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Photos of the newly refreshed 2017 Subaru BRZ have surfaced online today, just days after the significantly re-styled 2017 Toyota 86 made its official debut. These photos, posted to enthusiast site FT86club.com after purportedly appearing on the Facebook profile of a smaller fan group, appear to have been snapped in a workshop or testing facility. (One photo shows a black BRZ parked haphazardly next to an R32 Nissan Skyline, surrounded by boxes, parts and packing material.) It is clear from these shots that the exterior styling of the BRZ will be refreshed at both ends, along with the same new split-spoke alloy wheel design worn by the refreshed 86.
The front, although not as dramatically altered as the 86, reveals a lightly resculpted and ever-so-slightly taller nose with longer and deeper headlight scallops, while the character lines that previously framed the Subaru badge are also now gone. The standout change at the front end, however, is the new wing-like styling feature that now extends into the faux intakes either side of the large grille opening. A pair of black fins now trisect those side ports, replacing the lights that lived there before. Updated lighting is also clearly visible at both ends. The same hooked daytime lights can be seen inside the headlights, but a second row of LEDs now replace the position and indicator lights that previously sat inboard of the main projector lamp.
At the rear, the BRZ appears to feature the same new cherry-red lights that debuted with the 2017 Toyota 86, featuring a top LED strip, a main brake light, and a secondary LED strip for reversing and/or indicator lights. (The indicators could also be located in the lower half of the outer red lens.)The rear bumper of the BRZ shown here does not appear to have been given any notable updates, but we may yet see a new look - possibly the same pointy new piece used for the 86 - swapped onto Subarus coupe before launch. In the cabin, a brand-new steering wheel can be seen, adding new audio and phone controls, along with a direction-pad for controlling the new multi-function display that can be seen in the instrument cluster. These same changes will appear in the 86, although Toyota has so far revealed only the exterior of the 2017 model.
The interior appears to be largely unchanged elsewhere. A large touchscreen display can be seen in the centre stack, but overseas variants of the BRZ already had this feature - Australian buyers were simply made to go without. As with the 86, we can likely expect the BRZ to be given a light power boost, climbing from 147kW and 205Nm to a new 151kW and 214Nm. The 86 also benefits from revised gear ratios for the new model year, and that, too, should transfer to the BRZ. Click the photos tab above for more shots of the 2017 Subaru BRZ. Speaking with CarAdvice this week, Subaru Australia communications manager David Rowley said that a late year  on-sale date is expected for the 2017 BRZ. Rowley could not be moved to comment on whether local buyers will be treated to the larger touchscreen display. But, with the new steering wheel now very likely to be the standard across both the 86 and BRZ ranges, it stands to reason that we will at last get a BRZ equipped with satellite navigation and Bluetooth connectivity.
Sales of the BRZ have dropped off this year, with year-to-date figures (end of February) showing 57 sales, compared to 80 for the same period in 2015. Rowley said that although sales have settled, its probably fair to say they're still healthy for a vehicle in that niche segment. Of course, the BRZ is not the only member of its duo to have suffered a settling of sales, with Toyota 86 sales dropping from 440 at this point last year to 248 in 2016.
Both coupes made their Australian debut in 2012, with only minor updates in the time since, while the all-new Mazda MX-5 roadster has swept onto the market with a feature-packed value bundle and sharp pricing. The 2017 model-year updates to the BRZ and 86, if priced right, should help to right the ship for both.
The 2017 Toyota 86 has been revealed ahead of its official launch at next week's New York motor show.The mid-life update to Australia's most popular sports car carries a host of exterior changes, minor interior revisions and a small increase in power and torque. From the outside there is a revised front bumper that houses a larger grille, which Toyota says emphasises the 86's low and wide stance. Meanwhile, the rear bumper is all new, incorporating restyled LED tail-lights. Revised LED headlights, with a new indicator design, now sits above a modified fog-light bezel, while the factory alloy wheel design has also been updated. Toyota designers have shifted the rear-wheel-drive sports car's fender-vent logo to lower on the front guard in the form of its own stand-alone badge. Further logos have also been added to inside the front headlights.
On the engineering side, Toyota has revised the 86's suspension, focusing on improved shock absorber and spring rates, while adding hill-start assist to manuals models. Automatic models remain unchanged in terms of power output at 147kW and 205Nm, however, manual variants have had an increase of roughly 4kW and 9Nm as well as changes to the gear ratio, bringing their new output to 151kW and 214Nm. Toyota Australia says these new power figures from the naturally aspirated 2.0-litre 'Boxer' engine are yet to be confirmed for local models. The interior of the base Toyota 86 GT remains unchanged, however, buyers of the top-spec GTS will see changes to the steering wheel - now finally incorporating audio controls - as well as new seating material with silver stitching. The instrument panel also gains a new soft-feel 'Grandlux' material, embossed with the 86 logo, with the material also flowing onto the door trims. Since the Toyota 86 went on sale in Australia in June 2012, the Japanese company has sold a staggering 16,456 units in Australia, making the model the consistent front runner in the local sports car segment. Toyota Australia sales and marketing executive director Tony Cramb said the sales performance of the 86 has made it a phenomenal success, adding, This 86 update is sure to add further fuel to that fire. "The new 2017 Toyota 86 will go on sale in the fourth quarter of this year, though, Toyota Australia has yet to confirm whether the model's current pricing structure will remain in place when the new car arrives.
An updated, or possibly a limited-edition version, of the Nissan GT-R has been teased ahead of the New York motorshow, which starts next week. Overnight, the company released an animated image of the GT-R's rear being gradually illuminated by the car's signature afterburner tail-lights. Aside from the teaser image (above), Nissan hasn't provided any further details about its Big Apple debutante. It's safe to assume, though, that it will either be an updated version of the current R35 GT-R or a special-edition version based on it. Last year, Nismo boss Hiroshi Tamurae told us that a new-generation version of Nissan's supercar won't surface until 2020 at the earliest. The company's head of design, Shiro Nakamura, told CarAdvice in the middle of 2015 that while there isn't much more straight-line speed that can be wrung out of the current-generation coupe, revisions can be made to its ride and handling.He also stated that the company was planning to introduce a minor styling update, "very shortly".
Above: Nissan Concept 2020 Vision Gran Turismo
At the 2015 SEMA show in Las Vegas, the company debuted the Nissan GT-R Nismo N-Attack Package. Only sold in the US and Japan, the N-Attack features components used by the company to set the GT-R's 7 minutes 8.679 seconds lap time around the Nurburgring Nordschleife. In 2014, the company launched the Concept 2020 Vision Gran Turismo, a vehicle that's widely rumoured to provide clues about the next-generation GT-R. Reports have indicated that the next GT-R will use a version of the new 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 that made its debut powering the oddly styled and configured GT-R LM Nismo Le Mans race car. There have also been hints that the next-gen GT-R will incorporate hybrid elements into its drivetrain.