Subaru BRZ STI debuts at the 2011 LA Auto Show

The 2011 LA Auto Show brought the world the first good look of the high performance BRZ STI, Subaru’s offering from the vehicle family developed jointly with Toyota which will yield both Toyota and Subaru models, as well as a Scion model with the production debut slated for all of them planned for the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show.

Toyota has been showing off its version, named the FT-86 along with the Scion FR-S for a few months now with the most recent stop for the Scion version landing at SEMA but with the opening of the 2011 LA Auto Show, the North American market gets their first good look at the new rear wheel drive Subaru BRZ STI. The Subaru wears a unique front fascia with a flatter nose than the Scion FR-S with rounded headlights helping to give the BRZ its own look. The basic shape of the BRZ STI is pretty much identical to the Scion FR-S and Toyota FT-86 with sharp, angular lines over the front and rear wheels but out back the Subaru wears a large wing, much boxier taillights than the Scion Concept, and 4 large polished exhaust tips in a handsome contrasting splitter.

Subaru BRZ LA rear -
The Subaru BRZ STI Concept is powered by the same 2.0L Boxer engine and while specifications are still being withheld, we understand that this engine will be naturally aspirated with a bit of Toyota’s direct injection technology helping to improve the output of this Subaru engine. Many speculated the there would be a standard, non-turbocharged BRZ and a second version with the STI badging packing turbos and more power but based on what we see in LA, the BRZ STI may actually be naturally aspirated.

The other surprising aspect of the new Subaru BRZ STI is the rear wheel drive platform that it shares with the Toyota FT-86 and the Scion FR-S. Subaru has become well known for their high performance all wheel drive systems and even though BRZ stands for Boxer engine, Rear wheel drive, Zeta platform it comes as a shock to see a Subaru performance model that only spins two wheels. However, even with a rear wheel drive setup the Subaru BRZ STI is expected to be a serious performer with an extremely low curb weight and a perfect 50/50 weight distribution, it might not be a quarter mile monster but it should be able to handle the best of the world’s turns…or so we are lead to believe.

BRZ LA 2 - Subaru BRZ at L.A. auto show, side photo
The STI division of Subaru has added goodies to the new BRZ Concept like a sport tuned suspension, Brembo brakes, and some carbon fiber panels to further cut down the weight and enhance the handling capabilities. It also wears some bright silver 15-spoke, 18” wheels that look very much like something we would see on a production Subaru sports car wrapped in high performance rubber.

One thing to keep in mind is that Toyota and Subaru supposedly have a deal in building this joint boxer-powered rear wheel drive sports car that neither company will reveal any production body panels until all of the models make their production debut later this month at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show. That could mean that there will be minor appearance tweaks to what we have seen or when the production models of the BRZ, FT-86 and FR-S make their debut they could conceivably look a great deal different than anything that we have seen in the past year.

Subaru BRZ LA - Subaru BRZ at L.A. auto show

Official Subaru BRZ Press Release:

"SUBARU BRZ CONCEPT - STI -" to Debut at Los Angeles Auto Show

Tokyo, November 16, 2011 – Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. (FHI), the maker of Subaru automobiles, today unveiled the world premiere of "SUBARU BRZ CONCEPT - STI -" at the 2011 Los Angeles International Auto Show. (Press days on November 16 and 17. Open to public from November 18 to 27 in US)

The "SUBARU BRZ CONCEPT - STI -" is a concept car based on the "SUBARU BRZ", an all-new rear-wheel drive (RWD) compact sports car developed from an ongoing joint-project between Subaru and Toyota Motor Corporation. By making full use of the Horizontally-Opposed Boxer, Subaru's core technology, this concept car further pursued a "Pure Handling Delight" driving experience that can be realized by the Boxer engine's low center of gravity. Combined with motifs of Subaru's iconic performance brand "STI", the concept car embodies an ultimate handling performance and symbolizes the possibilities the SUBARU BRZ holds for the future.

• By installing the Boxer engine as low as possible, the low hood and sleek roofline together compose a sophisticated form. This is also blended with STI performance touches for a Subaru sporting profile.
• A hexagonal lower front grille, hawk eye headlights and fin-shaped fog lamps make the front face instantly recognizable as Subaru.
• STI-made lower front spoiler and rear wing magnify down-force and aerodynamics performance. They allow stable straight driving and excellent handling at high speeds.
• The rear design with bold rear fender flares, large rear-diffuser, and twin dual tailpipes intensifies the STI performance feel.
• A carbon-fiber roof, already installed in a WRX STI model and highly acclaimed, has been employed by the concept car. With it, extra weight reduction and an even lower center of gravity were achieved, contributing considerably to the ultimate handling performance this concept model aims to offer.
• The lively exterior color "WR Blue Pearl II" is a new generation of the iconic WR blue paint scheme that emphasizes the racing image.

• The Boxer engine has inherent qualities of light weight, compactness, low center of gravity, and high rigidity – all pointing toward its great potential as a sports car engine. Taking full advantage of these features, a 2.0-liter horizontally-opposed four-cylinder direct fuel-injection gasoline engine has been developed exclusively for BRZ.
• The engine has been designed with a square bore and stroke of 86 X 86 mm. Combined with Toyota's D-4S direct injection technology (fuel injection system), high output and high environmental standards were both attained, both expected of a new generation sports car.

Chassis and Body
• Compared with other Subaru models, the engine in SUBARU BRZ CONCEPT - STI - sits an impressive 120 mm lower and is positioned 240 mm closer to the center of the chassis. As a result, this car has achieved one of the lowest possible center of gravity in cars on the market today.
• By incorporating lightweight parts such as a carbon-fiber roof, the overall weight has been reduced. Subaru has also succeeded in attaining a body structure that is both lightweight and highly rigid in a striking balance. The concept car is the embodiment of pure driving enjoyment only obtainable with a "Boxer sports car".
• Its unique handling performance has been remarkably refined by adopting STI's lightweight 18-inch alloy wheels with performance tires and STI tuned suspension with excellent lateral stiffness.
• Brembo brakes enhance braking performance.

Major Specifications
Overall Length × Width × Height (mm): 4,230 × 1,800 × 1,280 Wheelbase (mm): 2,570
Engine Type: 2.0-liter direct fuel injection naturally-aspirated 4-cylinder
Horizontally-Opposed Boxer engine Tires: 215/45R18 (Front), 225/45R18 (Rear)

Check out the videos of the Subaru BRZ STI Concept Press Conference from the 2011 LA Auto Show

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