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Unread 02-25-2012, 05:10 PM
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Default Subaru BRZ / Toyota FRS / FT86 Chassis Related Tech

Today Matt and I from Vorshlag and Brian from AST/Moton were able to preview a real live production 2013 Subaru BRZ Limited. This is the Subaru version of the joint Subaru/Toyota "FT86" chassis. I like Subaru a lot more than Scion, so that's what we wanted to see. The 40+ "pre-release pictures" that were taken by Vorshlag on Feb 25, 2012 start here. The BRZs go on sale in a week and should start arriving in early May.



The folks at Subaru of Plano only had the car for a day, and I had hoped to weigh this thing and get a "real number" on this car. Weight is key to everything for performance, to me. I've read these will be anything from 2600 to 2800 pounds. Big range there. We were also hoping to be able to pull off the front and rear wheels and measure strut and shock lengths as well as look at a few things like that up close. The guy in charge (some random car dealer there) said "no dice". We couldn't drive it, start it, move it, jack it up, but we could open the hood and trunk, and people were allowed to sit inside. Matt and I were the first ones at the dealership to see the car at 9 am today, and Brian Hanchey rolled up shortly after, followed by Sean Goodpasture and some other local folks that heard about this car being on display today.



We measured all sorts of things and Brian figured out what shocks and strut its going to take (a unique front strut, but not all THAT new), what camber plate it needs (Vorshlag already makes one that works perfectly - but it wasn't what I thought! I brought several we make and quickly figured out which Subaru chassis they stole the front suspension from), and verified some of the published numbers - like wheelbase (101"), total length (167"), etc. I also measured "outer track width" (from outer sidewall to sidewall, not center of tire) and it was over 68" wide, even with the skinny ass 215/45/17 tires! That's a good bit wider than an E36 BMW.



Take all of the "driving preview" impressions and throw them out the window, because they are meaningless - the factory tires coming on US models SUCK. These pathetic, skinny things are the same tires that come on a Toyota Prius... not kidding. As in "the opposite of performance tires". So it probably spins the rear tires easily and slides around like mad, but its likely making 0.7g lateral on these all weather, super-low-rolling-resistance microtires. Anyone that drives one of these on the factory rubber needs to know that it will make NO GRIP in bone stock form, but with a proper wheel and tire upgrade it should be considerably better. After crawling around and under it for 2 hours I know what its going to take to fit 17x9" wheels front and rear - it won't be super easy, but we'll make it happen, even if it means having a run of wheels custom made.



The car is begging for negative front camber, needs to be lowered at least 2", and is going to lose a considerable amount of weight with typical track/autocross prep. The rear muffler is a massive suitcase sized box, easily 50 pounds, and there's another resonator upstream (where a proper race muffler will easily fit). The exhaust routing is FUNKY - typical Subaru turbo car routing, with the driver's side manifold routed across the front of the motor (where a turbo would normally go) and into the passenger side, then routed back. Yuck! There will be a market for custom headers and full exhaust systems for NA cars, which should lose 60-80 pounds or more (in STX legal trim) in the exhaust alone.


Left: The BRZ engine is almost entirely behind front axle centerline. Right: AWD Impreza engine is almost entire in front of front axle centerline

What else... oh, the motor placement really is pretty much perfect, and this chassis was NEVER meant to be an AWD car. Engine is supposed to be 9" further back than a typical AWD Subaru boxer 4, and it looks more like 2 feet further back. The front axle centerline is almost lined up with the front of the motor, unlike most Imprezas and the like (see comparison above).



The strut tower bracing is simple yet super effective, with stand-offs welded to the strut towers and rods going to the firewall (no wacky top-mounted intercooler in the way); it would be easy to make a 3-point brace using the stock bolt holes. Engine bay is plenty long and wide - you could put an LS1 under the hood if you wanted to, but the oil pan would need surgery and the front of the V8 engine would sit pretty far forward. The battery is huge and begging for a lightweight replacement (-20 pounds). There's tons of room for a FMIC when they make a turbo version (maybe in a year or so). Front end cosmetics are good and the lighting is well done.

Interior... wow, they really did this right. Best looking interior for a 25 grand car I've ever seen. The plastics have nice tactile feel (more rubber like than plastic), and the Alcantara/leather seats in this "Limited" model were very nice. Shifter is in the right spot, the steering wheel can adjust for tilt and telescope, plenty of head room, plenty of interior width (not knocking shoulders with your passenger, like in an NA/NB Miata or Elise), and the materials are great.



The stock seats are awesome, and almost as good as the ones in the EVO X MR. Like the EVO seats, they won't work at all for fat guys (hey, calling it like it is - sorry) but you won't be tempted to swap them out for race seats unless it becomes a full-on caged race car. The height adjustment of the all-manual (thank you!) seats has a large range, and both Matt (vertically challenged) and I could each fit in the car with a race helmet on. The center stack on this Limited model had automatic climate control, and if it works like on other Subarus (as in: not well), I'd skip the Limited package and get the "base" model for $2K or so less. The auto climate control, heated seats, rear wing, and leather inserts on the seat edges are all that goes into this pricier Limited model... I'd pass, but its not a big deal either way (supposedly only a 16 pound difference between the US packages).



The total height of the roof was super short (comes up to the bottom of my rib cage), and shorter than any Subaru I've ever seen by a foot or more. The rear wing from the Limited package does sort of make the rear lines look "right", so it might be worth the extra bucks of this Limited package just to get that. Or add your own later.



The rear seat is... very limited. Small children or child seats, maybe. With me sitting fairly upright in my normal driving position, at 6'3" tall, the front seat back was 2-3" from touching the rear seat bottom (almost zero rear seat leg room). The front seat could slide back that extra few inches, to where the seats touch (zero rear leg room), and I had to really reach for the controls... so I suspect up to a 6'7" driver would fit - there is a lot of head room. With a slimmer seat bottom (custom floor bracket) even these tall folks could race the car with a helmet on. Surprisingly roomy up front... but not so much in the back seat. The rear seats fold flat and you can fit a set of wheels and tires there, though.



Not to mention, there's a full sized spare wheel and tire, and a scissor jack and tire iron back there. So figure on losing another 45 lbs when the "trunk junk" is removed. Whatever the actual weights end up being (if you take the middle of the range of weights I've seen published that might be ~2700 lbs?), figure you could take out another 100-175 pounds from exhaust, battery and trunk junk in STX autocross trim. And that's the only logical ST class it should go into - its close to the RX8's 2800 lb weight and 200 horsepower (and low torque), but has less tire room (245/40/17 should fit but 255/40/17 might be a tick too tall to clear up front and full lock).


This blue exterior color looked HAWT in the sunlight as it rolled in, super quietly

Should be fun tinkering with this thing, regardless. Matt has a deposit on one already, but not at Subaru of Plano - those jokers were taking $1000 non-nonrefundable deposits on a car they didn't know the prices of. And marking them up $900 over MSRP for "paint protection" dealer add-on crap, that you couldn't opt out of. Sleazeballs. "We're only getting 15 for the year!" I suspect the low production numbers predictions are total BS, but who knows. Its a $25K car - its not going to be super exclusive, you know? Once they start cranking these out, I think they will be made in "Miata like" numbers.

Again, all 40+ pictures I took are avilable here. I will post info and pics as soon as we get our hands on one - within the first hour of one arriving here at the Vorshlag shop it will be corner weighed, measured, disassembled, and the rest of the car will be dissected and weighed further. We have several new FT86 specific products in mind - some will be developed before it arrives, the rest soon after. I will share them during development, too.

Cheers,

Last edited by Faerus; 02-26-2012 at 07:45 PM.
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Unread 02-25-2012, 09:06 PM
dj06482 dj06482 is offline
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Default Re: Subaru BRZ / Toyota FRS / FT86 Chassis Related Tech

Great overview, thanks for sharing! Looking forward to the delivery of your BRZ, I'm also interested in getting a real weight.
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Unread 02-27-2012, 10:13 AM
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Default Re: Subaru BRZ / Toyota FRS / FT86 Chassis Related Tech

Great preview! I am bummed that you guys couldn't weigh it (not as much as you guys, I'm sure). According to the brochure (attached) on the U.S. website, it has a "curb weight" of 2762lbs, but that is a "preliminary estimate" per the fine print. I don't know if that includes a full tank of gas or what. The stuff I read indicates the Premium has all-seasons and the Limited would get summer tires. If that is indeed a final spec U.S. model, they may have changed their minds. I just don't understand that thinking. Matt, if you get one, you have to get the blue pearl color. It's insane that they go on sale in a week and they don't know the price yet. Maybe they will announce in a week. What I have read on pricing is around $24K for the Premium and $27K for the Limited.
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Last edited by Redwood; 02-27-2012 at 10:19 AM.
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Unread 02-27-2012, 10:49 AM
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Default Re: Subaru BRZ / Toyota FRS / FT86 Chassis Related Tech

I think the dealerships are still hurting from the tsunami. They are looking at this car like a savior and instead of letting it "play out", they look like drooling wolves. One guy told me they had 9 already sold. Another said they will only see 15 this year. Terry was told he'd be the first to buy one.

Then one of them tells me they only sold FOUR new cars last July. FOUR? No, really. So you know they are hurting to get a sales boost and make up for all the money they lost last year. And they want to do it with ONE car, the BRZ.

My bet is the "15" number is just to get people to jump on it, the paint package is just profit to make up for last year, and the reality is these things will be all over the place in 6 months. Easier to keep that a secret when there's so little (dealer) information around it.
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Unread 02-27-2012, 02:14 PM
Draco-REX Draco-REX is offline
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Default Re: Subaru BRZ / Toyota FRS / FT86 Chassis Related Tech

Great review. Answered some questions I had. I'm very interested in the thought of an exhaust system made with weight loss in mind. I'll be looking to see if any meet these targets you guys have set. Hopefully the "lightweight" nature of the car will make people more mindful of the weight of mods.
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Unread 02-27-2012, 03:15 PM
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Default Re: Subaru BRZ / Toyota FRS / FT86 Chassis Related Tech

Thanks for the info guys! This is minutia, but does the BRZ have the roof rack attachment points like BMWs, Porsches and Subarus?

Are you sure that's a full-size spare?

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Last edited by HIDGolf; 02-27-2012 at 03:27 PM.
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Unread 02-27-2012, 04:28 PM
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Default Re: Subaru BRZ / Toyota FRS / FT86 Chassis Related Tech

Quote:
Originally Posted by Draco-REX View Post
Great review. Answered some questions I had. I'm very interested in the thought of an exhaust system made with weight loss in mind. I'll be looking to see if any meet these targets you guys have set. Hopefully the "lightweight" nature of the car will make people more mindful of the weight of mods.
Yep. We're planning on making a "real" set of full length headers and after-header exhaust routed more efficiently towards the back, around the transmission tunnel on both sides, with a proper Y-pipe. and a lightweight rear system with the muffler mounted inside the tunnel. The stock stuff routed pretty weirdly (turbo style across the front), so this could lose a good bit of weight and unleash some horsepower.

Everything we do is always very very weight conscious.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HIDGolf View Post
Thanks for the info guys! This is minutia, but does the BRZ have the roof rack attachment points like BMWs, Porsches and Subarus?


I've gone back and looked at my pictures... and yes, there are "side channels" on both sides of the roof panel structure, so it might be possible. I did not see the little flip out panels that are made for this purpose, like on the cars you mentioned.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HIDGolf View Post
Are you sure that's a full-size spare?
Hehehe... that was kind of a joke, knocking on the skinny nature of the stock wheel/tire (17x7" with 215/45/17 tires). The spare is actually a temporary unit, but not that much skinnier than the stock set-up. Its going to weigh a good deal, being a steel wheel. More trunk junk that gets removed track-side.

The spare is a 135/80/16 tire...
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Unread 02-28-2012, 09:17 AM
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Default Re: Subaru BRZ / Toyota FRS / FT86 Chassis Related Tech

16" spare is hopeful for cheap snow wheels/tires!
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Unread 02-28-2012, 09:23 AM
Draco-REX Draco-REX is offline
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Originally Posted by Fair! View Post
Yep. We're planning on making a "real" set of full length headers and after-header exhaust routed more efficiently towards the back, around the transmission tunnel on both sides, with a proper Y-pipe. and a lightweight rear system with the muffler mounted inside the tunnel. The stock stuff routed pretty weirdly (turbo style across the front), so this could lose a good bit of weight and unleash some horsepower.

Everything we do is always very very weight conscious.
Very good to hear. I'll be keeping an eye out for it.


As far as dropping the car 2", what is your take on the motoiq conclusions about the stock geometry. It seems like lowering the car much will really mess with the car's handling at the upper limit.

http://www.motoiq.com/magazine_artic...cion-fr-s.aspx
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Unread 02-28-2012, 09:46 AM
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Default Re: Subaru BRZ / Toyota FRS / FT86 Chassis Related Tech

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Originally Posted by Draco-REX View Post
Very good to hear. I'll be keeping an eye out for it.


As far as dropping the car 2", what is your take on the motoiq conclusions about the stock geometry. It seems like lowering the car much will really mess with the car's handling at the upper limit.

http://www.motoiq.com/magazine_artic...cion-fr-s.aspx
It's no different than every other modern strut car out there. They all lose camber as they go beyond a horizontal control arm. Just like a Subaru (same suspension), you'll be limited on lowering it unless you can put roll center relocation kits on it. That or high spring rates to keep it from losing camber. Oh, and camber plates fix this too.
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