Subaru BRZ review: Bringing the fun back
Stripping the sports car down to the basics for people who enjoy a good drive
- Fun, high-revving engine
- Sports car good looks
- Fantastic noise
- Well priced
- Commendable fuel economy
- Cramped back seats
- Stiff ride
Price$ 37,150.00 (AUD)
Subaru’s BRZ is a modern twist on the classic sports car. The body is low and long, it has a naturally aspirated engine and the power goes to the rear wheels. This is a car for people who want to enjoy driving, and it is a car most can afford.
Open the door and you’ll be greeted by an interior free from distractions. The simplistic radio is borrowed from a Toyota Corolla, and although the car comes kitted with Bluetooth, it is a primitive installation that works only for phone calls. There’s no reverse parking camera or sensors. Luxuries are few and far between, and the BRZ is all the better for it.
Ditching superfluous electronics makes it possible to focus on driving. The ethos behind this Subaru and Toyota project is to make you, the driver, an integral part of the machine.
No paddles rest on the sports steering wheel. Changing gears is done by an old-school six speed manual. The stick has a short throw and tiny vibrations channel through it to your hands. It quivers in neutral. A manual gearbox may not be the fastest way to change gears — performance brands may consider it archaic even — but it is by far the most involving.
Long gear ratios make the trip from zero to a hundred a downright joy. The exhaust note climbs in pitch with every thousand revs, growing more sonorous as it passes three-thousand, four-thousand, then five-, six- and finally seven-thousand. As the pitch increases, so too does the suspense and exhilaration. A gear indicator glows orange ahead of the 7400 redline, and then, with a hit of the light performance clutch comes a quick change.
All of this excitement happens at accessible 60, 80 or 100 kilometre-per-hour speeds. The manual gets to a hundred in 7.6 seconds with a sense of drama. Other cars are faster, but their thrills lay beyond legal speed limits.
The beauty of the BRZ is its power can be enjoyed. The 2-litre, 4-cylinder boxer engine is lifted from Subaru’s performance stable. It’ll send 147kw to the rear wheels, and although more power still could’ve been milked by adding a turbo, the engine never leaves you wanting — not for speed, noise or thrills.
Not kitting the engine with a turbo means it does without lag. Another bonus is the engine note, which sounds utterly guttural beyond 2500rpm. The climbing needle taunts you to keep the throttle down. It is visceral in tone, the by-product of a high-revving internal combustion engine, free from the perverting whine of a spooling turbo.
Chuck the BRZ into the corners and it’ll hold its own. The front-to-rear weight distribution is 53-to-47. The tyres — hand me downs from Toyota’s Prius range — might underwhelm on paper, but they proportionately match every other aspect of the BRZ.
Corners tell that the tiny details add up: the naturally aspirated engine, the light 1238 kg weight, the taut suspension, the low ride height, the manual transmission, the Michelin tyres, the bare dash, the fact the boot lacks a lining — all of it makes undeniable sense when the BRZ is shown a bend. No part of this car has been picked in isolation; rather, each individual component fits in with every other, like one piece of an elaborate puzzle.
Driving civilised is a matter of shifting into a higher gear, which is one way to evade the seductive engine notes. Pop it in fifth and, for the most part, it becomes a grand tourer. We drove a thousand kilometres within the week and the BRZ averaged 8.8-litres of fuel per every 100 kilometres. The method behind the choice of tyres shines through as they aid fuel economy as well as they do corners. The weight of the clutch is comfortable, and although the ride is bumpy, it’s manageable enough to make the BRZ’s sporty persona worthwhile.
Perfect sports cars aren’t perfect on civic roads. The BRZ’s back seats are more a theoretical possibility and will cause discomfort to anyone with feet or lower limbs. Then there’s the blind spot, which can’t be seen by anyone nudging 6-foot on the driver’s side. These few dark colours aren't nearly enough to spoil the overall picture. Not even close.
Once upon a time people would go on drives for the sake of it. Now the task is resigned to the gaps in the day where necessity dictates we go from A to B. Somewhere along the way a great pastime was rendered a chore.
Subaru’s BRZ brings the fun back. You’ll want to go on long, pointless cruises purely for the joy of going on a long, pointless cruise. This is a car that appeals to the adolescent inside of you, with its lively engine and gracious poise, and yet it doesn’t neglect the responsible adult, with a low price, mileage that is commendable and tyres that are inexpensive.
At the end of the day, when you pull the BRZ into the driveway and make the long walk to the front door, just before taking a step inside, you’ll look back.
Join the newsletter!
Bang and Olufsen Beosound Stage - Dolby Atmos Soundbar
LiTMUS LAB Dakota Side Table
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 5G
WD My Passport™ SSD
Amazon Echo Dot with Clock (4th Gen)
Toys for Boys
Nakamichi Delta 100 3-Way Hi Fi Speaker System
ASUS ROG, ACRONYM partner for Special Edition Zephyrus G14
Bose SoundLink Revolve Bluetooth Speaker
Theragun PRO Percussive Therapy Device
Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones
WD_BLACK™ SN850 NVMe™ SSD
Sony Playstation 5
Fender Fullerton Ukele
Fujiflim Instax Square SQ1
MSI Modern 14
Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for Nintendo Switch
Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean 9000 Toothbrush
Garmin vívofit® jr. 2
Lego Mindstorms Robot Inventor
MSI GE66 Dragonshield Limited Edition
Dickie Toy Remote Control Mega Crane Set
Teac 7 inch Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player
SunnyBunny Snowflakes 20 LED Solar Powered Fairy String
Kindle Paperwhite eReader (10th Gen)
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Google Pixel 5 Review: Soft Reboot
- 2 Sonos Arc review: The Main Event
- 3 Samsung Galaxy Z Flip review: Killer form-factor, lethal price-tag
- 4 Oppo A5Xs review: Cutting corners
- 5 Garmin Fenix 5 fitness tracker smartwatch review
Latest News Articles
- Taxify rolls out fixed pricing
- IFA 2018: LG ink parternship with Luxoft to bring WebOS to cars
- Navman Introduces Drive Duo 2
- Navman introduces 2018 GPS range
- Navman releases 2018 MiVUE Dash Cam range
PCW Evaluation Team
Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.
This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.
It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.
As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.
The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.
This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.
- Sonos Arc review: The Main Event
- Google Pixel 5 Review: Soft Reboot
- How the Xbox Series X (and xCloud) saved me from buying a gaming PC
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies