER engine employs the Toyota D-4S fuel injection system, which uniquely combines direct injection and port injection technology. A direct-type fuel-injection system, which sprays fuel directly into the combustion chambers rather than upstream into the ports, provides a cooling effect in the cylinders. That enables use of a very high compression ratio (12.5:1 for the Subaru BRZ engine) to extract maximum energy from the fuel. In light- and medium-load conditions, the system's port fuel injectors help produce precise combustion, increasing performance and efficiency.
Choice of Six-Speed Transmissions
The driving enthusiast can choose between a new six-speed manual and optional six-speed automatic transmission in the 2013 Subaru BRZ. Both transmissions have been engineered and tuned to maximize performance and driving feel. The six-speed manual presents the driver with a short-throw shift lever, and the pedals have been optimized for "heel-and-toe" downshifting. Triple-cone synchronizers on first through third gears help ensure durability. Clutch effort and pedal rake, as well, have been tuned to make this an ideal sports car manual shift.
The optional paddle-shift six-speed automatic transmission offers no-compromise performance in the Subaru BRZ. The driver can select Sport mode from a switch on the center console for quicker, firmer automatic shifts. Or, the driver can move the console mounted shifter from "D" to "M" and then shift manually using the shifter handle or the steering wheel paddle shifters. Downshift blipping control enhances the more direct sports car experience.
All-New Subaru Platform
The Subaru BRZ is built on an entirely new platform and shares just a few parts with other Subaru models, but shares suspension architecture with the new Impreza and WRX STI. Effective use of high-tensile steel in the car's upper structure contributes to its low center of gravity. Chassis tuning takes maximum advantage of the BRZ's ultra-low center of gravity and high-strength body structure.
The front suspension uses struts and coil springs to keep weight low. The front struts were mounted low and optimized for a low hood line while retaining a long stroke for ideal handling and ride quality. The new, exclusively designed double-wishbone rear suspension system provides outstanding bump absorption to enhance tire grip over varied surfaces. Electric power steering, which reduces weight and load on the engine compared to hydraulic power steering, has been tuned for excellent feedback. The quick 13:1 steering ratio and 14.4-inch diameter steering wheel endow the Subaru BRZ with extremely quick steering response.
The BRZ, like all current Subaru models, employs the brand's proven Ring Shaped Reinforcement Frame body structure for occupant safety. Giving the BRZ a stiff body structure and ultra-low center of gravity allowed Subaru to tune the suspension for both agility and compliant ride quality. That tuning, along with the car's low weight, allowed Subaru to specify 215/45R17 tires that reduce wheel/tire weight and therefore unsprung weight. A standard TORSEN® limited-slip differential helps the inside wheel maintain traction during hard cornering. For track driving, the standard Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) stability and traction system offers the driver five different settings.
Design: Thoroughly Modern Sports Car Meets Classic GT
The Subaru engineering that yields the ultra-low center of gravity in the BRZ also made it easy for designers to craft a very low-slung coupe body. A low height of just 50.6 inches, combined with a swept-back roofline, bulging front fenders, short overhangs and pronounced rear haunches give the BRZ a decidedly lean, athletic stance. There is some homage to classic GT-type sports cars without resorting to "retro" design cues. At the same time, the car's hawk eye headlights, hexagonal lower grille and six-star ornament instantly convey Subaru identity.
The Subaru BRZ subscribes to a simple, elegant approach to interior design, with a focus on driver involvement through easy-to-use controls. The bolstered front sport seats were designed just for this car. The driver faces an easy-to-see instrument panel featuring a large, center-mounted tachometer with an analog speedometer to its left. The tachometer integrates a digital speedometer, and the fuel and temperature gauges are positioned to the right of the tachometer.
The one-piece rear seatback lowers to expand the space offered in the 6.9 cubic-foot trunk. With the seatback down, the cargo area can hold two standard golf bags. Drivers who enjoy slalom or track events can also fold the rear seatback and have room for four wheels, a helmet and basic supplies and still have room for the front passenger. The rear seats can accommodate front-facing child seats.
Production of the Subaru BRZ is conducted at Subaru's Gunma, Japan assembly plant. Subaru produces a full line of all-wheel drive sedans, crossovers and SUV's, and adding the BRZ sports car to its portfolio showcases the brand's penchant for engineering vehicles that offer excellent road manners
2013 Subaru BRZ Specifications
Vehicle 2+2 sports car
Engine 4-cyl. horizontally opposed (Boxer), alloy cylinder block and cylinder heads
Bore x Stroke 3.38 in. x 3.38 in (86mm x 86mm)
Compression ratio 12.5:1
Horsepower 200 HP
Torque 150 lb.-ft.
Fuel system Toyota D-4S direct fuel injection and port injection system
Valvetrain Double overhead chain-driven camshafts (DOHC), 4 valves per cylinder, dual Active Valve Control System (DAVCS) controls valve timing on intake and exhaust camshafts
Transmission Standard: 6-speed manual with short-throw shifter Optional: 6-speed automatic with steering wheel paddle shifters and downshift blipping control Limited-slip rear differential is standard for all.
Stability/traction control Vehicle Stability Control with traction control and five settings
Suspension 4-wheel independent Front: MacPherson-type struts, lower L-arms, coil springs, stabilizer bar Rear: Double wishbone, coil springs, stabilizer bar
Wheels 17 x 7 aluminum alloy
Brakes 4-wheel ventilated disc
Exterior Dimensions (in.)
Curb weight (lbs.) Estimated for U.S. model: 6-speed manual: 2,762
Specifications are preliminary and subject to change.