LA Show: Subaru BRZ vs Toyota FT-86

Feels like the Toyobaru coupe project has been going on for years, but we’re finally getting close to the point where the Subaru BRZand Toyota FT-86become a reality.

Here at the LA show Subaru is finally showing a STI-branded concept while Toyota – here under its US ‘youth’ brand Scion – has the latest take on the FT-86, known here as the FR-S. Both show real promise and tick all the PH boxes of light weight, rear-wheel drive and genuinely stunning lines. Both brands have had to make compromises to make the project work, Subaru dropping signature four-wheel drive and Toyota having to adopt the circa 200hp 2.0-litre direct-injection flat-four engine, but the result could well be the best of both worlds.

No bonnet scoop or 4WD but WR Blue prevails
No bonnet scoop or 4WD but WR Blue prevails
The STI BRZ here previews a promised production-ready version due to debut at Tokyo at the end of November. And in ‘WR Pearl Blue II’ and boasting a suitably lairy wing it looks the business, the boxer engine meaning a super-low bonnet line and the compact shape suitably pumped up and aggressive. Subaru boasts of the fact the engine sits 119mm lower and 238mm further back than the Impreza, underlining the improved weight distribution the layout brings. This STI version also boasts a carbon roof, Brembo brakes and special 18-inch wheels. Looks have usually come a fair way down the Subaru list of priorities but the BRZ is a real stunner and we can’t wait to get our hands on the real thing.

The Toyota FT-86/Scion FR-S alternative lo

A lightweight Lexus LFA you can actually afford?
A lightweight Lexus LFA you can actually afford?
oks more concept and less production-near reality but clearly shares much in the metal, especially around the rear quarters. But there’s a lot more going on up front, the arched wings rising proud of the bonnet and the whole package offering a real junior Lexus LFA look. Which is no bad thing.

Both should be with us in the metal by next summer. Can’t come soon enough.

P.H. O'meter

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Comments (35) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Hellbound 17 Nov 2011

  • marcosgt 17 Nov 2011

    Nice pics - Could do without the wing, imo.

    Quite nicely understated otherwise.


  • kambites 17 Nov 2011

    The wing on the Subaru is awful. Otherwise it's a nice looking car.

  • Hellbound 17 Nov 2011

    Removing the wing to give it a euro-style elegance is something most people would do, should be an optional extra though. Tick the STI box and then delete the rear spoiler.

    This car can't come soon enough!

  • OwenK 17 Nov 2011

    I think the BRZ STI looks lovely, they've done a great job with that.

    I've been following the BRZ/FT86 in detail for some time so just wanted to clarify that neither of the cars shown here will be exactly the same when they reach showrooms - they are both concept versions, although very similar to production. The BRZ is much closer (and the Scion concept has been around for some time) but a few bits will probably change, likely the rear end. As it is being built to a budget it is likely that all three (Subaru/Toyota/Scion) versions of the car will share all sheet metal panels and vary only on the plastic bumpers - the rear lights of the STI concept have a different top edge shape to that seen in the production FT86 photos, ie the part which interfaces with the metal quarter panels.

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