A couple of new car model announcements have caught my eye over the last few days – a new Toyota sports car that has been produced as a joint venture with Subaru and which promises to be a spiritual successor to the original Celicas and 1980s Corolla GT, and a four-wheel drive model of the Volkswagen Passat.
Toyota GT 86 / Subaru BRZ
The Toyota GT 86 / Subaru BRZ is the first fruit of a new joint venture between Subaru and Toyota.
It looks set to pick up where the original Toyota Corolla GT of the 1980s left off, providing Toyota fans with the chance to own a genuine lightweight sports car. It is more of a departure for Subaru but does look very promising.
The GT 86/BRZ will be a front-engined, rear-wheel drive model and claims to be the world’s most compact 4-seater car at just 4.2m long – although I suspect that only children will enjoy travelling in the back.
The GT 86 / BRZ will be powered by a 197bhp 2.0-litre flat-four boxer engine (petrol, of course) with torque-enhancing D-4S injection technology.
The engine is the latest version of Subaru’s legendary flat-four horizontally-opposed ‘boxer’ engine, while the highly-efficient D-4S fuel injection system is Toyota’s, as used in many of its current models.
The Toyota GT 86 will be available in the UK from June 2012 and the Subaru BRZ will be available from July 2012.
Volkswagen Passat Alltrack
Most Volkswagen models are available with the company’s 4Motion four-wheel drive system, but until now the Passat has been an exception.
Volkswagen has now put that right with a four-wheel drive version of the Passat Estate called the Passat Alltrack.
VW’s 4Motion four-wheel drive system sends 90% of power to the front wheels under normal driving conditions but diverts power automatically to the rear wheels if it detects traction problems. This means that you get the fuel-economy benefits of front-wheel drive most of the time, but the grip of four-wheel drive when you need it.
The Passat Alltrack will also feature increased ride height and underbody protection and the same Hill Descent system found on the Tiguan. It is not a serious off-roader but should be well at home on muddy tracks and fields and will provide an alternative to the Audi A4 and A6 Allroad quattro models for VAG customers.
First deliveries for the UK are expected in July with dealers taking orders for the Passat Alltrack from April.