Reviews

2016 Subaru BRZ Driving Impressions


Despite the seats, the ride feels fine on back roads and in town, on a suspension that’s taut and compliant. A Torsen limited-slip differential gives the rear wheels more bite, even on the road before the point of sliding.

The steering ratio is quick, and the steering itself communicative. The BRZ tells you through the seat of your pants as well as the steering wheel what it’s going to do, and that’s a special thing that makes a car a keeper. The low center of gravity (one of the lowest of any mass production car) and 2,800-pound curb weight both speak to that. Handling and body control are confidence-inspiring and extremely predictable.

It’s not surprising that the BRZ is a popular track-day car. It has a setting that backs off the stability control, and another that shuts it off altogether. We mentioned tossability. That’s what is such a hoot about the car, its balance and predictability with the tail out, which the stability control will allow.

With low front struts and springs, a stiffening brace between them, and a double-wishbone suspension, the BRZ is tuned to slide when the throttle is hammered. With a manageable 200 horsepower, things happen slow enough for comfort.

The engine is high-rpm and low torque, and is most fun over 4500 rpm where the torque is strong, up to 6500 rpm redline. The exhaust barks like it’s trying to be a WRX.

We prefer the 6-speed manual gearbox, for its short and precise throws. But the paddle-shifting 6-speed automatic works, with its Sport mode that sharpens and delays shifts, and matches the revs with a blip on manual downshifts. We especially like the Sport mode because it doesn’t upshift on its own.

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