Somewhere— imagine an open mountain road or high desert road circuit— there’s someone out there who’s a lot like you and me. Maybe they’re younger or older, but they enjoy driving their car just for the pure joy of driving it. Maybe they know how to heel-and-toe downshift, or even what threshold braking is about. But the main thing is they have a well-maintained car that they enjoy driving just for the hell of it!
Folks like this will understand a car like this 2015 Subaru BRZ Blue Edition on a visceral level. It’s a sports car—the result of a joint effort from Toyota and Subaru—designed to emphasize the light and affordable side of that equation. And while both qualities are somewhat debatable, in today’s market, a mass-produced car weighing just 2,764 lbs. (that meets all current safety standards) must be considered light. Similarly, this BRZ had an MSRP of $30,285 (including destination and delivery charges), which is thousands below the average cost of a car in 2015. So what do you get? Handling comes top of mind- the BRZ has a stiff platform with firm suspension that pivots delightfully while trail braking into a turn. Its 2.0-liter four-cylinder boxer engine is located low and slightly behind the front axle line, and you can feel the low Cg and polar moment as you turn the wheel. Combine that with a Torsen rear end and smooth shifting six-speed tranny (there’s also a six speed auto available, but why bother?) with short, solid throws and you’ve got a potent recipe for RWD driving fun.
Other parts of the BRZ package were equally impressive. Styling is executed in a crisp manner befitting such a low-slung sports car. I really like the slight bulges in both forward and aft fender lines, which break up the horizontal beltline of the car. The hardtop roof has ridges molded in to help promote the car’s low 0.29 co-efficient of drag. Other features, like HID headlights and LED DRLs help accent the sleek profile of the front end, while prominent taillights protrude from the rear bodywork. This ‘Series Blue’ edition adds a nicely shaped STi-branded front air dam, sideskirts and rear spoiler to the mix with black 17” alloys wrapped in 215/35-17 Michelin rubber. That treatment continued inside, with blue accented leather steering wheel and on the well-bolstered seats. Carbonfiber-like trim across the dash might have been a bit much, but seemed rugged enough for the cabin. Fit and finish, including the “WR Blue metallic” paint BRZ, was exceptional.
Despite all this praise, the BRZ is nowhere near the perfect car. The almost laughable rear seat is for passengers who lack legs and is better off folded down for more trunk space. The 6.1” color entertainment/nav screen is located just below the center of the dash and out of the driver’s direct line of sight. Worse yet, it’s difficult to see and operate even if you pull off the road to enter coordinates. Subaru missed the mark in offering this type of “do-everything” infotainment unit on what is an otherwise solid back-to-basics sports car. These critiques aside, it’s also no secret the BRZ could use more power. That small DOHC mill puts out only 200 hp and even that output only comes out to play from 4,500 RPM up to the 7,500 redline. Talk of a forced induction variant of this powerplant has followed the BRZ ever since its introduction in 2013- but nothing has ever come to fruition. As recently as the 2015 New York International Auto Show this month, Subaru showed what it termed a “STi Performance Concept” BRZ model. It featured upgrades to the brakes, suspension, bodywork and a turbo engine direct from Subaru’s entry in the Japanese Super GT300 series.
Reading between-the-lines, I still don’t see any real news of a production turbo engine with 300+ hp being offered with the BRZ or its Toyota cousin, the Scion FR-S, anytime soon. More likely is an aftermarket performance parts channel utilizing factory R&D. For those that want to see the BRZ perform now, the model has been classed in SCCA solo and road racing classes. And whether it’s a stripped racecar or a loaded street car, there’s bound to be someone who will enjoy driving the hell out of the BRZ- it’s that sweet!