Toyobaru duo hits the bull’s eye
Mere days after the “official” unveiling at the Los Angeles Auto Show, followed by well-orchestrated first drives at Japan’s Sodegaura Forest raceway and Subaru’s Test and Development Centre in Tochigi, the verdict in in: the Toyobaru Triplets have hit the enthusiast bull’s eye.
The online reviews from Japan – especially the detailed reporting from Jonathon Ramsey and Michael Harley at autoblog – should serve as notice to other manufacturers that the Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ are actually cleverly engineered automotive stun grenades, designed to shake up the status quo in the entry-level performance market. When the dust settles, the Toyobarus will almost certainly snag a sizable chunk of sales in a segment that’s long been dominated by Asian and European FWD offerings and less sophisticated RWD American iron.
The specs tell part of the story: 200 hp @ 7,000 RPM and 151 pound-feet of torque @ 6,600 RPM from a 2.0-liter naturally-aspirated flat four that’s mounted low and snug to the firewall to keep the centre of gravity low; short-throw six-speed manual gearbox (six-speed auto available); rear-wheel drive with standard limited-slip differential; 2,700 lb. (estimated) curb weight; MacPherson struts up front, double wishbones at the rear.