Matt Prior: The wholesome appeal of bespoke coupes


Which is true, but a shame. Similar arguments hobble, I think, the Alpine A110 in the UK. The Renault subsidiary’s small coupé is selling brilliantly in France, where they love the return of the Alpine name, but with a lower profile in the UK and a price that starts with a five, there are saloon-based coupés, and Porsches, that gain more power, more acceptance and way more sales.

Pity. Because if we don’t buy ’em, they won’t make ’em. What I love about the BRZ/GT86 and the A110 is that their makers had the will to produce a bespoke platform, including all the really expensive stuff like the crash structure, to bring these cars to market. Making a hot hatchback is, by comparison, relatively straightforward: take a Golf, add a more powerful engine, new springs, and bosh.

So, sure, you might get more power and more space and more bang per pound than with a hot hatchback, but there’s an almost moral goodness to buying a bespoke coupé instead. It says something about the sort of purity you want and it says you’d like to reward those who’ve made it. It’s like seeing a slightly quirky film instead of another comic-book-based superhero movie.

Anyway, next time, the current reckoning goes, the BRZ and a car badged GR86 will use a Toyota-based platform, but still with a boxer engine from Subaru. Probably it’ll be turbocharged.

Now that it’s Subaru’s only true performance model, maybe Subaru has more to gain from the project. Toyota is in the midst of a performance car resurgence anyway, what with its hot new rally-bred Yaris and, of course, the BMW-derived Supra. I do slightly worry that with a GR86 that’s turbocharged and, therefore, heavier and more powerful than today’s GT86, it could lightly tread on the toes of the upcoming four-cylinder Supra. But that’s much better than a coupé not existing, or having no other toes to tread on.

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