Subaru Australia has announced the long-awaited arrival of its BRZ two-door sports car, which will be available in strictly limited numbers and sold exclusively online.
The BRZ will be available from Monday in a single model grade, priced from $37,150 drive away for the manual and $39,730 drive away for the automatic.
Due to strong demand for the BRZ and its Toyota 86 twin both here and overseas, Subaru's initial allocation of cars is severely constrained.
Just 201 cars will touch Australian soil over the next six months, with 50 of those earmarked to serve as dealer demonstrators until the next allocation arrives in the first quarter of 2013.
A further 28 cars are also spoken for by buyers who've already laid down deposits, which, after we subtract the single car that Subaru Australia has kept for its own collection, leaves just 122 BRZs available for purchase until the end of this year.
So, already the BRZ looks destined to be a rare bird, or at least until the supply situation improves in 2013.
By Subaru Australia's conservative estimates, supply from the carmaker's Gunma plant in Japan (the sole production location for the 86/BRZ) may rise to 40 cars per month next year
Still modest numbers compared to Toyota's 200-odd units-per-month allocation.
To manage the influx of prospective buyers, Subaru has set up a dedicated BRZ page on its consumer website where customers can arrange test drives, configure their car, pay their deposit and keep tabs on the status of their order.
It's a novel approach, but whether it proves a success or a failure with dealers and/or consumers won't be determined until six months from now, when Subaru Australia conducts a review of the online ordering system.
There's the same 147kW an 205Nm FA20 2.0 litre flat-four, the same six-speed Aisin manual transmission, the same optional six-speed automatic, and the same Torsen limited-slip differential as the 86.
Brakes are also the slightly larger and thicker 294x24mm front and 290x18mm rear ventilated discs used by the 86 GTS.
Mechanically, the biggest difference is in the front suspension, which uses slightly firmer spring rates and a revised damper tune to limit body roll and reduce oversteer.
Exterior changes also include a unique front bumper, Subaru-specific headlamp jewellery and different fender vents.
Specification-wise, the BRZ is a close match for the high-grade Toyota 86 GTS. It gets bi-xenon headlamps, LED daytime running lamps, foglamps, dual-zone climate control, cruise control, keyless entry with push-button starter, 17-inch alloys and power folding wing mirrors.
All BRZs will carry a numbered plaque at the base of the gear shifter.
Cloth upholstery is standard, and the BRZ uses the same interior plastics as the Toyota 86.
There are some tweaks to the instrument cluster and dash trim though. The 365mm diameter steering wheel is also shared, but is fitted with a different horn pad.
There's no standard sat-nav or heated leather seats (both are available as cost options), but the BRZ holds an advantage over the 86 GTS thanks to its national drive-away price of $37,150, which compares favourably to the 86 GTS manual's retail price of $35,490 (plus on-road costs and charges).
Another ace up the BRZ's sleeve is that it will be sold with complimentary servicing for the first three years or 60,000km, whichever comes first.
- Subaru BRZ 6-speed manual: $37,150 drive-away
- Subaru BRZ 6-speed automatic: $39,730 drive-away
- Leather and alcantara heated front seats: $1500
The 2012 Subaru BRZ officially goes on sale at noon on Monday 16 June. Orders can only be placed via www.subaru.com.au
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