The Truth About Cars » toyobaru The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Mon, 28 Jul 2014 21:27:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » toyobaru Okay, the Subaru BRZ Is Now Perfect Fri, 21 Jun 2013 17:55:46 +0000 Picture courtesy LSXTV

Last year, the women wept and the teeth were gnashed when we refused to award the Scion FR-S the title of Bestest New Car Spending Marketing Money And Flying People To Fun Places Of 2012. Although we enjoyed the little Subaru to no end — an impression your humble author has since had multiple chances to reinforce at various race tracks and fast roads around the Midwest — it just didn’t bring the heat from one corner to the next.

The good news is that this problem has now been fixed — at a cost of only eighty pounds and perhaps $15,000.

LSXtv has the story on the first LS-swapped Subarota.

For $3,000, Weapons Grade Performance will sell you a “basic” kit, which includes the motor mounts, transmission mounts, driveshaft, oil pan, and clutch master cylinder… This kit will get you started, but for $9,000 the Complete Kit will include all of the above, plus an exhaust system, cooling system, wiring harness, and everything else you need except for the actual engine and transmission… Ask if there were any plans to drop, say, a supercharged LS9 engine into the BRZ, Doug smiles. “Right now hood clearance is an issue,” he says. “But we’re working with a supplier to get a Z06-style hood that should allow us to run a supercharger.” A 638 horsepower Subaru coupe? Yes, please…

Seven thousand dollars will get you a 430hp crate LS3 engine. Figure another three grand for a Tremec TKO. The resulting combination weighs slightly under 2900 pounds. Building it out on top of a new BRZ would cost a total of about $40,000 assuming you needed a little help with the labor.

Thus equipped, the LS3-powered BRZ literally has no effective competition in the marketplace. Comparisons with the Miata or Genesis become ridiculous when you more than double the power under the hood. The Coyote-powered Mustang GT feels a little chunky and slow all of a sudden. The base Corvette Stingray C7 is twelve grand more and will weigh perhaps four hundred pounds above the LS-swapped Japanese coupe.

With that said, if you really want a V8-powered American coupe, you have forty thousand dollars to spend, and you aren’t too worried about a warranty… would the “Weapons Grade” BR-Z stand a chance against a $39,800 used Z06? In a straight line it might be close-ish, but around a racetrack the Vette would use its superior mechanical grip and power-to-weight ratio to walk that sucker. And every possible upgrade you could do to the Subaru’s new engine would be just as easy on the Corvette.

If nothing else, however, the guys at Weapons Grade should put a little fear into the hearts of overconfident Miata drivers at the local road course. Unless, of course, they’re packing as well

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FT-86: Will It Blend, I Mean, Doooorift? Thu, 12 Apr 2012 20:34:42 +0000

So here’s what’s going to happen… They’ll drive it as hard as they dare, swinging it through corners and stamping on the gas, chucking it into hairpins and willfully trying to unsettle the rear, and all the while traction will be total. And you know what, not one of those drivers will say anything about it, because they’ll be too scared to be the limp-wristed bloke that can’t even drift what they’ve been told is the most driftable car in decades

So says Ben Barry in a recent Car editorial. He’s driven the car, we haven’t, so we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he’s correct. Well, so what? What if all that additional dealer profit won’t even get Joe Sixpack (sixpack of Sapporo, of course) sideways? What if the new Toyota can’t deliver the tofu?

Before we consider this question seriously, a brief personal disclaimer: I think drifting is literally the most idiotic thing someone can do with their car. I literally mean “literally” in this case. Ghost-riding the whip? Compared to drifting, I believe that is street ballet, the Joffrey of the parking lot. Street racing? Go ahead, you little rebels, you! Running over a group of nuns carrying baskets of kittens to a home full of lonely orphans? Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of vehicular homicide, my good man! Exiting a fourth-gear corner of the North-Shuh-Lyfe Ring just a little hot in a P7-shod ’76 Turbo Carrera is bad-assery on the hoof; modifying a Corolla so you can put the thing sideways at walking pace with no particular place to go is synchronized swimming on asphalt, without the women and the difficulty. Oh, look, you’re drifting. How impressive. Now get out of the God-damned way so I can win this race.

Luckily for just about everyone in the civilized world, drifting is a lifestyle more honored in the breach than the observance. Possibly as many as twenty FR-Ses will be dressed up in Affliction-style fake-tattoo vinyl and listlessly stroked around Cal Speedway or some Japanese backroad somewhere. The rest of them will be driven by people for whom “drifting” means nothing more than “tail-happy behavior”.

The man from CAR says the Toyobaru isn’t tail-happy. This should surprise precisely no one. Since the disappearance of the swing axle from even the most stubborn German manufacturers’ products, no car sold in the United States has had handling characteristics which include steady-state oversteer, “snap oversteer”, “surprise oversteer”, or any other thing of the sort. If you are a consummate dumb-ass who has no idea how to operate a vehicle correctly, your million-monkey-like banging on the pedals may occasionally produce the Shakespeare of a mild yaw. If it’s snowing outside, this may even kill you, in which case I hope you don’t mind if I stop by the accident scene and steal the $189 Porsche-branded valve caps from your Panamera Ultimate Turbo 4 GTS Collector’s Edition Sonderwunsch and put them on my 1984-vintage normally-aspirated 944 so they can live with dignity in the cathedral of my garage. But when you have your face-to-face with St. Peter, Karl Marx, or whomever, don’t blame your demise on “oversteer”. Steve McQueen will laugh at you, and rightfully so.

Is it possible to make production cars go sideways, deliberately? Of course. It takes effort. You are trading momentum along one axis for movement on another. You can pull the e-brake, trail it in with your left foot, wig-wag the wheel in time with the oscillation moment of the suspension. The way most people do it, however, is to get the car in a corner, using something like 70% of the available tire grip, and stomp on the accelerator. This reliably produces “oversteer” in Corvettes, Mustangs, AMG Benzes, and lightly-laded F-150s. The only problem is that you aren’t inducing “oversteer”. Real oversteer happens when the car is at its absolute limit of traction and the rear end has a natural tendency to rotate in towards the corner. That isn’t what you are doing. You are simply spinning the back wheels, depriving them of grip, and scaring your passenger.

Naturally, the above activity is highly amusing, which is why people do it. The FR-S can do it. Chris Harris recently did a whole video showing him pulling that trick. The problem is that, due to the car’s relatively modest power, you apparently need to use 99% of the car’s traction before it works, not 70%. Chris Harris can get to that 99%. He’s a licensed, experienced racer with a free pass to shitcan someone else’s $25,000 car sans consequences. The man on the street is likely to find himself in someone’s lawn if he tries the same thing, and the consequences will be greater than a half-scolding from a PR rep terrified of having his product ripped in a major publication.

“Ironically,”, Barry notes, “it actually takes a whole heap of skill and years of experience to unlock the potential of a car that we’ve been told is perfect for rear-drive novices.” I’m not sure I see the irony in it. Novices, by definition, are given novice-level equipment. This is a slow car with big tires on it, just like a modern MX-5. If you start with this car and graduate to a new Z06, no matter whether we are talking about trackday use, street use, or actual drifting competition, you will have a better result than you would have going from the Chevrolet to the Toyota.

No matter what happens to drivers of the FT-86, it will happen at a lower speed than it would in a Corvette or Mustang GT. That is why it is a novice car. The handling limits of the vehicle will appear at a lower speed, the accelerator will get you into less trouble, and the brakes will work approximately as well as they would on a high-performance vehicle. No, it won’t be easy to drift, but so what? No factory-spec car is easy to drift correctly, and you might as well start in something that hits the wall at eighty miles per hour, not a hundred and twenty.

Most importantly, the little coupe is properly balanced and it has “proper” rear-wheel drive. If you learn to drive it well, you will eventually be qualified to drive something similar that operates at a higher speed, like an E92 M3. You won’t learn those correct reflexes and responses in a Civic Si or Volkswagen GTI. Those only “qualify” you to drive more powerful FWD cars, like… um… a Lucerne Super or something like that. Congratulations. You’re Lucerne Super Qualified. Now move over, you are holding my Town Car up on this off-ramp

My enthusiasm for the FT-86 hasn’t been diminished a whit by any of the pricing issues, the specification concerns, or the vehicle’s supposed non-drift-ability. As long as it’s cheap to operate and honest to drive, I will recommend it every chance I get. Even if I don’t get to go to the fancy press intro, even if I don’t get free shoes or commemorative USB drives, even if I have to find a TTAC reader who is willing to let me drive the thing before we can provide a proper review. We’ve waited a long time for a car like this. My companion in crime, the infamous Vodka McBigbra, invented the word “premorse” for situations like that. Pre-remorse. Premorse. I’m not going to premorse about the FRSZ86whatever, and neither should you. Let’s drive.

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What Was That About Boring Toyotas? Wed, 20 Apr 2011 19:48:27 +0000

The joint Subaru-Toyota “FT-86″ has been hyped for some time now as a modern-day AE86, a car with which Akio Toyoda hopes to recapture the “splendid flavor” of driving excitement that has been missing from Toyotas for some time. An affordable halo, in other words, which reconnects Toyota to the youthful enthusiasm of young men in search of rear-drive antics. And since it’s facing an aging demographic, that’s not a bad idea for the Toyota brand. Unfortunately, the latest look at the Toyobaru’s evolving styling is being shown in New York as a Scion, the brand that exists to prove that the Toyota brand can’t be youthful and exciting (and which just got a new sports coupe).

I’ve been on the record as a Scion-basher for some time, so I won’t beat a dead horse here… but if the FT-86 is supposed to be a halo for Toyota, it can’t just be shuffled off to the Scion ghetto. The car will probably sell regardless of the badge it ends up wearing, but the Toyota brand needs this enthusiasm investment, and Scion just needs to die.

scionfr-s3 scionfr-s24 scionfr-s18 scionfr-s13 scionfr-s5 scionfr-s19 Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail scionfr-s8 scionfr-s15 scionfr-s9 scionfr-s16 scionfr-s12 scionfr-s22 scionfr-s21 scionfr-s11 scionfr-s4 scionfr-s6 scionfr-s25 Oh wait, not a Toyota... scionfr-s scionfr-s20 scionfr-s10 scionfr-s23 scionfr-s17 scionfr-s2 scionfr-s7 scionfr-s14 ]]> 63
Toyota Hints At Cheaper, Lighter “Baby FT-86,” Is A Mid-Engine Hybrid Roadster Next? Mon, 10 May 2010 18:27:16 +0000

With rumors coming in that Toyota is repositioning its planned FT-86 “Toyobaru” sports coupe to reflect higher price and higher buyer age targets, word around the enthusiast fring of the autoblogosphere has been downright apocalyptic. After all, the promised combination of a $20k base price, manual transmission and rear-wheel-drive were what launched the FT-86 to internet notoriety. But development overruns are a fact of life, and Toyota says it has no choice but to bump the FT-86′s projected price point to $23k base, $26k loaded-level. So while the FT-86 faces the bloat that comes with a more upmarket target, another sports coupe aimed at undercutting the FT-86′s prices by about $5k is already under development according to Road & Track.

According to RT’s source,

This car will measure about 150 in. overall length and come powered by the company’s 3SZ-VE engine, a 1.5-liter inline-4 that produces 109 bhp. It will feature a front-engine/rear drive layout.

Motor Trend adds that this new baby coupe is being developed as

a two-door version of the Gazoo Racing inspired rear-wheel drive GRMN (GRMN = Gazoo Racing Meister of Nurburgring) hot hatch concept unveiled at the Tokyo Auto Salon. Our insider tells us that this concept, destined for a late 2012 debut, is based on the European-spec Aygo’s platform, but modified to rear drive… engineers are shaving as many pounds as possible off the new coupe, with an end goal of approximately 2200 pounds

That weight goal is nearly 500 lbs less than the Honda CR-Z (with manual transmission), highlighting the fact that Honda should probably have just built a sporty non-hybrid coupe on its Fit/Jazz platform. It’s also on target to match the predicted weight of the next-generation Mazda MX-5.

Interestingly, that (GRMN) concept was shown along with a Gazoo-tuned version of the FT-86 as well as one other concept, a mid-engined MR-2-based roadster with a 392 hp V6 hybrid drivetrain derived from the Highlander Hybrid. With news that the FT-86 is moving up in price, and a smaller Miata-fighting lightweight coupe is under development, one has to wonder if Toyota is moving hard to repair its enthusiast credentials and developing a three-car RWD sports line with the 100 hp coupe as an $18k entry, the $25k FT-86 as a mid-point, and a $35k-50k-ish hybrid roadster as the flagship (with the LF-A as a hyper-halo of sorts). Alternatively, Lexus doesn’t have a successor to its SC lined up yet.

Given all of Akio Toyoda’s talk of building cars with “splendid flavor” again, and the anti-enthusiast reputation Toyota has earned in recent years, this three-nameplate attack might just be the image overhaul the company needs. With the FT-86 planned for 2011, and the “Baby FT” scheduled for 2012-ish, there’s plenty of time for Toyota to develop a mid-engined hybrid flagship. If this all pans out, enthusiasts might just forgive Toyota for abandoning enthusiasts by offering nothing more sporty than the Celica over the last several years.

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Toyota Backs Off FT-86 Price Point, Youth Appeal Goals Wed, 21 Apr 2010 21:17:52 +0000

Already a good year into its hype-cycle, Toyota’s much-discussed FT-86 sports coupe is apparently losing some of the focus that made it an instant (theoretical) hit with enthusiasts. According to Autocar, Toyota has given up on its price point goal of $20,000 for a base model in the Japanese market, bumping MSRP targets to $23k for a base model and $26k for loaded examples. No word on how this will affect US-market prices, which Toyota has never disclosed goals for. And if this were the only news coming out of FT-86-land, we might have ignored it altogether. Sadly though, the price shift reflects larger trends within the FT-86′s development, none of which are wildly promising from the perspective of the enthusiasts that this car was allegedly being built for.

According to Autocar:

[The FT-86's] R&D team is now more focused on minimizing fuel consumption and producing the cleanest engine possible; the Subaru boxer engine planned for the car is not considered to be that clean or fuel-efficient… The car is also likely to be marketed to older buyers than originally planned, too. The head of Toyota’s newly created sports vehicle department, Tetsuya Tada, told Autocar that his team had increased the target age group by 10 years, from the 30s to 40s, after market research revealed that fewer younger buyers would opt for the sleek coupé than first thought.

So much for Toyota’s pledge to get serious about selling cars with enthusiast-oriented “splendid flavor.” Though it’s too early to say definitively that the FT-86 has traipsed down the primrose path of play-it-safe planning, this is not a good sign for those hoping the FT-86 would be the first iconic budget-enthusiast car to hit the American market in ages.

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Kia Plans “Toyobaru” RWD Coupe Rival Sat, 12 Dec 2009 19:42:52 +0000 keen on the kee?

Autocar is reporting that Kia has its ever-eager eyes on the affordable RWD sporty coupe market. It’s 2008 Kee coupe concept could borrow the Genesis coupe’s RWD platform when it eventually makes its appearance.

In an exclusive interview Kia design director Peter Schreyer told Autocar that the Kee wasn’t in the European product plan for the next two years, but also confirmed that he is very keen to bring added strength and desirability to the Kia brand with such a car.

Sounds keen. Details follow:

Schreyer says he would support the switch to RWD even if it makes the Kee more expensive to build.

“Assuming Kia’s European fortunes continue to improve at the rate they are now, we could be ready in, say, five years for a car like Kee. We could spin it off the Cee’d or Magentis platform, but for me, it would be important for the Kee to be rear-wheel drive. And there is, of course, already a rear-driven platform within the Hyundai-Kia group that we could look to use, if our timing was good.

“We would have to aim to rival the Mazda MX-5 and Toyota’s new rear-driven coupe. The car would not need to be very fast or very powerful, but it should be compact, affordable and fun – a true sports car.”

“Personally, I have to say that I’m very excited by the idea, and very enthusiastic to make it happen.”

Did he just say five years? Ouch. But then Kia moves fairly briskly. Or not; Schreyer says that Kia’s Korean management board is “habitually conservative and pragmatic”. The key to Kia’s success?

“The problem with Kee is that no one – not in Europe, the USA or Korea – can say with confidence what numbers the Kee would sell in.

“We are not like Audi or Porsche. We are not in a position to just create something and then announce to the market that it’s the perfect kind of sports car.”

“When you’re making cars like this, it’s important to make them with a great deal of confidence,” he went on. “So I think the Kia brand has to grow a little more in stature before the time will be right for Kee.”

At the rate Kia is growing in stature in the US, the time could well be right…now.

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