Subaru BRZ Review Aspects of FUN

In Car Reviews, Speed, Sports Cars by Jonathan HumphreyLeave a Comment

Take a compact sized 2+2 Sports Coupe and add the following ingredients


  • Subaru WRC Mica Blue Paintwork

  • The lowest centre of gravity of any car

  • A revvy flat four 2.0 litre boxer engine

  • A set of skinny tyres on smart alloys

  • Rear Wheel Drive and a raucous sound


Car Tested SUBARU BRZ SE Lux Manual £ 26,495 on the road

The Subaru BRZ, a car on its own in the world of the mass produced hot hatch. A thrill seeking coupé, for us spirited drivers with the need for maximum driving involvement. The Subaru BRZ is the result of a partnership with Toyota. The blood brother model to the BRZ is the Toyota GT86, the cars are built by Subaru but each have their own unique and subtle qualities.

Subaru BRZ-6

Cars just don’t really fit in this box anymore, especially at this price. New cars, with a can’t wait to drive it feeling for just £24995, ok, not cheap cheap, but not as pricey as what you could consider the alternatives, with this amount of fun at hand. Alternatives could be the Porsche Cayman, but not really at twice the price, the Audi TT again expensive and without quite the same panache. The Honda CR-Z still a lot of fun, but not at the same games. The only real alternative would be the Mazda MX-5. The roadster being my pick with its retractable roof. The Mazda MX-5’s brilliantly balanced rear-wheel drive and useable performance for all.

I would say, years ago another car broke the mould such as this. The Lancia Integrale. Following in a world of hot hatches, four wheel drive in a four door family saloon, only available left hand drive, quite unexpected, colossal performance for its day. All from a very reliable, rally bred 2 Litre 200hp turbocharged lump. The car that didn’t fit the mould for below 25 grand, the Lancia attracted a lot of attention and admirers to this day. Fortunately for me I had three of them : ) It just wasn’t run of the mill, it was rare on the roads in a world of its own.

So back to the BRZ, a worldwide limited run of ten thousand cars, with just one thousand available in the UK, individuality from the off. Driving this BRZ for a week in the south of England, I only spotted two Toyota GT86 and not one Subaru, it seems people know what they are the rarity value is worth it and the glory days of the Subaru WRC will never be forgotten.

On the road the BRZ has an overall feeling of lightness and sportiness. At 1230kg it is lighter than most hot hatchbacks. The BRZ has sufficient power to induce a real satisfying drive, but not overpowered and stressy. The electric power steering gives brilliant turn-in, is well weighted and communicative. A comfortable coupé, keeping up a good pace, it can really can get places. The car is powered by a revvy, strong sounding, naturally aspirated, 197hp 2.0 Litre flat four boxer engine, as was in the Impreza. It really makes some noise when pushed, revving to 7500rpm, the sound is rather fun, like driving in a computer game. With clever sound trickery it is more in the cabin, than outside the car. The short throw six speed manual is pretty slick, with well spaced gear ratios. There is an option of an automatic should you so wish.

Relatively easy to park, it has a more compact feeling when you are in it. The low profiles of the tyres need to be considered when parking with kerbs.

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Standing by the kerb, the car has a tough appealing look, bulging, but still compact and a little boy racer helped by the WR blue paintwork. The rear features a bold angular rear spoiler, oversized rear exhaust and attractive diffuser. From inside the slight bulges on the front wings bring a further reminder and the lovely detailing in the roof line and deep front spoiler complete the look.

Sharp looking alloys with skinny tyres, the same tyres as used on the Toyota Prius. This is a car where you can learn the art of real wheel drive a car for fun, but perhaps best not done on the public road. The car feels agile, the low centre of gravity immediately makes this car feel different. There are two switches for TRC off or TRC on and VSC Sport Switch – these bring different degrees of wheel slip, Subaru’s explanation in the manual was – Normal mode allows secure and smooth, normal driving. When Vehicle Stability Control (VSC Sport) mode is activated. VSC and TRC are adjusted to afford maneuverability closer to what a driver may have imagined, while a sense of security is retained.

Large ample size doors make access to and from the front and rear very good. The comfortable black leather and alcantara seats hold you very well and the low driving position in the car feels right. In the back the Sports 2+2 seating is just about adequate, but would be more suited to children than adults on any longer journey. Silver plastic and dark grey/black with red stitching, adorn the dash and interior. It all feels well put together and lasting, although a bit plasticky here and there, but a vast improvement on coupés of old. The steering wheel is flat and completes the sporty but spartan look. All the controls are clear and easy to read, instruments feature a large central rev counter red lined at 7500rpm. The boot is more than ample for a car of this type although quite low to load, it is fairly large.

The in car entertainment could be improved, although the sound quality overall was pretty good. The Pioneer unit was pretty fiddly. Small buttons in a car that has pretty stiff suspension. The expected steering wheel controls for the phone and radio are not available – this car is for driving.

Drive Verdict – Huge appeal, highly satisfying drive, worth every penny if you feel the need…

Drive Specs – SUBARU BRZ

Engine: 1,998cc 4-cyl
Power: [email protected],000rpm
Torque: [email protected],400-6,600rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual/6-speed automatic
Kerb weight: 1,239-1,262kg
Top Speed: 140mph (manual)
0-62mph: 7.6sec (manual)
MPG: Urban cycle 31.4 mpg, Extra urban cycle 49.6 mpg, Combined cycle 40.9 mpg
CO2: 181 g/km

Warranty: 5 years 100k miles
There are 4 models available – 2.0 SE Manual £24,495, 2.0 SE Auto £26,495, 2.0 SE LUX Manual £26,495, 2.0 SE LUX Auto £27,995

Reviewed by Jonathan Humphrey - The Man from Drive
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Jonathan Humphrey

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After many, many years of being passionate about cars, spending too much money on cars and too much time driving. I now spend my time running and developing Drive.co.uk and creating a bold expressive new motoring lifestyle website.


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