Boxer engine, manual transmission, rear-wheel drive. That’s the recipe for the Subaru BRZ. Sounds good? Let’s find out.
It’s a cool looking one the Subaru BRZ and it’s been one of the biggest tuning platforms in recent years. So how does one of the most famous collaborations between manufacturers handle when you’re driving it for a week?
The recipe for the BRZ is very straight forward. Upfront beneath the long hood is a 2.0L four-cylinder boxer engine providing 200 hp and 205 Nm. The boxer engine makes it that the center of gravity is extremely low and you can feel that through the corners. The car stays virtually flat because there’s so little weight up top.
This sends power through a manual gearbox to the rear of the car where we find a Torsen limited-slip differential.
All these elements combined make up for one of the best handling recipes in the petrolhead cooking book. And the theory copies so well into the real world.
In a certain way, this car feels old-school. But not in a bad way.
It’s just that so many cars these days kinda feel detached from the road. Whether it’s by using newer technologies or trying to increase driver comfort.
The BRZ, however, is a totally different machine. It’s still reasonably comfortable but you can feel every vibration in the road coming through the tires. It’s so wonderfully communicative and unique in a car these days. The clutch is on the harder side of the spectrum but it makes driving it even more rewarding than it already was.
The pedal feel is great and so is the shifter mechanism. It’s very short and clicky which gives confidence when selecting gears.
The only part of the car letting the car down was the tires. The eco tires fitted on the Toyobaru lack quite some grip in the wet. Good if you want to be the next Ken Block but it not so much in real-world scenarios. It’s only the tires so swapping them for something more sticky will improve the handling even further.
For the facelift, Subaru decided to sharpen up the outside of the car. The C-style daytime running lights are more pronounced than before. The front bumpers also received a little love. The fog surrounds feature some new fins adding to the sporty shape of the car.
In the rear, the car receives LED brake lights which give the booty a massive overhaul. The spoiler has been lifted up from the trunk and now features 2 small end-plates and they look awesome when you’re looking in the side rearview mirrors.
Driver focussed cabin with surprises
Hop inside and you instantly feel enclosed by the car. Sitting so low down with the side supports wrapping nicely around you. The steering wheel was a bit on the low side so with my 1m82 I had trouble reading the upper numbers on the tachometer. Not that it bothered me. All throughout the car, you can find a combination of leather and suède with some pieces left plastic. Most of it is not the bad scratchy plastic and considering the price point of the car, the interior is very well put together.
A big surprise was that even at this price point, you’re not sacrificing on driver entertainment. The stereo setup is very well and even Apple Carplay and Android Auto come as standard!
What shouldn’t be a surprise is how little room there is in the back. It is possible to sit there if you have people with short legs with you. But it still is very tight.
Where it does start to show its age is a bit lower in the center console. The clock and controls for the A/C with the LCD dials feel a bit dated but then again you really have to consider the pricing of this and the point of this car.
What the Subaru BRZ delivers is something refreshing. It’s a showpiece of how in times like these, it’s still possible to create a pure driver’s experience. The BRZ provides everything the enthusiast wants in a car but doesn’t compromise on comfort for that matter. And at a price point of just below 35.000 €, it’s a damn good deal too.