Car and Driver 10Best; Cars.com Best of 2103; Ward’s 10 Best Engines 2013; Kiplinger Personal Finance Class Winner – I don’t think Subaru anticipated just how well received the new BRZ sports car would be when co-developing it with partner Scion. Saying the 2013 BRZ from Subaru and its twin FR-S from Scion are big hits is an understatement.
With the visit of the Subie recently I have tested models from both automakers, and true to the partnership they are nearly identical save from some very minor styling and suspension changes. While testing the FR-S on the track in both manual and automatic gearbox variants, I wondered why they would even produce a version with a clutch as the automatic performed flawlessly. Then I recently drove the Subaru BRZ.
The result of the Scion/Subaru project is a rear-drive, 2+2 sports coupe that harkens back to the “good old days” of motoring. It is a departure from the norm for both marques, as Subaru has been all about AWD in recent years, and to this point Scion only offered its vehicles in FWD fashion.
Subaru brought its engineering and powertrain skillset to the project, while Scion tackled design elements along with pitching in the direct-injection technology.
All models are powered by a 200hp 2.0-liter BOXER four-cylinder engine mated to the aforementioned six-speed gearboxes sending power to the rear wheels via Torsen limited-slip rear differential. The cars feature electric power steering and four-wheel disc braking. Vehicle weight rolls in around 2,800 lbs., and fuel economy for the manual runs 22 mpg city and 30 mpg highway, with automatic-equipped cars getting 25/34 mpg respectively.
Despite EPA numbers giving a nod to the automatic car, I highly recommend driving the manual, at least for a little while. This car is so much fun and the clutch and shifter are effortless and solid. Suspension is tight when compared to other compacts, but just perfect for this peppy car and its tight chassis that rides on 17-inch aluminum wheels and sport tires.
The cloth sport seats were very comfortable, and sporty red contrast stitching work to steering wheel, shifter and parking brake boots, door panels and seating really set it off. Inside and out, the BRZ is one attractive car.
Standard across the BRZ line is touch-screen GPS nav with 6.1-inch screen with AM/FM/HD/XM radio, Bluetooth connectivity and auxiliary inputs.
For the driver fortunate enough to work up some time at the track, Subaru includes a vehicle stability control and traction control with multiple settings including sport and TCS off. Models equipped with automatic transmissions get steering wheel paddle shifters and downshift throttle-blipping control.
Pricing for the 2013 Subaru BRZ starts at $25,495, with a loaded BRZ Limited model with 6AT gearbox fetching just under 30 grand.
Fun? Check. Sporty? Check. Attractive? Check. No wonder the 2013 Subaru BRZ (and twin Scion FR-S) has taken the automotive world by storm.