Car enthusiast are much like audiophiles, the debate always rages on which is better, the way things were, tube amps and vinyl or the latest digital processing and 24/96 recordings. Gear heads debate manual transmissions and traction control with your right foot versus the latest DSG’s and active driver aides.
While in the automotive world all the latest technology might enable you to get around a racetrack faster, the question is, are you having as much fun doing it? When the computer is making a majority of the decisions, is the driver as engaged? The Subaru BR-Z will answer that question!
With the new Subaru BRZ it’s back to basics where the DRIVER is the most important thing. Pure driving enjoyment is at the core of this sports car. Rear wheel drive, manual transmission, tires that allow you to truly feel whats going on with the road through the steering wheel, nothing gets in the way of being one with the car and the driving experience.
Powering the BRZ is a 2 liter Boxer four cylinder producing 200 horsepower! That’s 200 naturally aspirated horsepower, no turbos, no superchargers, just pure mechanical power, and 100 horsepower per liter is usually something found only on exotic sports cars, not something that costs $26,000!
It’s a brand new car from scratch, which is a rare thing these days. The product is a result of the collaboration between Subaru and Toyota. As suspected, both companies have had specific tasks within this joint project. Toyota has been responsible for the design and has lent its direct injection technology to the engine. Subaru has done pretty much everything else. This is good news as we know Subaru can build great cars.
The engine is mounted so low that Subaru believes it has a lower center of gravity than the Ferrari 458. A low engine is not only great for handling, but it also means that the driver can be seated lower. The driver’s seat is definitely the place to be. Once on the road, the moment you pull the steering wheel off-center, you notice how rapidly and accurately the BR-Z responds to driver inputs. The weight distribution is not quite 50/50; Subaru engineers will only admit that less than 60 percent of the car’s mass is over the front axle, and the chassis has been set up for mild understeer. But there’s no mistaking the agility borne of low mass, slung low.
If you consider yourself a driver, and enthusiast, a gearhead, then the Subaru BRZ has been designed for you. It’s not a car that can only be experienced at a race track, though it’s happy to do so, it’s a car that you look forward to driving every day, on any road that you can find.
by Todd Todd Bianco ACarIsNotARefrigerator.com
In any constellation, some stars appear brighter than others. In the constellation of Fuji Heavy Industries, Ltd. – one of Japan’s largest industrial companies – its subsidiary, Subaru, is that shining star.
Literally and figuratively, Subaru, which is the Japanese word for the Pleaides – has been a rock star in the depressed auto sales environment spawned by the collapse of the economy in 2008. Over the past few years, Subaru has seen double-digit sales increases and 2011 was its best year ever.
Perhaps it’s Subaru’s legendary reliability or perhaps its just that the company stayed laser-focused on its core “outdoor lifestyle vehicles” for its rabidly-loyal customers. Whatever the reason, there is no argument that Subaru has hit a successful formula that continues to resonate with hard-core enthusiasts as well as more recent members of the Subaru family.
If you know nothing about Subaru, you should know that it has two defining traits. First, it’s the only mass-market auto manufacturer that uses flat boxer engines in all its vehicles. (Porsche uses boxer engines in its sports cars, but not its other products.) And that boxer engine always drives all four wheels to form what Subaru calls symmetrical all-wheel drive.
Here’s an animation of how the Subaru boxer engine and symmetrical all-wheel drive work:
While Subaru is a popular niche brand in the Southland, you really need to drive up to Big Bear, Mammoth or anywhere in the Pacific Northwest to appreciate how many people choose a Subaru over other AWD cars. The first time I went to Jackson Hole, I was amazed by the number of people (full-time residents) who had a big 4-wheel drive pickup or SUV and a Subaru wagon in their driveways.
The Impreza has been Subaru’s humble entry-level car for many years. For 2012, while Honda and Toyota played it safe with subtle evolutions of their core products, Subaru took a quantum leap with the Impreza. The body, while remaining almost identical in size to the outgoing model, received new creased and crisp sheet metal and the interior lost much of the cheap-looking plastics in favor of more tailored, textured and soft-touch materials.
Beneath the handsome new metal (with nicely detailed wheel wells) is Subaru’s new 2.0L boxer engine making a relatively modest 148 hp 145 lb-ft of torque. The new engine sheds half a liter and 22 horsepower, but you’d never know it because its power and torque is managed much more efficiently by the new Lineartronic CVT (continuously variable transmission) that replaces the old-school four-speed automatic. Both a 5-speed manual and the CVT are available, but the CVT is the only transmission offered on the top-line Limited model.
Subaru claims a zero to 60 mpg time of 9.8 seconds, 0.3 seconds faster than the last Impreza that had a more powerful engine. While it’s not glacial, it’s 1/10th of a second slower than a standard Prius. It did seem quick off the line, but it takes a bit more time and effort for the engine to achieve highway speed.
The big news, however, is that fuel economy jumped from a decidedly uncompetitive 20 mpg city, 26 mpg highway to 27 mpg city, 36 mpg highway. That stunning 30% increase instantly makes Subaru competitive with other subcompact cars, even while sporting the heavier AWD hardware not available on any competitor like the Honda Civic or Ford Focus.
The new Impreza has a smaller gas tank (14.5 gallons), but with the boosted fuel economy, it still has a potential cruising range of more than 500 miles.
The base 2012 Impreza 2.0i sedan is $17,495. Additional trim levels are Premium and Limited. Add $500 for the 5-door version and $1,000 for the 5-door Sport. I wanted to test the much more rakish and desirable 5-door Sport Limited model; but those are so popular, dealers can’t keep them in stock.
My gracious host at Subaru Pacific had a loaded Limited sedan (MSRP $24,895) ready for me to test. The standard Lineartronic CVT produces the best fuel economy. The sedan is identical to the 5-door/Sport model from the B-pillar forward, so both should have the same driving characteristics.
First, I’d like to state for the record that I’m not a big fan of CVTs. CVTs are a bit buzzy and the mechanical shifts I like to feel when driving are missing. That said, Subaru’s CVT is pretty advanced and civilized. Humming and complaining was reserved for heavy acceleration. However, in normal stop-and-go city traffic and highway speed cruising, the transmission works well and is unobtrusive.
The Lineartronic’s “M” mode gives the driver the feel and control of a 6-speed automatic. Handsome silver paddle shifters behind the steering wheel engage the fun. The LCD information screen between the analog gauges displays the number corresponding to the “gear” you feel you’re in. Slick stuff, but it’s more of a gimmick than useful. You’ll find yourself just leaving it in Drive and saving the manual mode for a steep decline.
The four-wheel independent suspension with double wishbones in the rear and MacPherson struts up front absorb rough surfaces better than in the past and the overall architecture is 110 pounds lighter (mostly from engine weight) and more rigid. Subaru added some sound-deadening materials that makes the cabin a place where you can hold a normal conversation at highway speeds, even if there is some road noise.
Standard 4-wheel antilock disc brakes (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) grab the wheels with assurance. Some cars in this class are still cutting costs with rear drum brakes. Of course, there are loads of airbags and the standard electronic nannies of traction control (TCS) and vehicle dynamics control (VDC) and the IIHS awarded the 2012 Impreza its Top Safety Pick rating.
Driving the new Impreza is an uncomplicated experience. As I discussed above, it’s not fast, but it is quick off the line which is good for city driving. There is no torque steer, thanks to the AWD and the 50/50 split torque management system. The electric power steering is light and easy, if a bit vague. It tracked dead straight with my hands off the wheel. It also had a great turning radius (34.8 feet) that allowed me to do doughnuts in the Porsche Pacific parking lot.
The little Subie’s low CG and stiffer structure help keep it flat and controlled in corners — this is no Costa Concordia. Visibility was excellent due to a low belt-line and the new higher seating position.
Creature features are present too. There is the usual power windows, mirrors and remote locking. Leather trimmed seats are standard on the Limited model, as is the effective single-zone automatic climate control, automatic headlights and two-level heated front seats for those chilly mornings.
The back-lit analog instruments are easy to read and a vertical LCD screen between the two gauge displays the gear and fuel level was well as information from the multi-function trip computer including ambient temperature, average fuel economy and time. A 4.3″ horizontal LCD screen centered on top of the dash also displays information from the mufti-function trip computer.
The Limited trim level includes a 6-speaker single-CD audio system with USB/iPod/AUX and power port (under the armrest) and Bluetooth hands-free connectivity.
The $2,000 Moonroof + Navigation Package on my tester added a power moonroof, GPS touch-screen navigation, an upgraded audio system with HD radio, iTunes tagging, XM Satellite Radio, XM Real-Time Traffic, Bluetooth 2.0 audio streaming, an SD card reader (music only) and SMS text messaging capabilities.
The center dash console is decidedly uncluttered and mercifully free of fake plastic wood. I liked the dark graphite plastic surround and the aluminum-look horizontal blades on either side.
Only three buttons adorn the left side of the navigation screen Audio, Voice Control and Map. Simple, yes, but I was looking for a dedicated telephone button. All radio functions are performed through the touch-screen, but I think physical shortcut buttons for AM/FM/Sat/Aux would be helpful. Redundant audio and telephone controls are on the steering.
My car was equipped with the optional $250 auto-dimming rearview mirror with digital compass and HomeLink garage opener. I love the compass and ditching the garage door opener clipped to the visor tidies things up. It can be factory-ordered or dealer-installed.
Of course, I have a few gripes. I would have liked more legroom and additional driver’s seat adjustments. The good news is that I was able to sit behind myself, and I had the front seat as far back as could go for my 6 foot 1 inch frame. In fact, the 2012 Impreza added one inch to the wheelbase which helped engineers add two inches of rear leg room. This is much appreciated space in a small car.
The door plastics were still hard, although textured. The dash cowl was covered with softer plastic, more in line with the competition. I give Subaru props for the effort, but compared to the competition, there is room for improvement.
The 6.1 inch navigation screen looks small compared to the 7 inch screen in the Hyundai Elantra and the 8 inch one in the Focus. However, the full color graphics were sharp and the touch screen was responsive. I’d also like a backup camera.
So here’s the deal: A fully-loaded Impreza is just slightly more than a similar Civic or Elantra. But only Subaru delivers as standard equipment, its reliable, proven symmetrical all-wheel drive with a new, efficient boxer engine and a CVT.
The Verdict: The 2012 Impreza is a fun, economical and versatile little car that can take you places no other subcompact dare go. And based on 2012 Impreza sales – a 58% increase in December 2011 alone – I’d say the secret is out.
Note: If you want something with more ground clearance, something in the crossover category, the 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek, based on the 2012 Impreza platform and drivetrain, is coming in a few months.
Borrowing styling cues from the larger Legacy, the all-new 2012 Subaru Impreza has crisp character lines and pronounced wheel arches that give it a more beefy stance. Compared to previous generations, the car has shed its cute quirkiness in favor of a more conventional three-box sedan and 5-door hatch silhouette.
Right off the bat, you might notice another interesting detail as the outside rearview mirrors have been moved off the door glass to the door itself. As a result, forward visibility is greatly enhanced due to the large fixed quarter windows, low beltline and A-pillars made thinner through the use of high-strength steel. Inside, the passenger space is larger than before, thanks in part to a slightly longer 104.1-inch wheelbase. An all-new dashboard features more upscale materials and design than previously, including a new navigation system display.
Under the hood, an all-new 2.0-liter BOXER four that not only feels more responsive than the 2.5-liter unit it replaces, but also delivers superior fuel economy. In fact, Subaru boasts 27 mpg city/36 mpg highway ratings that are the highest for a vehicle equipped with all-wheel-drive, which is standard across the line. The engine is rated at 148 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 145 lb-ft of torque at 4,200 rpm. Transmission options include either a CVT or a 5-speed manual gearbox. The CVT used in the Impreza is not the same as the one found in the Legacy or Outback. It is one that has been tuned for specific integration with the new 2.0-liter engine in order to deliver a more linear feel to the acceleration and minimize the elasticity to the drivetrain. Best of all is the ability to use paddle shifters in a manual mode to operate the CVT through six distinct gear ranges.
Subaru will offer the 2012 Impreza in five trim configurations: base, Premium, Sports Premium, Limited and Sports Limited. Base models feature power windows and locks, an outside temperature gauge and a trip computer, while Premium trim adds 16-inch alloy wheels, steering wheel audio and Bluetooth controls, a rear stabilizer bar and a handful of other upgrades. Heated seats and a moonroof are optional for Premium models. Sports trim adds 17-inch alloy wheels, heated seats, fog lamps, roof rails and revised seat trim. Options for Limited include leather seats.
Pricing begins at $17,495 for the base. The base 5-door can be had for $17,995, while the most expensive model, a Sports Limited model, tops out at just over $24,000 with all the options. The 2012 Subaru Impreza is scheduled to arrive in showrooms this month. Continue to follow us on Twitter or check in on our Facebook page to find out as soon as the first one arrives. Or contact us to have one of our sales consultants contact you personally.
The production version of its all-new, rear-wheel drive 2013 Subaru BRZ sports car will make its United States debut at the North American International Auto Show at Cobo Hall in Detroit on January 9th. The BRZ will add a new product line to the hot Subaru brand, which announced its fourth consecutive year of sales growth and a new all-time vehicle sales record for 2011.
The 2013 BRZ, which arrives in Subaru dealerships in late spring, was designed with one goal in mind—exceptional handling. To reach that goal, Subaru engineers developed a chassis that would deliver the lowest center of gravity (CoG) possible utilizing the excellent packaging of the brand’s Boxer engine design.
An all-new naturally aspirated 2.0-liter, 200-horsepower horizontally opposed (Boxer) engine was created. The new FA engine was developed to be more compact so that it could be placed lower and farther back in the chassis. To achieve the low CoG, a rear-drive layout was deemed necessary so the engine could be mounted as low as possible in the chassis. The engine placement allows for low polar moment and near-perfect balance for pure sports car handling.
With a low vehicle weight of just over 2,700 lbs., the direct injected 2.0-liter provides quick acceleration as it revs to its 7,400 RPM redline. The Subaru BRZ is available with either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission.
With a height of just 50.6 inches, swept-back roofline, bulging front fenders, short overhangs and pronounced rear haunches give the sleekly styled BRZ a lean, athletic stance. The Subaru BRZ will offer everyday comfort and practicality with 2+2 seating and expandable trunk space, along with the brand’s renowned safety and quality.
As many of you know Subaru Pacific is the latest addition to the LAcarGUY family of dealers. People have asked why it is we chose Subaru as the next brand to add to the family, and the answer is, Subaru’s Corporate policies towards the environment and charitable giving and involvement are 100% in line with the core values of LAcarGUY.
The “Share the Love” event, takes place on Facebook, and in dealerships like Subaru Pacific across the nation. Subaru is donating $250 for every new Subaru leased or purchased from November 19 until January 3, pledging up to 5 million dollars in total support for these great charities.
By “Liking” Subaru on Facebook, and voting for one of the five charities, ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention and Cruelty of Animals,) American Forests, Meals on Wheels of America, Make a Wish Foundation,and Special Olympics, Subaru will allocate up to an additional $250,000 in support for these charities.
By clicking the “Share the Love” tab you can vote for your which of the five charities you’d like to support and the charity will receive a $1 donation from Subaru
“Share the Love is rooted in our commitment to our customers and the causes they care about the most,” said Alan Bethke, director, marketing communications, Subaru of America. “We are pleased to continue the program for a fourth year and are excited about the expansion to the Facebook community.”
2011 “Share the Love” Charitable Beneficiaries
Facebook community voters and consumers who purchase or lease a new Subaru vehicle during this year’s
event can designate donations to any of the following organizations:
American Forests: restores and protects rural and urban forests worldwide. It is the oldest national
conservation nonprofit in the country and the only one focused exclusively on forests.
animals from abuse, pass humane laws and share resources with shelters across the country.
Make-A-Wish Foundation: grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions. It has
granted more than 212,000 wishes in the United States since 1980.
Meals On Wheels Association of America: provides national leadership to end senior hunger, offering
home-delivered-meal services to people in need.
Special Olympics: provides year-round sports and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports
for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.
With the recent flooding throughout the northeast United States, the importance of storm water management is even more paramount. That is why Subaru of America has taken the initiative to install two rain gardens, the first of which was installed on October 13 at at company headquarters in Cherry Hill. The second one will be installed sometime this month at the offices in Pennsauken, NJ. These two rain gardens will help reduce runoff, including nutrients and pollutants, into surrounding rivers and streams, such as the Cooper River that runs along the edge of the Subaru headquarters grounds. Subaru worked in partnership with the Camden County Soil Conservation District and the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Rutgers University to install the rain gardens.
Rain gardens are shallow depressions in lawns and fields that collect rainwater, which then percolates down through layers of rock, gravel or other drainage. The gardens are landscaped with native plants, which beautifies the area and helps minimize maintenance. While rain gardens are becoming more common in new construction, the Subaru rain gardens are some of the first in New Jersey to be retrofitted to corporate grounds.
“Subaru is pleased to be among the first companies in New Jersey to retrofit a rain garden–or two–at our corporate buildings,” notes Tom Doll, executive vice president and chief operating officer, Subaru of America, Inc. “The rain gardens will certainly benefit the streams and rivers around those buildings, but just as importantly, they’ll help educate our employees, our corporate neighbors, and the public about the importance of storm water management.”
“Retrofitting a corporate landscape to include a rain garden is an effective way to help improve water quality,” said Craig McGee, project director, Camden County Soil Conservation District.” The rain garden will allow rain water to soak into the ground instead of runoff to the streams and rivers, and at the same time provide a valuable landscape enhancement. The best part is Subaru employees and customers will learn how easy it is to install a rain garden at their home and do their part to help protect our water resources.”
“Rain gardens are an effective way to reduce routine maintenance costs while protecting the environment and improving water quality,” adds Jeremiah Bergstrom, senior project manager, Rutgers Cooperative Extension, Rutgers University. “Working with corporate partners such as Subaru of America is a great way to demonstrate how rain gardens can be effective for businesses, communities, and even homeowners.”
Subaru Pacific is the latest addition to the LAcarGUY family of dealers and now, Subaru of America is proud to announce that it has received three Residual Value Awards from ALG, the industry benchmark for residual values and depreciation data. The ALG Residual Value Awards recognizes annually the vehicles predicted to retain the highest percentage of original price after a three-year period.
Claiming Best Mainstream Brand for third year in a row, Subaru also earned Best Midsize Utility Vehicle and Best Midsize Car for the 2012 Subaru Outback and the 2012 Subaru Legacy, respectively. Award winners are determined through careful study of the competition in each segment, historical vehicle performance and industry trends. Vehicle quality, production levels relative to demand, and pricing and marketing strategies remain the key factors that affect ALG’s residual value forecasts.
“The Legacy’s standard all-wheel drive, above average fuel economy and spacious interior appeal to a wide swath of the market, helping to keep demand high,” said Raj Sundaram, for ALG. “With the bawny new generation of Outback, Subaru continues to build on its reputation for delivering what consumers want in a crossover, the handling of a car with great utility and roomy interiors.”
“Subaru is proud to be recognized as a brand that builds safe and reliable vehicles that deliver on our mobility promise and retain value for our owners,” said Thomas J. Doll, executive vice president and chief operating officer, Subaru of America, Inc. “We are honored to have, again, received ALG Residual Value Awards for our brand and two of our popular Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive vehicles.”
Of the Best Mainstream Brand win, ALG remarked: “Subaru continues to draw fiercely loyal devotees who appreciate the brand’s strong quality and ability to remain practical yet progressive in its redesigns. Dependably low incentives and fleet sales have also enhanced its used market image, helping it to maintain the top spot for mainstream brand for the third year in a row.”