The Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ sports car twins have revitalised the lower the end of the sports car market since arriving in mid-2012, but owners and critics have often lamented one aspect, a lack of power.
With rumours of TMG 86s and STI BRZs cropping up every other month, many customers turn to the aftermarket for performance enhancements, and now Cosworth is weighing in with its own modifications.
UK engineering company and former F1 engine supplier Cosworth is currently offering 'stage 1' Power Packages, which hike the 2.0-litre direct-injection boxer engine's power from the regular 147kW to 164kW (220hp) and up to 171kW (230hp).
The upgrade kits will be offered in Australia via Sydney-based MRT Performance. As the exclusive Australian dealer for Cosworth, MRT's managing director, Brett Middleton, said cars fitted with the kits would retain their factory warranty when "supplied and fitted by us".
Pricing is yet to be confirmed in Australia but the kits wo't come cheap, as Cosworth is charging UK customers £2000, £2699 and £3799 for the stage 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3 kits respectively. At the time of writing that converts to roughly $3600, $4900 and $6900.
Middleton told motoring.com.au that local pricing "varies with exchange rate and we are currently finalising pricing".
The packages add a small number of new parts to the 86/BRZ, the basic stage 1.1 package comprising a polished stainless-steel cat-back sports exhaust system, high-flow air filter and an ECU tweak that hikes power by 17 kilowatts to 164kW.
Cosworth says the packages were developed "using the same methods employed in Formula One and sports car racing" and has crafted the entire range of upgrades packs to be forwards compatible. The idea of a staged approach gives customers an "affordable path to upgrade their vehicles" according to Cosworth.
Stage 1.2 adds an 'overpipe' or front exhaust with a spherical resonator and matching ECU tweaks to boost power to 167kW, while stage 1.3 adds a tubular exhaust manifold with thermal ceramic coating and further ECU calibrations to reach 171kW.
Cosworth is also working on stage 2 and 3 packages, which will take power to 242kW (325hp) and 283kW (380hp), and will be available in the "next couple of months" said Jason Watkins, Cosworth's global sales manager of performance parts.
MRT will offer all three Cosworth stage one power packs and confirmed that the high-end stage two and three packs will also be available in Australia in due course. No firm date on the kits' local arrival has been mooted, Middleton noting that it depends on demand and supply.
At present MRT Performance's most popular vehicle tuning program in Australia is for the Mitsubishi Triton ute and the company already offers several packages for the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ, including a twin-charged 184kW 86 Project. Middleton says that car has now been tuned to 250kW.
Australia is the third biggest Toyota 86 market in the world after Japan and the US, with more than 10,000 of the vehicles sold here. However sales of the new Toyota 86 are now waning: between January and May 2014, Toyota sold 2001 of its iconic sports car, down more than a third (-34.4%) on last year's 3051 sales for the same period.
BRZ sales are also down from 601 sales to 389 during the same time frame, representing a 35% drop.
Nevertheless the car is still proving to be a popular tuner car, and Cosworth Group Chief Executive Hal Reisiger, said the company has "significantly altered its approach to performance aftermarket. We are now able to supply completely validated solutions – as an entire system – to guarantee reliability and performance.
"This is a huge step change and one that will enable Cosworth to become the performance upgrade partner of choice for car manufacturers, as well as tuning professionals and enthusiasts around the world," he said.
Article by Feann Torr, www.carsales.com.au
An all new (and updated) Cosworth parts list for all makes and models will be coming to the MRT catalogue soon. Keep up to date here.