When the Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ twins first broke cover in 2012, driving purists rejoiced as these cars harked back to the essence of fun driving without crazy power figures. A lightweight body, agile handling and rear-wheel drive but with just the right amount of power to have fun, the Toyobaru twins weren’t going to win traffic light drag races but were easy to drive and have fun by powersliding (wet roads) through the bends.
Eight years on, Subaru has unveiled the next generation BRZ coupe, improving upon its predecessor while staying true to what made the original a great drivers car.
Visually, the overall design of the BRZ is more revolutionary from the previous generation, seemingly taking inspiration from various other sports coupes. The front fascia has been completely redesigned, with a larger and wider grille, as well and deeper air intakes. Together with the sculpted hood and bold front fenders, the front of the new BRZ looks almost like a mini Dodge Viper… if you squint really hard.
The side profile of the BRZ has the textbook silhouette of a coupe, with the classic proportions of long hood and short deck, much like another classically proportioned coupe, the Nissan Fairlady Z.
Dimensionally, it’s 30mm longer than before and marginally lower though the height is accentuating by the ‘double-bubble’ roofline. A small fin at the back of the rear-wheel arch also assists in airflow adding stability at speed.
Over at the rear, the bumper has been reworked and houses a pair of exhaust pipes while the rear trunk has a tastefully integrated retro ducktail spoiler. The rear tail lights are also new, and with the slanted boot opening, sets the new BRZ apart from its predecessor.
Under the hood, there’s a larger 2.4-litre, naturally aspirated flat-four ‘Boxer’ engine that produces 228hp and 250Nm of torque; a 31hp and 45Nm gain over the previous 2.0-litre engine. Plenty of punch for a sub 1.3-tonne car with near 50:50 weight distribution.
You can row gears via a good-old six-speed manual or a quick-shifting six-speed automatic with paddle shifters and an auto-blip feature.
Utilising elements from the Subaru Global Platform, the BRZ has reinforced chassis mounts and revised subframe architecture to increase rigidity by almost 60 per cent. Front suspension is MacPherson-type setup, while the rear suspension utilizes a double wishbone. You’ll get a limited slip differential as standard as well as a five-stage traction control system that can obviously be completely deactivated.
Befitting a driver’s car, the interior is very driver-oriented with a low seating position, contoured bucket seats and that flat-facing steering well. There’s a 7.0-inch configurable digital driver display and an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system featuring the latest Subaru Starlink multimedia system that’s Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capable.
Vehicles equipped with the automatic transmission also feature Subaru’s EyeSight Driver Assist Technology, featuring lane keeping assist and active cruise control.
In a power-crazed automotive world where power figures are top trumps, the purity of the driving experience has been somewhat forgotten. Slated to go into production late in 2021, the Subaru BRZ is just one of a dying breed of cars that continue to focus on the driving experience and the skill of the driver, rather than out and out speed and power.