Posts Tagged ‘boxer engine’

Subaru BRZ Sports Coupe

Subaru has recently unveiled one of the company’s newest vehicle models that will be sold in the US automobile market this year and this is the Subaru BRZ Sports coupe. The BRZ made its first appearance in the USA at the 2012 North American International Auto Show held in Detroit last January. Upon seeing the  Subaru BRZ, a lot of car buyers, vehicle experts, and other car enthusiasts were impressed with the sports coupe’s appearance. In addition to this, they were also amazed by some of the vehicle’s significant features.

The Subaru BRZ sports coupe has lower vehicle weight, very precise steering, and low center of gravity just like most sports car models in the market. This is powered by an FA-series 2.0-liter Boxer engine mated to either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. The Boxer engine is capable of producing up to 200 horsepower and the power produced by the engine is passed into the vehicle’s rear wheels. The power output produced by the sport car’s engine is considered to be common in its segment but Subaru expects that the overall performance of the BRZ will be able to stand out against its closest competitors in the segment.

The FA-series Boxer engine used in the BRZ is exclusively used by the model alone and this is not shared with any other Subaru vehicle. In addition to this, the materials used in the producing the engine is lightweight and these are capable of reducing the amount of friction produced when the vehicle is running. Due to this the BRZ is expected to offer an impressive running performance without the need to consume larger amounts of fuel.

Aside from the characteristics enumerated earlier, a lot of car experts have also noted that the Subaru BRZ sports coupe has frameless doors. But despite of the absence of the frames, the vehicle’s doors are obviously strong and this could be considered as a boost in its safety features. Thanks to the company’s use of the so-called “ring structure.” In addition to this, the doors are made of high-tensile-strength steel that further improve the doors’ sturdiness and resilience in the event of side crashes or collisions.

Given all of these features, it is very much possible for the Subaru BRZ sports coupe to emerge as one of the most sought-about sports car models for this year. This possible outcome could be considered as a very important event for the company since most of the sport car models in the market are also subjected to upgrades to further enhance their own performance.

The Porsche 914, an Enjoyable Entry-Level Classic

The Porsche 914 was the result of a cooperation between Porsche and Volkswagen (VW), and it was first introduced at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September 1969. It was a mid-engined sports car, meaning that the engine was placed right behind the passenger seats, a solution that favors handling and agility due to optimal weight distribution. Such a layout resulted in a 2-seater with a removable fiberglass Targa top that, once removed, could be stored in one of the two luggage compartments, the rear one. The two storage spaces were very much needed, since the seating area was strictly dedicated to the passengers. Interior trim was quite basic. Overall dimensions were compact, with a slanted front that incorporated pop-up headlights operated by two electric motors. The design wasn’t pleasant, and it drew criticism also from the press.

The “VW-Porsche 914”, as the car was officially named, was available in two versions: the “914” (also referred to as the 914/4) and the “914/6” (meaning 6-cylinder). The 914 was equipped with the 1.7-liter (1,679 cc), air-cooled, 4-cylinder boxer engine derived from the VW 411E. The 914/6 instead featured the same 2.0-liter (1,991 cc), 6-cylinder, air-cooled, flat Porsche engine that was originally mounted on the Porsche 911T. The VW engine, equipped with Bosch D-Jetronic fuel-injection system, produced 80 hp at 4,900 rpm while the Porsche unit, outfitted with Weber carburetors, produced 110 hp at 5,800 rpm. Both vehicles were equipped with a 5-speed manual transmission as standard (“dog-leg” shift pattern with the first gear positioned left and back). The two cars featured the same independent suspensions. The 914s were fitted with solid disc brakes all around, but in the 914/6, the front discs were ventilated. In perfect 1970s style, the 914s were often painted in bold, bright colors including yellow, orange and green.

On the road, the 914/6 was clearly the better performer, providing stronger acceleration and a top speed of 201 km/h (125 mph), versus the 177 km/h (110 mph) of the 914. However, the more economical 914/4 sold better than the 914/6, but only when maximizing the Porsche name. In fact, marketing of the 914 was not the same worldwide. The 914 was marketed as a “VW-Porsche” and sold through Volkswagen dealers everywhere, except in the U.S. where it was marketed as a “Porsche” and sold through Porsche’s dealers only. The European 914s carried the “VW-Porsche” logo on the back, next to the model number (“914” or “914-6”), while the American 914s displayed only the model number on the back. The American model also had the “Porsche” lettering across the engine lid grille. No matter where it was sold, the 914 did not have the Porsche crest on its hood. Clearly, being presented solely as a Porsche was beneficial to the image of the 914, which sold particularly well in the U.S. (about 70% of the 914 production was sold here).

Although the 914/6 was undoubtedly the better performer, its sales were not satisfactory. Its price tag was simply too high for an entry-level sports car. As a result, its production was phased out in 1972.

In 1973, with the 914/6 gone, a new version was introduced in addition to the “base” 1.7-liter 914: the 914 2.0-liter. This new model was outfitted with a 1,971 cc engine derived from the Volkswagen unit. It produced 100 hp (95 hp U.S. version). The 914 2.0 was particularly welcomed in the U.S., considering that due to the local emission requirements the power on the 1.7-liter 914 had been cut down to 72 hp. Furthermore, in 1973, the gearbox shift linkage that had been often criticized was improved with the introduction of a side-shifter.

For the 1974 model year, the 1.7-liter engine was increased to 1.8-liter (1,795 cc). In addition, both 914s were now equipped with front and rear bumpers featuring protruding rubber guards that could withstand impacts up to 8 km/h (5 mph).

In 1976, the final year of production of the 914, the car was only available in the U.S., which had always been the stronger market for this particular model. In its last year of production the 914 was available only in the 2.0-liter version.