The first-gen Subaru BRZ was introduced more than a decade ago alongside its mechanical sibling, the Toyota 86, forever changing the world of entry-level sports cars. Before the arrival of the BRZ, the light and affordable sports car scene was rather limited, with the evergreen Mazda MX-5 Miata dominating. But the BRZ has heralded a new age and promises massive fun, reliability, and even some practicality for not so many dollars, and was all-new for the 2022 model year.
The 2023 BRZ features a 2.4-liter Boxer engine with 228 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, which is more than enough to get this two-door coupe moving. Power is sent to the rear wheels via a slick six-speed transmission which buyers can opt to row themselves. The amount of fun you can have with the BRZ borders on illegal. Subaru BRZ competitors include the Toyota GR86 and the aforementioned icon from Mazda. Ford's Mustang and the Chevy Camaro offer much more power, but can also be looked at if you want a 2+2 coupe with RWD and a manual transmission. We think you might linger over the BRZ, though - and we don't blame you.
The new Subaru BRZ coupe sees no significant changes for the 2023 model year as an all-new model was brought to the USA last year.
The price of the Subaru BRZ is one of its most attractive attributes in the US. The BRZ Premium has an MSRP of $28,595 with a six-speed manual and the six-speed automatic, adding $1,500 on top of that. The top-spec Limited retails for $31,095 with the manual gearbox, and $32,795 with a self-shifter. The cost of the Subaru BRZ excludes the $1,020 destination charge in all configurations.
See trim levels and configurations:
With only 228 horsepower and less torque than turbocharged hot hatch rivals like the VW Golf GTI, the BRZ has never pretended to be a speed demon. Instead, this stylish little Japanese coupe depends on its handling ability to entertain and wow drivers, and it's so good at doing that that we don't even need to embellish the experience: It's one of the most enjoyable cars we've ever tested. The chassis setup is all-important; the BRZ features independent MacPherson struts, coil springs and double wishbones, with front and rear stabilizer bars and near-perfect weight distribution. Combine this with a responsive steering rack and finely tuned gearing, and you have a car that will communicate through corners, turn in sharply, and give the driver the ability to balance oversteer.
The BRZ rides on high-performance summer tires in the base model but gets stickier rubber in the upper trim. In either setup, it makes the BRZ a hoot to drive. We love how the BRZ balances power outputs with the grip on offer, and the end result is one of automotive bliss.
If you're looking for a straight-line monster or something that can carry four people in comfort, then this isn't the car for you. The 2023 Subaru BRZ is a machine that sports car fans will adore thanks to its agile handling, peppy naturally-aspirated power, good looks, and affordability. The purpose of this car is to provide driving pleasure and thrills, though, and while it offers more practicality than top-down rivals like the Mazda MX-5, there's no mistaking it for a practical family car. The Subaru BRZ has a superb review from the IIHS for safety, but it's not going to meet all your family-hauling needs. What is does do well, though, is look great, drive well, and - other than some road noise intruding into the cabin - the materials and build quality are impressive. You can easily live with this daily if it's just you and your significant other. Cars like the Honda Civic Type R and Golf GTI are faster and more practical, but they offer a different experience to the rear-wheel-drive thrills the BRZ provides in spades. And for this price, the BRZ is simply hard to beat.
There are two trims for the Subaru BRZ, namely the Premium and Limited. The manuals cost less than the automatics, but even without that price difference, we'd recommend them for the layer of involvement they add to the experience. The main question becomes, "do you want a slippy BRZ or a grippy BRZ?"
The BRZ Limited adds those bigger wheels with the better tires, along with extra safety features. We don't care about the latter, but rather the tires that change the experience so much. For our money, we'd get the manual base car with the less aggressive tires. The point of this car is fun, and those Primacys are much more fun than the Pilot Sport 4 rubber. If you want something that'll lay down hot track times, get the Limited, or step up a notch or two on the sports coupe ladder for a car built for lap times, not fun.
The most popular competitors of 2023 Subaru BRZ: