It’s been fifteen years since Subaru last sold a two-wheel-drive product in Australia, but the rear-drive BRZ coupe has now been officially confirmed for our local market next year.
When the BRZ was unveiled in Tokyo last month, journalists pestered Subaru Australia MD, Nick Senior, to import its Toyota 86-twin coupe. Senior responded by peering under the front wheelarch of the BRZ and commenting “ahh, no front driveshaft”. The implication was that without drive going to all corners, the BRZ simply wouldn’t fit with the hugely successful ‘symmetrical all-wheel-drive’ marketing strategy that Subaru Australia has employed since 1997.
“The decision to import the BRZ wasn’t taken lightly,” announced Senior this morning. However the man running Subaru’s local arm cited three reasons why the decision to import the BRZ was made. “The passion and persuasion of the FHI engineers involved in the project was telling. They have poured their DNA into this car, so it drives like a Subaru. And because it is built in our spiritual home in Gunma prefecture, it has to be a Subaru.
“Secondly, the testing and development we have undertaken for the Australian market has left me in no doubt that this is a Subaru specifically for our unique Australian conditions.
“Thirdly, we have been overwhelmed by the response to the BRZ since its unveiling in Tokyo. People have been pleading for us to bring the BRZ into the country. Dealers have been astonished at the level of interest.”
How Subaru prices the BRZ against its identical-twin Toyota 86 remains to be seen. Toyota is on record saying it hopes to bring its 86 to Australia with a sub-$40K sticker. For Subaru, that is bang-on turbo-four, all-drive WRX money…