2018 Subaru BRZ Review

One of our favorites since it was introduced as a near twin to the sports car now known as the Toyota 86 back in 2013, the 2018 Subaru’s BRZ is many a driving enthusiast’s dream come true. The delightfully agile rear-wheel drive lightweight coupe makes a willing engine, sharp steering, and outstanding balance available at a very reasonable price point.

By way of backstory, Toyota and Subaru collaborated on the design and production of this remarkable car. Initially, the sharp little coupe was offered as both a Scion and a Subaru, with minor detail differences setting them apart. However when Scion boarded the train to “Defunction Junction”, its version of the lovely little coupe was left behind to become a Toyota-badged model.

Characterized by an excellent driving position, remarkable comfort, outstanding ergonomics, and clean sightlines, the Subaru BRZ is one of the most satisfying driver’s cars on the market today. Happily, upgrades for the 2017 model year made what was already a great car even better. The engine’s output was bumped by five horsepower and five pound-feet of torque. Transmission gearing was revised to better exploit the newfound power, and the suspension system was reworked to improve the already delicious handling.

What’s more, an optional Performance package was added, which brought larger Brembo brakes, along with more aggressive springs and shocks. A larger rear stabilizer bar, wider wheels, strategic chassis reinforcements and higher stability control system thresholds were prescribed as well. These changes made the car brake with more authority, turn in more sharply and improved overall stability. We do wish Subaru’s chassis team had specified a more aggressive tire as well, but this was reserved for the new BRZ tS, and its even more aggressive suspension upgrades.

We’ll report on that one after we have a chance to put it through its paces.

While a huge part of the BRZ’s appeal is its back-to-basics nature, Subaru endows the sleek coupe’s interior with many nice touches. Standard features include keyless entry, cruise control, air-conditioning, full power accessories, a tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel, a height-adjustable driver seat, a fold-down rear seatback and a rearview camera. Pushbutton start, automatic climate control, and an upholstery treatment consisting of leather and simulated suede can be had as well. Trunk space, as you might expect, is a bit on the conservative side, but if you pack carefully, a weekend getaway is very doable.

Subaru’s horizontally opposed 2,0-liter four-cylinder engine now feeds 205 horsepower and 156 lb-ft of torque into the BRZ’s rear-wheel drive powertrain—if you get the six-speed manual transmission. If you go with the automatic, you’ll get 200 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque. While most people considering the BRZ are likely more interested in smiles per gallon than miles per gallon, the Subaru is rated at 24 mpg combined for the manual transmission with the revised engine. Zero to 60 is quoted at just under seven seconds, but that’s kind of irrelevant here.

Rather than straight-line acceleration, the BRZ is a car you’ll love for its ability to maintain a high average speed on the twistiest roads you can find. Said simply, the degree of control the Subaru affords, along with its impressively communicative nature, makes the BRZ one of the best driver’s cars offered today. The shifter moves positively through its gates, heel and toe downshifts are sheer bliss, and the new brakes are outstandingly robust in their determination. What’s more, the revised chassis settings always keep the car composed, even when cornering over rough surfaces.

Bottom line, the Subaru BRZ is now dialed in even better. Pound for pound, and dollar for dollar, the 2018 Subaru BRZ is easily one of the best sports car values on the market.

Pricing starts at $25,495.

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