Over the years, Subaru has earned a loyal following for building vehicles that deliver steadfast practicality and all-weather mobility. But every now and again, this Japanese company gets in touch with its wilder side. The latest result is the Subaru BRZ, a small sports car that bucks many Subaru traditions.
For starters, the sleek-looking BRZ is only available with rear-wheel drive, a major departure for a company that prides itself on offering all-wheel drive as standard equipment. The engine isn't even turbocharged, even though Subaru typically applies this technology to its high-performance models.
For all this, the BRZ has a lot to offer as a driver's car, including exceptional handling, a high-revving engine, sleek styling and compelling value. For the first time in more than two decades, shoppers looking for an inexpensive sports car finally have an excellent reason to buy a Subaru.
Current Subaru BRZ
The BRZ is an all-new model for 2013. Mechanically, it's related to the Scion FR-S since the two rear-wheel-drive cars were co-developed by Subaru and Toyota. They share the same layout, general engineering and engine and transmission, yet they differ in terms of minor styling details and feature content.
Standard equipment on the entry-level BRZ Premium model includes 17-inch alloy wheels with high-performance tires, automatic xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights, keyless entry, air conditioning, cloth upholstery, fold-down rear seatbacks, cruise control, a touchscreen navigation system, Bluetooth and an eight-speaker sound system. Going with the top Limited trim level also gets you foglights, heated outside mirrors, a rear spoiler, keyless ignition and entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery with suedelike trim, and heated front seats.
Subaru also offers a limited-edition BRZ called the tS. It comes with various body-stiffening elements, different STI-tuned suspension dampers, black 18-inch STI wheels, Brembo high-performance brakes, Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires, a pedestal-style carbon-fiber trunk spoiler, and special exterior and interior finishes.
Both BRZ models are powered by a horizontally opposed (flat-four), 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 205 horsepower and 156 pound-feet of torque. The engine sends power to the rear wheels through a standard six-speed manual transmission or an available six-speed automatic with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. (Power drops to 200 hp and 151 lb-ft with the automatic.)
The car's acceleration is adequate, but many other performance cars in this price range come with more powerful engines and quicker acceleration. On the upside, the BRZ's fuel economy is quite good, and even with the automatic transmission the car achieves 28 mpg highway.
The BRZ has a simple, pleasantly styled cabin. It will seem a bit spartan compared to some other sporty cars, but then this is supposed to be a back-to-basics sort of driver's car. The front seats are comfortable and supportive. There's a back seat, too, but it's really only suitable for children.
Where this BRZ sports car shines is in its driving character. Rear-wheel drive, agile handling, precise steering action and powerful brakes add up to a thrilling driving performance. This vehicle is wonderfully rewarding to drive around corners for novice enthusiasts as well as the more advanced.
Used Subaru BRZ Models
The BRZ debuted for the 2013 model year. It's received only minor updates since. The significant changes happened for the 2017 model year, which included a slight power increase, a few new features, and revised suspension and transmission tuning.
Read the most recent 2018 Subaru BRZ review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Subaru BRZ page.
Our expert team of auto researchers have reviewed the Subaru BRZ and compiled a list of inventory for you to shop local listings, and lease a Subaru BRZ .