Imagine Subaru and you probably see its famous blue paint color. But, with the BRZ sports car, Blue is the name of a cool trim package that makes an already special car like a one-hoofed unicorn of which 1,000 will ever hatch.
Born of a joint-venture between Subaru and Toyota, the BRZ and Scion FR-S share design and architecture with a Subaru heart. Toyota’s team did much of the engineering, but the engine and assembly were undertaken by Subaru. Like a leprechaun under a rainbow, the two struck gold via a spunky sports car with one of the best engines beating outside of a Porsche.
Styling is a modern interpretation of classic cues; Think long hood, short rear deck, accentuated wheel openings, and large stainless exhaust tips. Series Blue adds 17” STI-branded black alloys, red brake calipers with STI logo, and either WR Blue Pearl of Crystal White Pearl paint. My neighbors went bats for the black ground affects and underbody panels that increase downforce while reducing the coefficient of drag from 0.28 to 0.27.
Series Blue Special Edition cockpits flash blue leather steering wheel trim, kneepads, steering wheel trim, and side bolsters of the leather and Alcantara sueded seats. Blue stitching cinches the steering wheel, seats, emergency brake handle, and shifter boot. Technically, the BRZ is a four-seater but you might have to be a Smurf to click into the two padded luggage shelves.
Tempting drivers are a perfectly-sized steering wheel, deeply-bolstered Recaro-style seats, simulated carbon fiber center dash panel, and red illuminated engine start/stop button with STI logo. Instruments crib Porsche with a large center tachometer with auxiliary gauges beside. Dual-zone automatic climate control and thumpin’ audio make smiles, but Subaru really needs to re-design its decrepit touchscreen. A hatchback would have enhanced interior storage, but there’s enough space in the trunk to fit an entire village of mushroom houses.
Unless you are a Smurf, you sure won’t be blue driving the BRZ. The powertrain is all Subaru, starting with a 200 horsepower 2.0-liter horizontally-opposed “Boxer” four-cylinder engine set low in the front chassis. Connected to it in our test car was a precision-click six-speed manual transmission. It reminded me much of the Honda S2000 that I love so much. Rev out the engine, quick shift, and look in the rearview mirror for headlamps and grilles. Fuel economy rates a frugal 25/34-MPG city/hwy.
Putting a Subaru engine in a light sports car with firm, yet not punishing, four-wheel-independent suspension and whisker-quick steering is a darned-smart idea. The horizontally-opposed engine allows a very low center of gravity – perfect in the WRX and even better in the BRZ. A TORSEN limited-slip rear differential, front tower brace, and full range of electronic stability control systems give drivers a visceral feel and confidence to explore the car’s limits – best enjoyed during weekend track events. Or, one can just enjoy a nice commute.
There’s nothing complicated about the BRZ. It’s just a simple little sports car with the heart of a rally champ. I’d like to drive one with AWD and a turbo. Base price for the BRZ is $25,695, very affordable for an accomplished sports car, but our Blue edition came to $29,490. Competitors include the Hyundai Genesis coupe, Honda Civic Si, Mazda Miata, and Nissan 370Z.
Send questions and comments to Casey at [email protected].
2015 Subaru BRZ Series Blue
Four-passenger, RWD coupe
Powertrain: 200hp 2.0-liter H4, 6-spd manual trans
Suspension f/r: Ind/Ind
Wheels: 17”/17” alloy f/r
Brakes: disc/disc fr/rr
Must-have features: Style, performance
Fuel economy: 25/34 mpg city/hwy
Assembly: Ōta, Gunma, Japan
Base/as-tested price: $25,695/29,490