Subaru BRZ STi Concept tries to steal the show in LA

Of course, with the media days of yet another auto show—in this case the Los Angeles Auto Show–comes yet more questions as to when and if the Scion/Toyota FR-S/FT-86 and its cousin over at Subaru, the BRZ, will ever make production. Perhaps the Toyota product is the more asked for because of its connection with one of the most cult-ish cars ever, the Toyota AE86, but after seeing the BRZ in the metal (the hotted-up STI version was on display), we’re wondering why there are still more folks clamouring around the Scion booth while the Subaru area remains suspiciously quiet. In fact, we think that the Scooby is one of the stars of this year’s show. Which is pretty impressive, considering other highlights include an appearance of the incredibly rare Aston Martin One-77 and the Cadillac Ciel luxo-mobile.

Have a look at those photos—is that not the sexiest Subaru you’ve ever seen? Of course, considering the brand’s mostly butch styling language the bar isn’t set all that high but the BRZ does more than just show the rest of the Subaru line-up what it takes to look good; cars from other manufacturers from Mazda, to VW and yes, even Scion should be taking note.

Some of the classic Subaru styling notes are present—details like the World Rally Championship Blue paint job, big rear wing (which is sure to be optional, whether Subaru, at this juncture, wants to admit it or not) rally-style 14-spoke wheels proudly emblazoned with “STI” logos on their hubs, aggressive fender flares and scowling headlights are all present. However, instead of being taken to the nth degree as Subaru has been known to do, all these aspects—with the exception, perhaps, of the probably-optional rear wing—are integrated seamlessly into the lines of the car, presenting an air of extioca never before seen in the Subaru range.

Imagine seeing one of these hurtling through the snow in Sweden or the red sands of Australia on the World Rally Chamionship circuit, where Subaru’s performance models have gleaned so much of their identity. I don’t think the spectators would know what they were looking at. It probably won’t happen—Subaru hasn’t gone rallying at the top level in years and while the BRZ maintains a two-liter version of the classic boxer-four it holds the distinction of being the first rear-wheel drive Subaru in the modern era. But if it did go rallying, it would be a call back to the golden years of old, when rally cars went sideways more than forwards through turns.

Where the Scion is all broad strokes, fender flares, deep front fascia and art-deco rims, the Subaru is taught lines and understated power and muscle. Of course, we must bear in mind that these are both concepts and the end products are sure to come to the fore in a more sedated manner. However, if the standard has been set by the concepts, which, really, is the goal anyway then we might see Subaru to something they’re not known to do—perform a sneak attack on their competition when the two cars make production in 201?.