To get the fastest diagnosis of an engine’s power, acceleration, and even who it ought to appeal to, you need to hear the key in the ignition… or finger on the start button. Sliding into the Subaru BRZ’s front seat you would expect the brand’s distinctive firing order. So the BRZ’s noise diagnosis: if you enjoy driving and enjoy the road, it’s worth every penny. The sound could be enhanced but the exhaust pipes limit it slightly, and sound isolation inside the vehicle is fairly solid, which is really a positive point except for when you actually enjoy listening to a boxer engine. The Subaru BRZ embodies a fun second car, designed for trips out the city onto winding roads (N.B. the lack of ‘weekends away’ as a suggestion for its use, entertainment came before interior space for suitcases on the designers’ wish-list).
This sports car seems to lack torque, only producing 151 lb/ft and counting on 200bhp. In its defense, rather than being a disappointment the amount of torque it isn’t even a problem, as the BRZ is very light and makes the most of this small force at low revolutions (though we’d always appreciate more!) The engine dips until it passes 3,000 rpm, but most impressively still finds more up to 7,000/7,500 rpm when most cars would need to switch gears. This low-riding car, with an even lower point of gravity than the Ferrari 458, is a statement by Subaru which fortunately does not result in a problem for going over speed-bumps. Their preference for all-wheel-drive vehicles being thrown out the window with the Boxer, Rear-wheel drive, Zenith shows that this model is built for tracks, for drifting and to remain stable along any curve.
What can the Subaru BRZ be compared to? The Peugeot RCZ Coupé sits in a similar price range of about five and a half hundred thousand Mexican pesos, (US$32,000), visually attracts a similar audience and even shares the tiny rear seat issue with the BRZ. Both brands decided to cram this extra row of useless seating into the back, which would not even take a child’s seat because it would be completely unmaneuverable if you ever did get it installed. There is no comparing the mean stare of the BRZ to the Peugeot RCZ’s stout snout, however; the stockier grille on the Subaru means business, and the ‘eyebrows’ that lift over the headlights, indenting the nose of the vehicle, highlight the function of the lower hood that allows the driver’s seat to almost caress the ground without impeding the view of the road ahead. The Peugeot, while gaining points for being convertible, is also missing the Boxer engine, which is key to the Subaru’s appeal. The Scirocco by Volkswagen is another competitor, not as exciting in our opinion, but a solid competitor that has the advantage of a turbocharged direct-injection engine. The Scirocco, recognized as one of the most agile four-cylinder engines available also accelerates 0-60 in barely 6 seconds, whereas the Subaru’s fastest BRZ takes 7.6 seconds.
Returning to the interior features, the back seat, while useless for people, will have to be a perch for your bag, as the trunk is not an option. Subaru chose to fill that with a full size spare tire instead of a temporary or compact spare. We really think the trunk would be better to have been extended into the rear bench space, which would also offer a tad more leeway for the driver to slide the seat back, as owners taller than 1.8 m would be on the limit of the seat adjustments. Nonetheless, the BRZ is supremely comfortable inside, and the uncrowded dashboard is just to the tastes of those who prefer down-to-earth cars. The grittiness of being able to totally turn off all the security systems to play is a fantastic option, and returns the Subaru to a type of rawness that personifies the brand.
The BRZ has beautifully direct steering, albeit electric, a short and direct transmission, and its low center of gravity means it does not give an inch on corners. The suspension is also shocky, solid in the way that makes it great fun on smooth roads. Despite the responsive suspension it is still very comfortable for long journeys: all of the factors that would make a sports car pure agony after 3 hours on the highway are rebuffed by leather and alcantara seats that cushion you without being wallowy.
It would only be fair to compare the BRZ with another brand that does house a Boxer, but we’d struggle without leaving the price range of MX$515,000 for the manual, which our team was fortunate enough to receive. This is a raw sports car, made more exciting because you feel you have complete control of the transmission, the steering, the reactions of the vehicle. Top quality entertainment, as always, courtesy of Subaru and their Boxer engines.