Let's get this out of the way: this is not a numbers car. We know the Hyundai Veloster N and Honda Civic Type R drivers will point and laugh at the BRZ's acceleration and top speed figures, neither of which have officially been claimed by Subaru. As Agent Smith said in The Matrix, "it is inevitable."
Firstly, the BRZ does not use forced induction, which will be a bone of contention because it would be the easiest way to increase the 228 hp/184 lb-ft output. But does the power need to increase? We don't think so. In this car, it's not so much about the power but more about the way the power is delivered. And the new motor has a huge chunk of mid-range torque, which means a sub-six-second 0 to 60 mph sprint is entirely plausible. Power is sent to the rear wheels exclusively giving a pure sense of performance with driving dynamics unhampered by all-wheel drive and added weight. The BRZ prides itself on being an experience car, which is why a manual is standard, and we can't help but feel this is one of the best experiences around.
The charm of the BRZ comes down to the old adage that says it is more fun to drive a slow car fast than drive a fast car slow. The previous generation had a naturally-aspirated flat-four, which was one of the main arguments against it. But we always disagreed. We drove both the standard and aftermarket turbocharged versions of the previous model, and a turbocharger ruined the balance.
But the old engine suffered a few core issues. The main one was a dearth of torque, particularly in the midrange where there was a gaping hole where torque actually dipped before increasing. Then there was the sound it made, which was far from pleasant. But the new motor is bigger and better. It now displaces 2.4 liters and hits peak torque at 3,700 rpm. Figures from the new engine are 228 hp at 7,000 rpm and 184 lb-ft of torque. Two gearbox options are available, manual or automatic, both with six forward ratios.
On the backroads of Connecticut and New York, the new BRZ is a joy to pilot. Power is low enough that we didn't feel in real danger but high enough to make the narrow roads challenging and fun. We drove an automatic version (with the less sticky tires) to the track and found the programming in sport and track modes great for holding gears until the last possible second. When using the steering wheel-mounted paddles, we noticed that the BRZ seemed to cut power a split second before the digital needle hit the indicated digital redline on the digital tachometer, which was annoying. When we arrived at the legendary Lime Rock Park race track to tackle the autocross course, we stayed away from those shifters, letting the automatic transmission do the work while we concentrated on sliding around gracefully on the super tight course.
On the road, on the short track, and on the big track, the extra power was welcome. Though Subaru added a few pounds with safety equipment, its power to weight ratio is better than last year. It feels really close to perfect. We'd still aim for the manual, though, as this is a car mean to integrate driver and machine, and the manual does that perfectly.
|Subaru BRZ Trims||Subaru BRZ Engines||Subaru BRZ Horsepower||Subaru BRZ Transmissions||Subaru BRZ Drivetrains||Subaru BRZ MPG/MPGE|
|Premium||2.4L Flat 4 Gas||228 hp @ 7000 rpm||6-Speed Automatic|
|RWD||22 MPG |
|Limited||2.4L Flat 4 Gas||228 hp @ 7000 rpm||6-Speed Automatic|
|RWD||22 MPG |
With a larger engine, it's to be expected that the gas mileage of the BRZ won't be as good as the first generation. Fair enough, it's a necessary compromise for more power. Still, the BRZ is relatively light on gas, consuming 21/30/25 mpg city/highway/combined in automatic guise and 20/27/22 mpg with the preferred six-speed manual.
A 13.2-gallon gas tank is standard regardless, affording a maximum range of around 330 miles in mixed conditions with the auto and 290 miles with the manual.
|Subaru BRZ Trims||Premium||Limited|
|Subaru BRZ Tank size||6.3 gal.||6.3 gal.|
|Subaru BRZ Fuel Economy (Cty/Hwy)||20/27||20/27|