THE PROS & CONS
- What’s Best: The Subaru BRZ is an affordable sports coupe, equally at home as an everyday driver or a weekend track or autocross vehicle
- What’s Worst: Tight interior and lack of power.
- What’s Interesting: A boost in power, perhaps through turbocharging, would do wonders for this sports coupe.
A few minutes behind the wheel of Subaru’s 2017 BRZ reminds you of how pleasurable driving a classic sports car can really be.
I’m sure my wife would say it’s simply a “guy” thing, but there’s nothing better than heading out into the country in search of the twistiest roads you can find in a well-balanced, rear-wheel-drive sports car like the BRZ.
The more corners the better, I say even though my wife may think otherwise!
For years, the Mazda Miata (now the MX-5) had the market virtually to itself when it came to affordable sports cars.]
Then the Subaru BRZ and Scion FRS (now Toyota 86) hit the market in 2013 and the MX-5 had some competition on its hands even though the twins are fixed-roof coupes.
Sure the BRZ could have more power as many critics have chimed in over the years…. but folks, we’re talking about a light 1,278 kg (2,817 lb) vehicle here that pushes out 205 hp and 156 lb/ft of torque from a 2.0-litre horizontally opposed four-cylinder “Boxer” engine.
Off-the-line performance may be lacking compared to many of the high-performance (and high priced) European models we all yearn for, but Subaru quotes a 0-100 km/h time of 7.4 seconds for the BRZ which is nothing to sneeze at when you consider the outstanding steering and handling this vehicle exhibits.
Perhaps we’ll see a turbo added to the mix at some point in the future, but for now many drivers are like me and perfectly happy to enjoy the moment in the BRZ as it is now offered.
Our tester was the limited volume BRZ Inazuma Edition, painted a vibrant Exclusive Yellow colour with yellow interior accents.
If you want to blend in with the crowd, this 2+2 coupe would definitely not be the vehicle for you with its Brembo performance brakes and unique 17-inch black aluminum alloy wheels.
With its name derived from the Japanese word for lightning, the Inazuma Edition also gets upgraded SACHS performance dampers and Onyx black leather and Alcantara seats with yellow accent stitching.
Six-speed manual models like the Inazuma Edition enjoy a five horsepower and five lb/ft torque boost over the previous year’s model. The Inazuma Edition is priced at $32,695.
Also Read: 2017 Infiniti Q60 has a lot to offer.
BRZ’s base model also has a six-speed manual and is priced at $27,995. A six-speed automatic bumps the price up $1,200 to $29,195.
A second trim available is the BRZ Sport-tech, priced at $29,995 for the manual and $31,195 for the automatic.
All models benefit from a number of upgrades for 2017 including hill start assist, a feature that holds the vehicle in position while the driver accelerates from a stopped position on an incline.
Updated coil springs and dampers as well as a larger rear stabilizer bar aid the responsiveness, stability and comfort, while increased rigidity comes from additional reinforcements to the chassis.
The stability control now features a track mode and all thresholds have been raised for a more engaging driving experience.
As the only rear-drive car in the Subaru lineup, the BRZ also gets a new aluminum wing rear spoiler to improve downforce, new LED daytime running lights, headlights and taillights.
Inside, the cabin is snug and modestly finished, but the yellow accents on the special edition help liven up the interior. The ride is firm, some might call it stiff, but that’s what one would expect in a sports coupe like the BRZ.
Seating is tight for a bigger body like myself, in part because of the bolstering in the sport seats.
Legroom is surprising generous. In fact, front seat legroom seems better than in the Mazda MX-5.
The rear seat area is another story; it is really only suitable for youngsters or as additional cargo space to add to the 196 litres in the trunk area.
So while those of us with larger frames may find the BRZ a touch uncomfortable for long trips, the joy of the car is in the driving. And to my mind that trumps any of the negatives one might find.
The manual transmission is a delight to use with short, easy throws and the steering is light and quick.
All this combines to make the BRZ a car that can easily serve as a daily driver and then hold its own during weekend track days or autocross events.
Yes you can have the best of both worlds and those in the market for a fun sports coupe should find the BRZ fits their needs at an affordable price.
2017 Subaru BRZ Inazuma Edition
BODY STYLE: Two-door, four-seat sports coupe.
DRIVE METHOD: Front-engine, rear-wheel drive.
ENGINE: 2.0-litre DOHC four-cylinder Boxer engine with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic.
FUEL ECONOMY: (Regular) 9.7/11.1/8.0 L/100 km city/highway/combined.
CARGO CAPACITY: 196 litres.
TOW RATING: Not recommended.
PRICE: BRZ manual $27,995; BRZ automatic $29,195; Sport-tech manual $29,995; Sport-tech automatic $31,195, as tested the Inazuma Edition $32,695.
WEB SITE: www.subaru.ca