£22,495 - £26,495 Price range
36 - 39 MPG
With so much in common with its nigh-on identical sister, the Toyota GT86, the Subaru BRZ’s high wowscore shouldn’t be too much of a shock. As is the case with the Scooby’s twin, the critics have plenty of praise for the BRZ, and all rate it as one of the best sports cars on sale today.
However, being so similar to the GT86 does mean the BRZ has also acquired almost all of the not-so-good points that affect its Toyota counterpart…
Whilst the BRZ certainly isn’t riddled with problems, there are – inevitably – a few things it doesn’t do so well when compared with its rivals. The biggest drawback seems to be in the car’s cabin – though it’s undoubtedly well screwed together, most reviews aren’t too impressed with the quality of the plastics used throughout the cabin.
Practicality was also an area that was met with much scrutiny, with the general consensus being that adults will struggle to fit in the two rear seats. While the boot itself is decently sized for a sports coupe, the opening itself is actually quite narrow.
It’s not all bad news, though: there’s plenty of head and leg room up front for the driver and the passenger who’s riding shotgun, and many were fond of the very driver-centric orientation of the cabin.
As you’d expect from a car of this calibre when driven in a manner befitting its purpose the Subaru BRZ is a terrific car to drive – maybe even better than the GT86 thanks to a slightly more focussed suspension set up.
It’s largely unanimously agreed that it’s fabulous fun to hustle down a twisty B-road in, and – thanks to the skinny tyres – you can reach the car’s limits at speeds that won’t necessarily get you points on your licence. Which is always good to hear!
When you’re done lapping up the crisp agility and the insta-quick steering response and settle down at a cruise, though, the BRZ is still a capable car. It’s a given that you won’t get a limo ride, nor is the lack of low-down torque great for high-gear overtaking manoeuvres, but the overall refinement levels and the firm yet surprisingly comfortable ride (for a sports car…) means the BRZ isn’t out of its depth on dual carriageway jaunts.
There’s only one engine for the BRZ, so it’s pretty good to hear that the tweaked, de-turbocharged version of the 2.0 four-cylinder Boxer engine from the Japanese market’s Impreza STi – is actually quite a good one.
While the 200hp power output might not be that exciting in an age where even a BMW 525d can beat the BRZ on the dyno, it’s still plenty enough for the Subaru’s needs. Its maker claims the 0-60mph sprint is dealt with in 7.6 seconds, whilst top speed is pegged at 140mph.
Though most critics reckon the power and torque are a bit flat below 4,000rpm, the engine’s rev-hungry nature (the redline’s at 7,000rpm) means it’s by no means a chore to work hard. We can imagine the torque deficit might be a bit of a nuisance on drives in the fast lane though when you want to accelerate without changing down a gear or two.
At least the BRZ’s fairly frugal by sports car standards: Subaru claims the car can return up to 36mpg on the combined cycle. Then again, the CO2 emissions of 160g/km do mean the VED (road tax) bill does come in at a fairly hefty £170.
Neither the Toyota nor Subaru have undergone Euro NCAP crash testing, so it’s difficult to assign an objective rating to the BRZ. The US Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has subjected the BRZ to crash testing though and found it be be “Good” (the top category) in almost all areas.
It’s not a surprise – the BRZ carriers seven airbags, Isofix seat anchoring points, brake force distribution, brake assist and whiplash-prevention headrests. Whether it’s you that runs out of talent or someone else, you should be safe in the BRZ!
Being one of the more affordable sports coupes on the market, the Subaru BRZ does look like a pretty enticing ownership proposition on paper. The running costs are perhaps not that inspiring, but the asking price is quite intriguing, especially when you factor in all the equipment that comes as standard. All BRZs come with alloy wheels, dual-zone air con, cruise control and heated front leather seats, no matter the spec.
It’s worth pointing out that the BRZ comes with Subaru’s five-year/100,000 mile warranty, which should put the owner’s mind at ease during that period. The BRZ will also be a less-common sight on the road than its GT86 stepsister, so it should (at least in theory) retain more of its value.
However, some of the available options aren’t particularly cheap. The automatic gearbox, for instance, comes in at £1,500!
Much like the Toyota, the Subaru BRZ should be right at the top of your shopping list if you’re a keen driver who wants to add a top-notch sports car to your garage that doesn’t come with a killer price tag or crippling running costs.
And, while it does have obvious limitations when it comes to being a provider of practicality and a standard bearer of luxury, its talents elsewhere more than justify its ranking as a great sports car.
Long story short, we can heartily recommend you take a look at the Subaru BRZ if you’re in the market for such a car. The only big hurdle to overcome, though, is deciding between this and the Toyota GT86!