It’s always good to try something new, especially when that new thing can drift around corners in a cloud of tire smoke. Subaru and Toyota recently completed a joint project: a no-frills, genuine sports car, and it goes on sale at the end of the month. The BRZ is Subaru’s next true sports car (along with the WRX) and, thankfully for petrolheads, it will be relatively affordable.
There are plenty of sports cars out there, but the BRZ and FR-S have a major engineering feather in their caps. Subaru is known for two things: all-wheel drive and boxer engines. The BRZ is actually rear-wheel drive, the only acceptable setup for a true sports car, but the boxer engine is an integral part of its character. A boxer engine is essentially a regular V-engine that has been flattened. The pistons oppose each other like boxers in a ring, hence the name. Because of its flat shape, this type of engine sits very low in the chassis and is also very compact. That’s why boxer engines have been a fixture in the rears of Porsches since day one.
It also allowed Subaru and Toyota to place their engine very low and far back, reducing the car’s center of gravity and improving its weight distribution. With all the weight contained in the center of the chassis, the BRZ should have excellent balance. The boxer displaces 2.0-liters, producing 200 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. That’s not an outrageous amount of power, but the BRZ only weighs 2,762 lbs. That means its should be able to accelerate from 0-60 mph in 7.0 seconds, and hit a top speed of 140 mph. Again, those are not mind-boggling numbers, but that’s not really the point.
Subaru recently announced that the BRZ will start at $25,495 for Premium (the base model) with a manual transmission. The most expensive BRZ, a Limited automatic, will cost $28,595. The Subaru’s twin, the Scion FR-S, will be $1,295 cheaper in each spec. The same money will buy a less-powerful Mazda Miata, or a less graceful Mustang. A Nissan 370Z will be faster, but it costs $32,210.
The BRZ is a simple car with a single focus: making driving fun. It’s just a sports car, not a “lifestyle vehicle” or “luxury GT.” It’s not as fast or as flashy as a Corvette, but it only costs as much as a well-equipped Camry. The opportunities to experience a car’s top speed or maximum acceleration are few and far between, but even a daily commute can be entertaining in the right machine.