Subaru Advanced Tourer concept:
The Toyota GT 86/Subaru BRZ should be a knock-out – a small, light and agile coupe is surely right up everyone’s strasse. To add to the anticipation, Toyota presented the sublime FT-86 concept two years ago. However the production version – the GT 86 and its Subaru twin, the BRZ – are depressingly poorly resolved.
Proportionally they’re excellent – extremely compact despite having a pair of small rear seats, and with a long, super-low hood. To get these cars through to production with such features is deeply impressive, yet those who controlled the design process through to production have thrown a bucket of tepid water over what should be a bright flame.
The area around the base of the A-pillar is a perfect example of how these cars fail. Shutlines, creases, half-hearted front quaterlight (why is this even here?!), disastrous mock air-outlets and window seals all collide together in a scene of carnage that is beyond comparison.
Their flanks have been similarly carelessly executed with featureless surfaces interrupted by pathetically simplistic graphics – the poorness of the way the rocker meets with the parabolic wheel arch flat is rivalled only by the way the rear arch haunch wobbles drunkenly around. These graphics, along with the DLO are clearly intended to emulate the Porsche Cayman. They don’t.
But for a true impression of how wrong the project has gone, take a look at the rash of creases, lamps and surfaces that have spread across the Toyota’s front mask (above). This is something Subaru should be happy it has been able to redesign, except it kept up its side of the bargain by adding a crass spoiler to the rear deck of the BRZ.
Why this has been allowed to happen is unfathomable – Toyota in particular has a wealth of design talent around the globe as its concept cars continually remind us. But there is quite clearly a filter between the creations of the design studios and pen of the man who signs off cars such as this. It’s a car that, on a marco level, should be the car of the show, but because of its detail resolution is the biggest disappointment.
By Owen Ready
“Confidence in Motion” is Subaru’s new global brand statement and is supposedly personified in its latest Advanced Tourer Concept, a second take on the Tourer conceptunveiled at the 2009 Tokyo motor show. Its press brochure claims the Tourer “embodies any number of ideals that Subaru believes are essential to advanced automotive design” but the concept has tried to fit in too many conflicting ideas in its design – and the overall result has become over-busy and over-worked.
The exterior design has a lot of unsophisticated surfacing – which is particularly angular – and in places conflicting. Take the way the line of the front fender bulges and dives down too close to the side air vent or the over-played graphic emphasis around the twin rear exhausts and multiple surfaces vying for attention around the license plate area.
The interior is better with great chunkily ribbed leather seats, a huge glass roof to let in light and some clean details. Still, even here it seems too angular again. Its lack of curves make it seem strangely emotionless. It’s a much bolder design direction for Subaru than in recent years yes, but is it fully resolved? Not yet.