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Subaru BRZ

The independent definitive Subaru BRZ video review

BOX FRESH (some text hidden)

By Jonathan Crouch

Subaru's BRZ sportscar gets a smarter look, more sophisticated inotainment and sharper handling. What's not to like? Jonathan Crouch checks out the changes.

Ten Second Reviewword count: 71

The BRZ has proved to be a Subaru like no other before it, produced as part of a joint project with Toyota to breathe new life into an affordable rear-wheel drive coupe market that was once so vibrant. This car doesn't need to be concussively quick, for the real joy in driving it comes through the tactility of its controls and the purity of its handling. Now it's been usefully updated.

Backgroundword count: 193

Subaru has made its name amongst performance enthusiasts with rally replicas like the Impreza WRX. Yet the BRZ sports coupe we're looking at here is about as far away from a rally replica as you're ever likely to get, its engineers proudly trumpeting the absence of 4WD, turbocharging and sophisticated electronics, ironically the very things this Japanese brand has promoted to performance people for so many years. It came about as part of a joint project with Toyota who wanted a return to the affordable sportscar market but didn't have the production or the development capacity for it. Subaru provided both, creating what they see as a sportscar in the classic sense - rear wheel drive with a front-engined layout, a low centre of gravity and a high-revving engine. Having perfected the recipe, Toyota supplied the exterior design and production began at a purpose-built plant, both of this BRZ and its near-identical Toyota counterpart, the GT86. That car has a much higher market profile but a strong after-sales package means that this one might just be a better real world choice. Either way, fast fireworks seem guaranteed. Let's check out this revised version.

Driving Experienceword count: 273

Apparently, the BRZ's name tells you everything you need to know about this car. 'B' stands for 'Boxer engine', 'R' for 'Rear wheel drive' and 'Z' for 'Zenith' - the ultimate in affordable thrills. Is that what this is? From an early glance at the stats, you might wonder. There's nothing especially startling here, the 2.0-litre flat-four engine producing 197bhp and 205Nm of torque, enough to get you to sixty from rest in 7.6s on the way to a top speed of 143mph. Plenty of comparably priced hot hatches can match or beat that. But none of them can deliver the driving experience on offer from this Subaru. It's a normally aspirated, front-engined, rear-wheel drive coupe. Let's start with that. For a keen driver, the recipe doesn't get much purer. Plumb in a boxer engine that helps it to a centre of gravity lower than a Ferrari 458, add a proper mechanical limited slip differential and offer a six-speed manual gearbox with three beautifully spaced aluminium-plated pedals in the footwell and you have what most would agree is a very good start. Even from this point it would have been easy to get things wrong. But Subaru didn't. On the contrary, the BRZ is so right in so many ways it's almost as if the hand of Porsche has worked upon it. There's a simplicity to its controls, a delicacy and tactility to the steering and the pedals that offer the keen driver so much. Improvements for this revised version include refinements to the engine and drivetrain, plus redesigned dampers that reduce body roll and a new 'TRACK' driving mode for circuit use.

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Pictures (high res disabled)

Statistics (subset of data only)

Min

Max

0-60 mph (s):

7.6

8.2

Combined mpg:

36.2

39.8

CO2 (g/km):

164

Extra urban mpg:

44.1

49.6

Height (mm):

1425

Insurance group:

31

... and 7 other stats available

Scoring (subset of scores)

Category: Sporting Cars

Performance
70%
Handling
90%
Comfort
70%
Space
80%
Styling, Build, Value, Equipment, Depreciation, Handling, Insurance and Total scores are available with our full data feed.

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