I Wish I Was Back in England - 2013 Subaru BRZ Long-Term Road Test

2013 Subaru BRZ Long-Term Road Test

2013 Subaru BRZ: I Wish I Was Back in England

May 28, 2013

2013 Subaru BRZ

West L.A. traffic is a depressing place to be in a Subaru BRZ. And yet there I was yesterday, caged like a caffeinated puppy, raring to go with no ability to do so. So instead I zoned out for a bit and pictured myself two weeks prior, on vacation, and touring the English countryside. Then I had a 1.6-liter Nissan Qashqai: a comfortable, easy-to-drive runabout rather well suited to sitting in suburban traffic. If only a trade of automobile and setting would've been possible...

There was one particular road, the B3109 in Wiltshire leading roughly from Box to Bradford-on-Avon. Nothing especially technical and hardly one of those sinewy lanes you'd see on the pages of Evo with sheep sprinkled in the foreground and grand hilly vistas beyond. (I'd get a taste of that briefly in South Wales, but fog and the Qashqai dampened the fun). Just gentle bends, barely two cars wide and lined in manicured hedges six feet high, creating loads of blind corners and the general feeling that I was driving with Alice through Wonderland.

It was on roads like this where I began to understand why Britons like their cars small and agile. (The even narrower village lanes drove home the point). And it's on roads like this where the BRZ belongs. It's sharp, it's nimble and it's the perfect size. The snick-snick shifter would've been a treat to row and there are no great elevation climbs like on our own twisty roads through the mountains to flummox its humble boxer.

As I continued to pine for this glorious match of car and road, reality rears its ugly head and I come to a stop at a traffic-clogging red light intersection. "Roundabouts," I say to myself with equal parts longing and regret. The BRZ would be an absolute hoot on a clear roundabout of just the right size. Brake, blip and downshift, a quick flick left, right and left with the just-right wheel, and then back on the gas with maybe just a smidgen of tail wag if the weather's been, as the Scottish would say, "atmospheric."

Damn it, I wish I was back in England ... and I wish the BRZ was with me.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 15,398 miles


  • jederino jederino Posts:

    Nice commentary. Now imagine if you have driven either the BMW M E30, or Mercedes E190 Sport Evo, would the BRZ drive as rewarding as these on English roads?

  • skw0123 skw0123 Posts:

    Despite the fact that they drive on the wrong side of the road, England CAN be just about as close to driving heaven as you can get. (I'd put bicycling in California in that same category.) Of course, get behind a little traffic on one of those roads during a bank holiday weekend and I'm sure the story gets a little less savoury.

  • vwgolf_1999 vwgolf_1999 Posts:

    Brings back good memories. If you'd driven a bit further, you could have enjoyed driving through the "Wallops" (Lower Wallop, Middle Wallop, Over Wallop, and my favorite .... Nether Wallop) - great roads and such fun to pronounce! Plus ... the first sighting of the spire of Salisbury Cathedral from the surrounding countryside is pretty amazing ... hopefully you got to see this.

  • sharpend sharpend Posts:

    Come on Riz, you're office is practically next door to some epic canyon driving roads in Malibu and Topanga. No need to go to England for great driving. Sheesh!

  • quadricycle quadricycle Posts:

    Not exactly the same kind of terrain, but a drive up the coast towards Washington then into Montana is quite beautiful. I never really considered England great driving country but that may be because I wasn't old enough to drive when we lived there, oh and there was nothing but those cramped village roads were we lived. Sheep on one side, strawberry fields on the other.

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