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View all Subaru BRZ reviews
Parkers overall rating: 4.1 out of 5 4.1

Lesser-spotted GT86 sibling has niche appeal

Subaru BRZ (12 on) - rated 4.1 out of 5
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PROS

  • Agile handling
  • Simple dashboard layout
  • Striking looks
  • Good standard spec

CONS

  • Interior quality isn't great
  • Small dealer network
  • Unexciting engine
  • Useless rear seats

PROS

  • Agile handling
  • Simple dashboard layout
  • Striking looks
  • Good standard spec

CONS

  • Interior quality isn't great
  • Small dealer network
  • Unexciting engine
  • Useless rear seats

Subaru BRZ rivals

Toyota
GT86
4.2 out of 5 4.2

Subaru BRZ summary

The Subaru BRZ is the result of collaboration between Subaru and Toyota to make a fun-to-drive and inexpensive sports car.

That ethos means it rivals the convertible Mazda MX-5 as well as diverse coupes like the MX-5, Audi TT, BMW 2 Series and Nissan 370Z

Its most obvious rival, of course, is the Toyota GT86, which shares the overwhelming majority of parts witht he BRZ.

Watch: Cheap fast cars group test

Its rear-wheel drive dynamics and a low-slung driving position make it more focussed than a hot hatch like the VW Golf GTI, but more compromised in terms of practicality as a result.

Excellent chassis

Handling is a big part of what the BRZ is about. The rear-wheel drive configuration is music to driving purists’ ears, while the low centre of gravity means this is a car that simply loves corners.

The Subaru BRZ handles brilliantly

The steering is excellent, the driving position is brilliant, and the clever electronic stability and traction control systems ensure you can have fun with fewer associated risks.

All of this means you can expect a much purer and uncorrupted driving experience compared with a front-wheel drive hot hatchback.

Slightly joyless but effective engine

Unlike many modern performance cars the Subaru BRZ uses a naturally aspirated engine. That means the 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol unit makes just 200hp, while rival turbocharged cars extract nearly 50% more power from the same-sized motor.

The advantage, however, is a more linear spread of power over a wider rev range – you need to reach 7,000rpm for peak punch – rather than the laggy bottom and breathless top end associated with a turbo engine.

.The Subaru BRZ's boxer engine makes for a very low centre of gravity

Consequently the BRZ’s power is very predictable and easy to manage; the throttle response is sharp so when you want a quick burst of power, the Subaru delivers immediately. We’d have liked a more exciting engine note though.

As a result, while the BRZ’s motor is a very effective tool it’s not something you’ll enjoy on an emotional level.

Surprising comfort, good specification

Although a sports car, the BRZ isn’t what you’d call uncomfortable. Its sports seats are very supportive without being hard, and long journeys pose no real problem.

The ride is cossetting thanks to 17-inch wheels with relatively fat tyres, so there’s not much of the choppiness associated with other focused sports cars.

The Subaru BRZ is available in this fetching blue, unlike sister car the Toyota GT86

There’s also only one trim level and sat-nav is the single option, so all Subaru BRZs come relatively well-equipped. Active safety equipment is a notable absence, however.

Subaru BRZ rivals

Toyota
GT86
4.2 out of 5 4.2