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Driving It Home

Nice cars. Too bad about the names Add to ...

First we saw Scion’s concept sports car, the FR-S, in April at the New York auto show. Now word out of Japan is that the Subaru version from Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., maker of Subaru automobiles, will be called the BRZ.

Apparently engineers at both Toyota, Scion’s parent, and Subaru are in charge naming these two jointly developed cars. They’re due in the spring of 2012, we’re told.

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You see, BRZ stands for “Boxer engine, rear-wheel drive, and “Zenith,” reports www.just-auto.com. In New York, Jack Hollis, the head of Scion in the U.S., told reporters that FR-S stands for “front engine, rear-wheel-drive, sport.”

Acronyms such as these two are never a good idea; they are too easy to forget or confuse with other alphanumeric names. Lincoln’s lineup of MKZs and MKTs and MK-whatevers is an ideal example of how to confuse the buying public.

Now we get the “BERZZ” from Subaru and the “FRISS” from Scion. Wonderfully forgettable, both of them.

Too bad. Both the BERZZ and the FRISS promise to be quite interesting rear-wheel drive sports cars. We’ll see the Subaru car at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show in September and we can expect more news about the eventual hybrid version. Just-auto says the production version of the BERZZ will have its world premiere at the Tokyo motor show on November 30.

In New York, Scion’s next sports car got a rousing introduction. With its Subaru boxer engine, rear-wheel drive, perfect weight balance, low-slung design and $25,000-$30,000-ish price tag, the FRISS looks like something Scion needs to create much-needed buzz.

Scion types in New York said the FRISS is the spiritual successor to the AE86 Corolla, a highly sought after collectible for its front-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout, light curb weight and well balanced chassis, notes Automotive News. The FRISS and the BERZZ are expected to come with a six-speed manual or automatic transmission, steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters and a limited-slip differential to help effectively distribute power.

Note to Subaru and Scion: It’s not too late to give these new sporty entries proper names. Somehow the BERZZ and the FRISS seem a tad lacking.

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