Here’s the thing; I’ve always been a bit of a racer girl at heart. I love the Fast & Furious film series, I enjoy Sport Compact Performance shows, a loud after-market exhaust will turn my head, and I like the idea of cars that are built to look good, sound good, and go quickly. When I bought my first car, a Subaru Impreza, it obviously wasn’t the fastest nor the fanciest-looking car on the block. My boyfriend owned a WRX at the time, so I got my kicks out with his car when needed.
When the BRZ was launched just a few years ago, I was excited and annoyed all at once. Why hadn’t Subaru launched the RWD sporty coupe 10 years earlier?! If they had, it would have been my No.1 choice, hands down.
And now, nearly a decade after I bought my first Subaru, I’m still convinced that if I was in need of a vehicle, I’d put $$ down for the BRZ, even though I’m wiser in years (so they say) and have a 3-year-old son.
But it doesn’t have AWD.
This is very true. The BRZ is a rear-wheel drive sport coupe. It does not feature Subaru’s well-known and lauded symmetrical all-wheel drive. This is somewhat disappointing, but not damningly so. See, the BRZ excels so much in its RWD format, that you can completely forgive its lack of all-weather prowess.
While it might not be as practical in the winter, it is possible to drive it in such conditions, though the lower ride height will cause a few issues in the deeper stuff.
Just because it doesn’t sport AWD doesn’t mean it’s not a Subaru, either. There’s something wonderfully balanced and true about the way the BRZ drives. From take-off to cornering, this vehicle is a pleasure to drive. That has a great deal to do with the horizontally opposed 2.0L 4-cyl SUBARU BOXER engine, and the fact that it’s housed low down in the engine bay and perfectly centered.
BOXER but no turbo
While 200 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque might not seem like “a lot,” it’s plenty when it comes to the BRZ. No, it’s not excessively powerful, I’m not even sure I’d call it quick, but it’s got something that makes it fast in all the right ways.
Coupled with a 6-speed manual transmission (the only available transmission for the Aozora edition I tested), the 2.0L is a pleasure to manipulate and drive. The engine wants to be pushed and pulls all the way into 7,000 rpm. Shifting late keeps the BRZ in its happy place, and you’ll enjoy the sound of the engine (even more so with Subaru’s Sound Creator that enhances the engine note).
No matter what type of corner your throw the BRZ into, it will manage to make its way out, even if that happens at a bit of a sideways angle. This agile little coupe is racetrack ready, and I love that about it. Steering is precise and unlike most cars today, you feel connected with the road and the vehicle. There’s a sense of mechanical kinship between (wo)man and machine, a rare quality these days.
It has STI badges, but isn’t more powerful?
Nope. The Subaru BRZ Aozora edition is aesthetically different from the Tech Package and base BRZ, but power wise it’s the same. As mentioned above, it is only available with a manual and only in a choice of two colours: Rally Blue and White. The interior is also limited to black leather and Alcantara with blue stitching.
The Aozora (which means “blue sky” in Japanese), sports an STI badged front lip, rear diffuser, red painted calipers, along with 17” STI black alloy wheels and a low-profile trunk spoiler. All in all, it looks just different enough to garner second looks from those who pass it on the street.
However, the STI badges, and even the glowing STI “start engine” button inside do nothing for the power output, sadly.
The Aozora edition is also the priciest of the BRZ lot, starting at $31,395. Of course, that comes with everything you’d need, so paying extra for options and jacking the price up more isn’t necessary.
The BRZ can’t possibly be a family car.
There you’re very wrong. It can most definitely be a family car. Granted, the trunk isn’t the largest (with just 196 litres to spare with the rear seats up), but my son’s uber large Britax infant seat fit very well (much to my surprise). He had plenty of room back there, and even passengers in front of him didn’t complain too much about being cramped.
So, I say again; had Subaru released this model 10 years ago, I would have jumped on the BRZ bandwagon and probably stuck with the model (even after giving birth) because not only is it a joy to drive, but the BRZ can be a daily driver family vehicle, too -- the best of both worlds.