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3 Reasons Why You Will Never See an AWD Subaru BRZ

Why doesn’t Subaru make an all-wheel-drive BRZ? There’s three good reasons it won’t happen.

The question many Subaru BRZ fans ask, is why does’t Subaru turn the sports car into an all-wheel-drive vehicle? It’s a great question. Subaru’s entire lineup is all-wheel-drive except for the rear-drive BRZ. Why not have BRZ send power to all four wheels?

There’s three good reasons it won’t happen

It’s already a great sports car. The Subaru BRZ and Toyota 86 developed by both companies was designed to be an affordable rear-drive sports car. Subaru’s boxer engine sits low in the chassis giving BRZ/86 one of the lowest centers of gravity of any production car in the world at just 18.1 inches. Subaru’s Boxer engine design has an inherently low height and its mass is concentrated low in the chassis. It contributes to all Subaru’s having this important characteristic, but BRZ takes maximum advantage of this.

Short, compact design

BRZ/86’s front engine rear-drive configuration also allows placement of the engine lower and farther back in the BRZ than in any other Subaru model in the lineup. This helps BRZ to attain the best possible center of gravity and “polar moment of inertia.” The BRZ Boxer engine is moved closer to the center of the chassis and this helped make the Subaru BRZ very compact, at just 167 inches long on a 101 inch wheelbase. This is another factor that contributes to BRZ's great handling characteristics. AWD would change everything.

Subaru engineers can’t fit an all-wheel-drive unit in the sports coupe and have it all work. There’s a synergy with its shorter intake manifold, shorter exhaust manifold and shallow oil pan. Other factors would throw everything off like the already under hood components located perfectly to optimize the car's balance, including tilting forward the radiator 17 degrees and moving the battery to the back of the engine compartment.

Why you will never see an AWD Subaru BRZ

The 2017 Subaru BRZ is lightweight, has an ultra low center of gravity and it has a compact design that makes it a great drivers car. It has the driving dynamics of much more expensive sports cars. All-wheel-drive would mess up the dynamics in a big way.

In a recent interview with CarBuzz, Subaru’s Car Line Planning Manager of America, Todd Hill summed it up perfectly, He says, "No way can you make BRZ AWD. Right now it has almost supercar center of gravity height and an AWD system would ruin that. We’re happy with it.”

READ: 3 Reasons Why You Will Never See a Turbo Subaru BRZ / Toyota 86

Photo credit: Subaru


A. Bear (not verified)    May 20, 2017 - 3:24PM

Perhaps they're happy with it, but I live in North East Ohio and won't buy one because it doesn't have AWD... If it DID, it would be my next car.

Anthony (not verified)    November 6, 2017 - 9:01PM

In reply to by A. Bear (not verified)

I live in PA now and feel the same way - I won't buy a car without AWD. I had a Celica for 13 years - bought it down south where it was great, but I couldn't drive it in any adverse weather in PA. C'mon Toyota/Subaru, make an AWD 86/BRZ and TAKE MY MONEY.

Chaz Maz (not verified)    April 8, 2018 - 11:06AM

In reply to by A. Bear (not verified)

exact same thing with me. I'd buy one tomorrow if it were AWD. Otherwise I can't use it in my commute. So instead, I'm probably going to get a certified Lexus RC 350 when the prices come down enough. Like someone else said too, what does this do to Subaru's reputation? It baffles me that they would want this asterisk in their lineup. if they can't make it AWD, then don't make it. It's bad branding.

Carl Keehn (not verified)    August 28, 2022 - 11:33AM

In reply to by A. Bear (not verified)

That’s a bunch of bull. The reason they list are acutely why the Should MAKE A ALL WHEEL. it flat out performs any other rear wheel drive. Not all of us are professional Drivers . Ps ; even the new electric automobile are going all wheel /.

Mr e (not verified)    August 16, 2017 - 7:18AM

I'm all for progress, but simply put this was a car that wasn't supposed to be modified except for bolt ons. With the engine so far back the standard Subaru gearbox line up would never work being that the engine has to be in front of the front axle, and the conventional Toyota awd setup would mean altering the engine to an east west layout over the front axle thus heightening the centre of gravity and adding a few lbs of weight to the equation. That's just the mechanical side of things others include lengthening the enginebay to accommodate the changes etc, simply put IMHO this is a Lexus design with a Subaru engine and converted rwd gearbox made to be affordable and sporty, this is a tuners car and not a modifiers. Regardless of badge this is a Lexus with a Toyota/scion/subaru badge but to truely be a Subaru it needs awd. With enough money and knowledge anything can be achieved however in terms of bang for buck I doubt anyone would attempt it except for bragging rights.

Jake (not verified)    November 11, 2017 - 3:10PM

I live in Northern MN, so if there was an AWD version made available, I would buy it. Not everyone can enjoy a RWD car all the time. Most people cant afford to have a winter car and summer car. This is just their excuse. I say they are being lazy...They already made the car in a rwd platform and dont want to spend the time or money to make an awd version for people who live in northern climates. Not to mention that every other car of theirs is awd....again theyre being lazy af.

arsh (not verified)    January 5, 2018 - 1:29PM

Also in MN and also would buy if AWD. I'm so sick of everyone being lazy on creating AWD cars. If Mitsubishi can slap AWD on a sedan that retails at $17k with a 20k msrp there's no reason they can't start making the fun cars AWD for about a $2k upgrade.

Terry (not verified)    October 8, 2018 - 8:13AM

If Tommi Makinen can do it and build a rally gt86 with AWD, and he said it wasnt that hard to do the conversion then im sure Toyota/Subaru could manage it for a production car

Cossie Cosborne (not verified)    March 9, 2020 - 10:39PM

In reply to by Terry (not verified)

'Not hard with a full race car fabrication team behind you' and 'feasible for mass production' aren't the same thing.

I'm certain with an R32/33/34 GT-R rear transaxle one could build a relatively cheap homebrew AWD ZN6, but it would require extensive fabrication. With the X-Trac rally transmissions that Makinen can afford to use one can do it for whatever rally series he's competing in, but it still requires extensive fabrication.

What factory parts do you suggest they use and how does it avoid just being an Impreza with a nice looking coupe body?

James Lanham (not verified)    March 21, 2021 - 9:36AM

Exactly, thought I found the Nissan z alternative. But no AWD. Please make an adult level, AWD, sports sedan. In Ohio, will only by AWD. Nissan please make more Zs...