We have it on good authority that Subaru finally will show a version of its new BRZ sports car—with sheetmetal!—at November’s Los Angeles auto show. It won’t look like the final product, however, and neither do Toyota’s two FT-86 concepts: The companies have an agreement not to show a single production body panel until the cars debut at Tokyo in December. That’s why all we’ve seen thus far are chassis studies from Subaru and, from Toyota, concepts with angry fillips, exaggerated diffusers, and hyper-sculpted haunches. Expect a crazy body treatment to apply to this new Subaru concept, too, as there’s a chance it will wear the brand’s high-performance STI badge. (Whether the actual car will get an STI version is still unknown, but this seems like a good sign.)
We also learned some interesting things about the car’s development. Subaru says that it initially approached Toyota with several ideas for collaboration; a sports car was just one of them. Toyota plucked that project from the list and insisted that it be rear-wheel drive, a requirement to which Subaru obviously agreed. (There will be no all-wheel-drive version, which will make it just the second front-engined, RWD Subaru. The first was also the company’s very first car, the mid-’50s 1500, of which fewer than two dozen were built.) Styling was handled by Toyota, while engine and chassis development landed on Subaru’s plate. This has Subaru saying the car is essentially a Subaru product with a Toyota variant. Toyota, for its part, has no comment on any of this.
Some other tidbits:
-While most of the details remain unofficial, conversations we had at the Frankfurt auto show have us more confident than ever that the car’s 2.0-liter, direct-injected, naturally aspirated boxer four will make 200 hp, and use a Subaru block with heads that incorporate Toyota’s port-and-direct-injection system.
-Expect the Scion to come in a low-content version, in keeping with that brand’s strategy of selling blank sheets for customization. There will, of course, be a ton of accessories. The Subaru BRZ, on the other hand, will have more stuff from the factory.
-Subaru officials claim the BRZ has a center of gravity about 17.7 inches from the ground, putting it—in this one regard—in the arena of cars like the Porsche Cayman and Ferrari 458 Italia.
-Subaru will build both the BRZ and the Toyota (global) and Scion (U.S.) versions at its plant in Gunma, Japan, starting next spring.
-Expect the only aesthetic differences to come via the front fascias; the pair will share sheetmetal. The Toyota and Scion will be exact twins save for the badges.
-Transmissions, as we’ve previously reported, will be a six-speed automatic and a six-speed manual. No CVT, thank goodness.