Original name: スバル BRZ プロローグ

”SUBARU BRZ” - Subaru’s Rear-Wheel Drive Sports Car

The Rear-Wheel Drive (RWD) Sports Car, which is currently under joint development with Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota), is named “Subaru BRZ”. It materializes both makers’ ambitions to offer a new generation sports car to a wider range of customers. Thanks to its “front-engine, rear-wheel drive layout”, further lowered centre of gravity, compact and lightweight body and shorter overhangs, Subaru BRZ delivers new ways to enjoy “Pure Handling Delight” driving experience. The car will be the only mass-produced front-engine, rear-wheel drive sports car in the world to be powered by a horizontally-opposed engine.

This new car is rooted in both companies’ engineering philosophy. Subaru’s engineering excellence - renowned for providing customers with “Enjoyment and Peace of Mind” - has been thoroughly applied to the car’s development. Subaru’s idea of a front-engine, rear-wheel drive layout that was previously used in Subaru’s first prototype passenger car, the “Subaru P-1”. The expertise acquired through the development of the “Subaru XT” and of the “Subaru SVX” coupe was also incorporated into the model’s development.

Subaru BRZ, the Subaru’s first mass-produced front-engine, rear-wheel drive sports car, is expected to roll off Subaru’s production lines in spring 2012.

Subaru’s Development Philosophy and the Rear-Wheel Drive Model

Ever since Subaru started building cars, its objective has always been to provide customers with enjoyment and peace of mind. Subaru’s development philosophy lies at the heart of each and every model ever produced, offering customers an assurance of driving “Confidence”. With such a focussed approach, Subaru has produced a range of unique and innovative vehicles that, for the last 45 years of automotive history, have consistently met customers’ requirements. These Subaru vehicles have featured Rear-Wheel, Front-Wheel and All-Wheel drivetrains.

Subaru developed its first prototype passenger car, the Subaru P-1, in 1954. To create a car that delivered a comfortable ride, Subaru determined that it needed to have an excellent suspension system and a lightweight, rigid body. To achieve this, a front-engine, rear-wheel drive layout was used for the drivetrain and chassis, and a full monocoque design for the body - the first of its kind in Japan. Powered by a 1.5-litre engine, the classic 4-door sedan Subaru P-1 prototype was produced in its dozens. Although it never made it to the market, the Subaru P-1 was considered at the forefront of innovative engineering. Some of the pioneering features of the Subaru P-1 included an independent wishbone suspension at the front, and a proprietary lightweight and rigid, full monocoque body design developed with the aid of aircraft technology born from the very origins of Subaru. Expertise and development philosophies that were raised during this time blossomed into a range of innovative ideas and advanced technologies that would later be applied to the development of the “Subaru 360”, Japan's very own mini car for the public at large. These key concepts also found their way into the “Subaru 1000”, the earliest Front-Wheel Drive model to be powered by Subaru’s first Horizontally-Opposed Boxer engine, and other All-Wheel Dive (AWD) models used as the base platform for passenger cars. Indeed, these concepts continue uninterrupted to this day with the subsequent development of Subaru’s current distinctive crossover models.

Technology Exhibit: “SUBARU BRZ PROLOGUE” - BOXER Sports Car Architecture II

There is a saying that “Form Follows Function”. Subaru BRZ Prologue - BOXER Sports Car Architecture II - is the perfect case in point. Subaru started to design this car with the engineering layout - a rear-wheel drive boxer engine - and had the design follow that function. Behind the new level of driving excitement and pleasure that the RWD Sports Car delivers is its new platform, built around Subaru’s key component, the Horizontally-Opposed Subaru Boxer engine and developed to maximize the performance required from a RWD Sports Car. The Subaru BRZ Prologue represents a proposal of Subaru’s new definition of driving excitement with pure handling delight.

Subaru Boxer engine

It is Subaru’s Boxer engine that lies at the heart of this Technology Exhibit. It is this engine’s lightweight, compact and low centre of gravity that grants the level of driving excitement that Subaru is aiming at, and is undoubtedly the best suited engine for the RWD Sports Car. The Subaru Boxer engine can be constructed of aluminium owing to its compact and rigid engine design, making for a much lighter power unit. Its low centre of gravity provides a high level of driving stability and remarkable handling. Since the piston’s opposing movements inherently counteract each other, no balance shaft is needed. This cancels out excess vibrations and gives the engine a sprightly, sporty feel at virtually any engine speed. As repeatedly validated through various racing programmes, the Subaru Boxer engine has underlying characteristics that make it suitable for sporty driving.

Subaru BRZ Prologue employs the totally new Subaru “FA” Boxer engine exclusively designed for the Subaru BRZ. The overall structure of this 2.0-liter naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engine has been renewed, by reviewing the bore and stroke to achieve sporty properties best-suited for the RWD Sports Car. In addition to its inherent qualities, the Subaru Boxer engine was mated with Toyota’s D-4S direction injection system, which further improved combustion efficiency, running smoothness up to high rpm and environmental friendliness.

Compared to other Subaru AWD models, which typically feature a low centre of gravity and optimum weight balance, the engine in the Subaru BRZ Prologue is sitting 120 mm lower and positioned 240 mm closer to the centre of the chassis for the lowest possible centre of gravity. This feature further improves stability and driveability. The resulting lowered driving position enhances the sporty driving feeling and guarantees pure handling delight. Design wise, the lowered engine hood contributes to achieving the overall low and sleek silhouette expected of a true sports car.

Optimised Chassis Layout

Another important factor that enables the Subaru BRZ to deliver driving performance befitting of a Subaru is its unique chassis. Rather than developing a frame and body that focuses purely on speed, development has been conducted to produce a chassis that delivers the full range of Subaru’s authentic features; the sporty driving experience is part an overall stable and enjoyable ride, providing confidence as the vehicle responds exactly to the driver’s input. Subaru’s distinctive suspension setup has been used, incorporating struts at the front, and a double-wishbone layout at the rear, to provide outstanding stability and control. The Subaru BRZ does not rely solely on engine power output; maximises the potential of this newly developed chassis to deliver sporty performance as driver and vehicle work in unison.

As the engine was lowered and moved toward the centre of the chassis, the overall chassis performance proves remarkably exciting and provides a natural feel when cornering. The short front and rear overhangs reduce yaw moment of inertia, resulting in agile, stable and manageable handling performance of a true sports car.

At the heart of the RWD’s exceptional drivability lies Subaru’s proprietary Boxer engine expertise. Subaru’s RWD Sports Car’s platform technology adds a completely new package to complement its existing AWD platform. The “Subaru BRZ Prologue” was engineered with more than just speed and performance in mind; it was designed to attract more drivers to enjoy Subaru’s new approach to driving pleasure, enjoyment and peace of mind and to experience the sense of confidence that owning a Subaru can provide.

Major Specifications of “SUBARU BRZ PROLOGUE” - BOXER Sports Car Architecture II

Body size (Overall: Length x Width x Height): 4,200 x 1,770 x 1,270 mm

Wheelbase: 2,570 mm

Engine: Subaru Boxer “FA” engine - 2.0-liter naturally-aspirated four-cylinder Horizontally-Opposed Boxer engine

Tire size: 215/45R17

SOURCE: Subaru