Browse over 9,000 car reviews

Will Toyota and Subaru beat Hyundai to the performance EV punch? Solterra and bZ4X siblings get respective STI and GR Sport makeovers - hinting at a sporty electric future

Is this the future of performance models from Toyota and Subaru?

Subaru and Toyota have each unveiled performance-oriented concepts based on their respective Solterra and bZ4X EVs, which share common underpinnings co-developed by the brands.

While both versions sport overhauled bumper designs, bespoke colours and larger wheels, for now they remain concepts only, with no further details on how the brands plan to give each EV a production performance spin.

Subaru says of its Solterra STI Concept: “Featuring a roof spoiler, cherry-red under spoilers, and other special parts on its exterior, the model inspires Subaru’s superior driving dynamics.” While the Toyota’s blurb simply reads: “The bZ4X GR Sport Concept delivers an elevated level of environmental performance and driving pleasure.”

Specs available on Toyota’s Japanese Gazoo Racing website confirm the concept has no performance enhancements over the regular bZ4X specs, still sporting the same dual-motor set-up for a total of 160kW in all-wheel drive form. The AWD version will sprint from 0-100km/h in 7.7 seconds and has a range estimated to be “around 460km”.

The site confirms the concept has a slightly lower ride height and larger wheels, but other than that, remains the same as the standard car, in a similar fashion to the recently released Toyota C-HR GR Sport variant.

Both brands stressed that each vehicle was a concept only, so stay tuned as we close in to the local arrival of the standard EVs in Australia. The Subaru Solterra is yet to even be properly confirmed for the Australian market, while the bZ4X could arrive as early as late 2022 or early 2023 if the brand’s local division gets its way.

The Solterra STI concept was shown with similar aesthetic enhancements to its Toyota GR Sport sibling. The Solterra STI concept was shown with similar aesthetic enhancements to its Toyota GR Sport sibling.

Will that be soon enough to challenge Hyundai’s similarly-sized Ioniq 5, though? Not only can the Korean brand not build enough of its first dedicated EV to meet demand, but it has alluded to a full performance N variant – not just a wheel and sticker pack – on the horizon on more than one occasion.

Will Toyota or Subaru raise the bar to match it? We’ll be keeping a close eye on all three models in the coming months.