But in the BRZ that engine sits even lower and farther back than in any other Subaru, nine inches further back compared with that in the Impreza.
The center of gravity is just 18.1 inches in front and just slightly higher than that in the rear. By lowering the engine, Subaru was able to lower everything else, too, from the roofline and the hood to the seating position for the driver and passengers.
The resulting smaller roll moment reduces body roll and allows greater grip on what will be the car's standard summer tires, Subaru says. There will be no all-season tires available at launch.
In addition to being mounted low, the engine is just about all-new, too. The FA doesn't share many parts with the existing FB engine.
"It's a special engine made for high performance," said Subaru's Todd Hill, car line manager for the BRZ.
The powerplant has its own block, head, connecting rods and pistons. High performance also means a 7,450-rpm redline, 12.5:1 compression ratio and roller rocker valvetrain.
It has a square 86-by-86-millimeter bore and stroke, and Toyota's D4S fuel injection. Under low loads it runs an Atkinson cycle to increase fuel efficiency. The torque hits 150 lb-ft at 3,000 rpm and again from 5,000 rpm to 7,000 rpm. There is no room for a turbocharger, Subaru says.
The engine will come mated to your choice of a short-throw manual or an Aisin automatic with manual, sport and normal modes. Both have six speeds. A Torsen limited-slip diff will ride out back, managing slip to the rear-drive wheels.
The suspension is also an exclusive design not shared with any other Subaru product, Hill said. "The design is loosely based on some of our other products but it's mostly all-new."
The front lower arm is reversed from that in the WRX. The front stabilizer bar is connected directly to the struts and is designed to maximize suspension stroke. The springs are in line with the struts to keep the hoodline low.
The rear suspension is based on that of the Impreza but modified to accept the BRZ's rear differential.
"We spent an enormous amount of time tuning the suspension," Hill said. "You'll feel it when you drive the car. Our suspension tuning will be different than the Toyota [version of the car]. I can't say how. But it will be a little different."
The electronic power steering operates on a 13:1 ratio and is controlled through a 14.4-inch wheel. Subaru says electric power steering was chosen "for feel and efficiency." Subaru says all joints and attachment points are "very rigid, very stiff to ensure communicative steering."
All of which sounds very promising.
Look for it in showrooms in May, starting at about $25,000.