December 26, 2012
2013 Subaru BRZ. Click image to enlarge
That Subaru controlled the engineering is obvious. The BRZ feels like the WRX of old with a mechanical feel to everything you touch. The short-throw shifter moves purposefully with a notchy, mechanical feel, as does the clutch. You can feel the clutch disengage with the sole of your foot. Your hand feels the gears change in the transmission. Rest a finger on the shifter and you can feel the gears spinning.
While 151 lb-ft doesn’t sound like a lot of torque, it is enough to move the car forward with authority in any gear at almost any speed. But shift the car above 5,000 rpm and the BRZ is surprisingly quick and a whole lot of fun.
Some have described the Scion/Subaru duo as underpowered (particularly with the automatic transmission, which I have not driven), yet I don’t feel that this is the case. Appropriately powered would be a better description, because the boxer-four’s size, weight, placement, displacement, and power help make the BRZ a well-balanced sports car.
It also handles better than almost anything on the road, even better than some much more expensive coupes and roadsters. The tires on my test car had been severely punished, yet the BRZ maintained a tenacious grip on the road. The Subaru’s electric power steering directs the car where you want it to go—and right now. Understeer is nearly non-existent and oversteer is difficult to induce, such is the grip.
Yet not all is perfect, of course, which my colleagues have pointed out. The Pioneer audio/navigation system looks like an aftermarket unit and is finicky to operate, particularly if you are busy driving. And while I found enough room inside for all six foot, three inches of me, I doubt there would be sufficient head room for me and a helmet. The Subaru BRZ would be a great lapping car, but for average or undersized drivers only. There is not a lot of luggage space either, but the rear seats fold flat and can even be removed. It’s a useless rear seat anyway.
Every once in a while I drive a car that I would rather not give back at the end of the week. Most of these I couldn’t afford anyway. But with a price of just $27,295 in base form it is a bang for the buck that only the Scion FR-S can beat (by $1,200, but minus the Pioneer audio/navigation unit, auto leveling HID head lights, and LED daytime running lights).
Now the BRZ adorns my desktop. It can only be a matter of time before there is another one in my driveway.
Pricing: 2013 Subaru BRZ
Base price: $27,295
A/C tax: $100
Price as tested: $28,990
Hyundai Genesis Coupe
Mini Cooper S