Review 2013 Subaru BRZ | Dynamic and Visually Stunning
By Petrina Gentile, Globe and Mail
Subaru is sexy and sporty for under 30 grand
Subaru often gets overlooked by car shoppers. But that should change with the latest addition to its family – its first rear-drive sports car.
The brand-new 2013 Subaru BRZ is a dynamic, visually stunning car that will appeal to both the young and old. And the affordable price tag makes it even more appealing. For less than 30 grand, you get a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive sports car that will satisfy any car enthusiast on a budget. The BRZ is a sports car like no other. Okay, one other: the Scion FR-S.
Subaru and Toyota joined forces to develop a RWD sports car. The BRZ and FRS share mechanical features and look strikingly similar stylistically. Both are built at the same factory in Gunma, Japan. The FR-S, however, is slightly cheaper, at $26,300; the BRZ starts at $27,295. However, dollar for dollar, more value comes from the BRZ. Make no mistake – this is no stripped-down model.
The base BRZ comes well equipped with standard features such as a GPS navigation system with a 6.1-inch LCD touch screen, CD player, cruise control, a remote keyless entry system, vehicle stability control and traction control system with five modes, including Sport and TCS Off – in case you want to have some fun doing doughnuts in an abandoned parking lot.
If you want more, there’s the BRZ Sport-tech package, which adds leather/alcantara seats, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control system, fog lights, a push-start ignition with smart key and a rear trunk spoiler. It pushes the price up slightly, but it’s still less than 30k; the Sport-tech option starts at $29,295.
The 2013 BRZ – which means Boxer Rear Drive Zenith – is a 2+2 sports car powered by a new high-performance, 2.0-litre Subaru Boxer engine that delivers 200 hp and 151 lb-ft of torque. There’s no flat-six available – only the four-banger. A six-speed manual transmission is standard; a six-speed automatic is optional.
The BRZ has a low centre of gravity. At 459 mm, officials boast it’s one of the lowest of any production car in the world and also the lightest RWD 2+2 production sports car in North America, weighing in at 1,253 kg. But despite its light weight, it’s not the fastest out of the gate. It will hit 0-100 km/h in 8.4 seconds with the automatic; the manual shaves a little off that time to 7.7 seconds. Frankly, the numbers are nothing to write home about.
However, the BRZ is responsive and well balanced. Steering is excellent, following the driver’s input perfectly. My tester has the optional six-speed automatic transmission with a manual shift mode, downshift blipping control, steering wheel paddle shift control switches, sport shift mode and snow shift mode. I thought I’d prefer a stick, but using the paddle shifters proved to be exhilarating – the up shifts and downshifts were impressively quick.
Around sweeping bends, the coupe handles beautifully. It’s nimble and agile and its small size makes it easy to park in tight spots.
A deep exhaust note is always audible in the cabin. It’s not bothersome, but the constant road and wind noise is. The ride is also jittery and harsh – you’ll feel every nook and cranny in the road.
The BRZ is tight on space; there’s only 196 litres of cargo room, although the two rear seats can fold flat for extra cargo carrying capacity. And that’s the way to go. The rear seats are useless for adults – even kids will have a tough time riding in the rear.
Whichever angle you look at, gorgeous striking lines accentuate the BRZ. Its sexy and stylish with arched front fenders and 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels that give it a muscular, athletic stance.
Inside, you sit low to the ground. The performance-designed front seats are well bolstered to keep you firmly in place when taking corners quickly. The steering wheel, wrapped in black leather with red contrast stitching, is unadorned with buttons of any kind – it’s a refreshing change from steering wheels littered with cruise, audio and other infotainment buttons. The cabin is plain, but attractive. The dashboard layout and design is clean and uncluttered.
In the automotive world, safety is significant and the Subaru BRZ ranks high; it received a 2013 Top Safety Pick award from the U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. In order to get that designation, a vehicle must receive a “good” performance rating in frontal, side, rollover and rear impact crash tests.
The Subaru BRZ is a sexy little sports car that will appeal to anyone looking for uncompromising fun at an affordable price.
Tech Specs: 2013 Subaru BRZ
Type of vehicle: 2+2 sports coupe
Base Price: $27,295; as tested, $28,495
Engine: 2.0-litre, DOHC, four-cylinder Subaru boxer
Horsepower/torque: 200 hp/151 lb-ft
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Fuel economy (litres/100 km): 8.3 city/5.9 highway; regular gas
Alternatives: Scion FR-S, Ford Focus ST, Hyundai Genesis Coupe, Mazda MX-5, Mini Cooper S,Honda Civic Si