North Shore Times : January 24th 2013
www.northshoretimes.co.nz 20 NORTH SHORE TIMES, JANUARY 24, 2013 Your online motoring guide View at www.dash-board.co.nz or at any of our newspapers online. Like us on facebook to have your say facebook.com/NZautocarDashboard ISSUE 8 NOW ONLINE 4777251AA Jet Tyres & Alignment All prices incl GST (Advert must be presented when booking) Unit 3/186 Target Rd, Glenfield (the drive way between Ford & Mazda car dealer) Ph: 440 9698 or 021-351-961 Mon-Fri: 8.30-17.00 Sat: 9.00-16.00 All Major Brands Available W.O.F $28 •WOF&oil&filterfrom$75 • Wheel Alignment from $50 • Second hand tyres from $45 • Full mechanical repair North View our latest edition online at www.northshoretimes.co.nz Talk to us about that annoying suspension knock or rattle FREE!!! SHOCK ABSORBER SAFETY CHECK Shock Absorbers, Coil Springs, Bushes, Steering Parts, Wheel Alignment and Balancing WAIRAU ALIGNMENT & SUSPENSION 127 Wairau Road, Takapuna, Ph 444-4994 MERV Auto Safety Experts 4876393AC Email: firstname.lastname@example.org North Shore's BMW & Mercedes Specialist 2/3 Vega Place, Mairangi Bay (Off Constellation Drive) Ph 478 7011 Bellars Motor Works • Independent BMW & Mercedes specialists • BMW, Mini & Mercedes diagnostic equipment to current day models • 25 years dealer experience inUKandNZ • All electrical & mechanical servicing and repairs • WOF • Air con servicing and re-gas • Professional friendly service • Loan cars available Who's the daddy? Argue all you like, there's no doubt which company has put the most DNA into the Toyota GT86/ Subaru BRZ joint ven- ture, writes DAVE MOORE. To say that Toyota and Subaru took different tacks with marketing their cloned sports coupes would be to utter the under statement of the decade. While Toyota has plas- tered the media with references to its half of the venture, Subaru New Zealand has quietly gone its own way, launching its car as an internet only prospect at first before exposing its fans, customers and journal- ists -- in that order. This was about six months after its joint- venture partner Toyota allowed selected media a drive of its GT86. The first of Subaru s BRZs in New Zealand found owners in mid- December, with most of them enjoying a track day at Hampton downs, thanks to the importers. Who did what with the development of the car is fairly clear. Subaru did most of the engineering and builds the car, along with the Toyota and North American Scion versions at its plant in Gunma, Japan. Toyota did the car s interior and exterior styling and other design work while providing components like the direct-injection system and had the common sense to use the old 86 marketing links with its well-regarded rear drive coupes from the mid- eighties. Subaru hasn t a simi- lar connection, techni- cally with all of its prior performance vehicles having been turbo- charged all-wheel-drive models. But for all that, anyone with a skerrick of automotive knowledge will note the in-line mounted flat-four engine and realise that the mechanical daddy in this delightfully simple car is Subaru, though Toyota must take plaudits for driving the project. Simplicity is a key element in the car. It has been done before by Mazda when the simi- larly spare and nicely crafted MX-5 arrived in 1989 becoming the pos- ter child for a new gener- ation of drivers for whom a relatively cheap, light, rear-wheel-drive car would accurately hit the mixed metaphores of the funny bone and seat of the pants simul- taneously. Since then, the Germans have tried it with the Z3 and SLK, missing by a mile through combining too much complexity and weight, asking too much money and providing too little talent. The BRZ/GT86 clones don t have a soft-top of course -- though it s expected that such an option will be offered in a couple of years -- but they do have that inherent evenly- balanced poise of the MX-5, and like the wee Mazda an eminently achievable price tag that means on an Impreza sedan budget you only need to find another cou- ple of grand. There are drawbacks. Unlike the MX-5 which even in folding hardtop form doesn t pre- tend to be anything more than a two-seater, the BRZ has a vestigial rear seat into which even quite small people would have to be surgically implanted or removed. For a lap top or shopping however, the BRZ s a champ! Oh, apart from all that, the BRZ is an absolute joy to drive, with every curve and cor- ner welcomed with gusto. It s that seat of the pants thing again, where its light eminently biddable chassis chimes in to cash every check its powertrain writes. It doesn t take long to start savouring the pre- dictable, well-sorted cornering feel of the BRZ. Using heavily-braced low-slung MacPherson struts up front and STi Impreza inspired double- wishbones at the back, this rear-driven Subaru allows a subtle transfer of weight from the front to rear wheels during the cornering process when pressing on. The car s steering is quick and accurate and offers a delightfully lucid conduit for information streaming from the road surface to the driver s hands. There are few if any affordable cars that allow such quick and accurate reactions from its user: If the tail feels a little ragged, you ll cor- rect it without over com- pensating. It ll come back into line and that s it.That solid confidence is reinforced by the car s remarkably low centre of gravity. It s evident from the first time you turn the car, and Subaru says it s the lowest of any pro- duction car, at just 46 centimetres. On the car s standard 17-inch rims, I found the ride was firm, but not raw-boned in any way. It does not crash and thump over bumps, but road noise is harsh when traversing course chip surfaces. Another key to the BRZ s chassis strengths is that the horsepower story is not an over- whelming one. I fear that too much power could corrupt this nigh perfectly-balanced car and I hope they leave well enough alone. As it stands, the BRZ s 147kW/205Nm flat four is no slug. If you keep the engine on the boil, the car will scythe through apexes and set itself up for a sprint from one cor- ner to the next with sur- prising alacrity. The BRZ starts at $48,990, with another thousand for the auto- matic. It does cost a little more than the base ver- sion of its more common Toyota sibling, but there s more equipment and better-looking wheels for a start. Subaru is only import- ing limited numbers again this year and while you might see one of two Toyota GT86s, which are just as desirable and delightful to drive, it s the BRZ that s the daddy, that s plain.
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