2013 Subaru BRZ
2013 Subaru BRZ. Click image to enlarge
First Drive: 2013 Subaru BRZ
First Drive: 2013 Scion FR-S
Test Drive: 2013 Subaru BRZ
Test Drive: 2013 Scion FR-S
DBDR: 2013 Subaru BRZ
Comparison Test: Subaru BRZ vs. Hyundai Genesis Coupe

Manufacturer’s website
Subaru Canada

Originally Published on September 26, 2012

Review and photos by Grant Yoxon

Photo Gallery:
2013 Subaru BRZ

When I was a kid, a soccer coach told me, “Keep your eye on the goal!” This, after I missed the open net. I took him literally, though. I went home, cut out a picture of a beautiful green CCM bicycle from the Canadian Tire catalogue and stuck it to the wall above my bed. That way I would be reminded of what the goal really was. And every day I looked at that bike and dreamed of the day I would ride it. And every day I took one little step toward obtaining it; I drove my parents crazy about it until they gave up.

When I was fifteen, and in anticipation of my 16th birthday, I bought a beat up old ’60 VW Beetle for $75 and set about making it road worthy, all the while keeping a picture of a Baja Beetle (trimmed fenders, bumpers deleted, chrome reverse wheels, trumpet exhaust) taped to the rear view mirror to remind me of what the Beetle might eventually look like. I also kept a picture of a 1982 Ford Mustang GT under the clear plastic cover on my desk for five years after I sold the vehicle, searching every day for a replacement, and only removing it after the goal had been reached.

2013 Subaru BRZ
2013 Subaru BRZ
2013 Subaru BRZ
2013 Subaru BRZ. Click image to enlarge

Now I’ve done it again, only this time with a full screen photo on my desktop rather than a photo under the blotter. The object of my desire? The 2013 Subaru BRZ.

By now, probably everything that can be said about the Subaru BRZ—and its step twin, the Scion FR-S—has probably been said. If you read even infrequently about sports cars, you’ve probably read more than you want about these new coupes. Even in our own pages (see the links below), we’ve published six (SIX!) articles on the BRZ and FR-S, not counting stories from our daily news files and the auto shows.

But someone else (probably my Mom) told me that it is better to speak up. “If you like something, say so; if you don’t, say so.”

It would be easy, if the Subaru BRZ wasn’t such a darn good car, to just let it go—if you can’t say something nice, say nothing at all—but that’s not me. And that’s not the BRZ. After a really fun week driving the BRZ in town and out, I would be remiss not to add my few cents to the swelling bank of accolades that Subaru and Toyota have received for designing and building what enthusiasts have yearned for, a sports coupe that looks, drives, and communicates like a sports car should—at an affordable price.

It has all the right stuff: a low weight coupled with a well-balanced 53/47 front-to-rear weight bias and a low, low, low centre of gravity, a new Subaru 2.0-litre boxer engine with enough power (200 hp) to entertain but not enough to overwhelm, an interior that is all business and designed for driving, with snug seats and intuitive switch gear, and a sound that only a Subaru boxer engine makes, a sound that is music to my ears.

2013 Subaru BRZ
2013 Subaru BRZ
2013 Subaru BRZ
2013 Subaru BRZ
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
Options: None
Freight: $1,595
A/C tax: $100
Price as tested: $28,990

Scion FR-S
Hyundai Genesis Coupe
Mini Cooper S

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