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Inside and out: 2013 Subaru BRZ

BRZ Subaru
ZTSG 10/02/2022 Coupe 144
Subaru has a knack for making the best cars. Any car enthusiast knows that WRX STi is a legend, and many people would think it is the ultimate car. The perfect combination of daily riders and track mo...

Subaru has a knack for making the best cars. Any car enthusiast knows that WRX STi is a legend, and many people would think it is the ultimate car. The perfect combination of daily riders and track monsters is the perfect road bulldog all year round. Subaru, which has monopolized the daily driving of AWD, has now decided to prove its strength in the world of sporty RWD coupes. With the influx of mpg-eager hatchbacks and crossover SUVs, this group is getting smaller every year. The question is how does it match?

Competition

Performance, Pedigree, and Styling

Competition

Many of these weekend street sprinters have fallen by the wayside over the years. The Supra went extinct in the ’90s, Honda dropped the S2000 and the working man’s supercar NSX a few years ago, and the Silvia called it quits after being one of the most popular tuner cars in history. Its closest rival and last of the rotary-powered sports cars, the Mazda RX-8, tucked its tail and ran before the BRZ even showed up to the party. So what’s left?

Nissan: With the recent resurgence of “Godzilla” (GTR), Nissan decided to revamp the Z series. After some track and field days the Z is back and better than ever as the 370 takes over the reigns. The 350Z had the horsepower to rival the E46 M3 at 287, and the absolutely revolutionary styling way ahead of its time! However it wasn’t very nimble on its feet, making it more of a Japanese pony car. The 370Z has the same bold fiery looks, it’s revved up to 332 hp, and it knows what a corner looks like.

At a base price of just over $33,000 you get all of that plus a 6-speed manual gearbox. However the optional extras add up quickly, and by the time it has the Nismo package you are looking at an extra 10k. So the Nissan trumps the 4 cyl 200hp boxer BRZ in power, and possibly looks. Price goes to the Subaru, with a base model starting out at $25,495. The top trim model is just $27,495 with fog lights, spoiler, and leather seats! It also has back seats if necessary to squeeze 4 people into, 2 more than the flashy 370z. I can attest to the fact is has boatloads of torque as well! As you shift up through the 6 speed manual gear box, it never seems to run out of it. It makes a great use of the 151 ft lbs of torque.

However, if we are going to compare the BRZ to the Zs, I think it is best if we wait until they release the turbocharged, estimated 250hp “STi” version, and be looking out for that in 2014 lineup. With those looks how could you pick anything else?

Now let’s have a look at the only real comparison left on the market to the current 2013 BRZ.

Hyundai: The Genesis crashed onto the scene in 2009, but was unfortunately marketed to the wrong crowd, and had the Hyundai name stamped on it. There were too many comparisons against the new Camaro for it to be taken seriously in the import world. You don’t see many people driving these, and that’s because everyone was still buying the better looking RX-8’s with the Mazda motorsports pedigree.

Reputation aside let’s have a look at how the stats stack up against the Subaru. It also follows the new trend of a 4cyl engine in the front and the power at the back. However this is an inline 4 compared to the Subaru’s reputable boxer engine. The Genesis has a party piece with its base model, and that is a turbocharger! This bumps the HP up to an impressive 274. At just over $24k you have the 2.0 I4 turbo, a 6-speed gearbox, and back seats. On paper it looks like a much better deal than the Subaru, but then again, the looks are horrendous.

The interior of the Genesis is simplistic and dull and sets the mood of a Honda Accord. The exterior is no better. It looks like the Tiburon out grew its own clothes, and that goofy smile is not very intimidating. There is something to be said for beauty in form following function. Hyundai should let the stylists go home at lunch next time. Also by the time you jump to the top trim so you can be taken seriously, you’ve gone over $33k. That’s 370Z money, and I’d like to meet the person who would choose the new kid in school Genesis over Nissan’s backyard brawler.

So compared to the competitors the BRZ holds its own, with affordable pricing, great styling, and good performance from its small power plant.

Performance, Pedigree, and Styling

When I first saw BRZ, I immediately noticed was who they had in their sights. It reminded me all too much of the RX-8 (which I owned at the time)...until I went for a drive. This was before its release, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was surprisingly comfortably and roomy, and rode well. Then you put your foot down and it springs to action. Around corners, you just point the nose where you want it to go, give it power and the tail slides out in the most perfect way. As the Subaru rep and I went drifting through an intersection I couldn’t believe how controlled and smooth it was! The handling is superb. It will do 0-60 in just over 7 seconds, and from what I’ve seen can get to 150mph in the real world. That coupled with 22cty/30hwy mpg, what more could you ask for?

The styling is fantastic inside and out, not too much, but it isn’t too simple or dull either. It is taken seriously, but still is fun. With Scion making the twin FR-S you also have a few different looks to choose from.

It also comes from a line performance pedigree, one of which is the Corolla GT-S, and it’s big brother the Supra. Test drive one for yourself; I guarantee you will be pleasantly surprised.

So here is: verdict. I really can only sum it up like this. We all realized this when driving in a friend's BRZ a few months ago. Flexible, agile handling, affordable price, perfect torque, sufficient power, good fuel consumption and reliability surprised us. There is a reason why Mazda avoided it before the incident. BRZ is everything RX-8 should have.