When most folks think about Subaru, they think about the Outback or Forrester ó the iconic all-wheel drive models well suited for active families on the go.
The all-new BRZ isnít anything like that.
The rear-wheel drive sports car is powered by a 200 horsepower Boxer engine and it is one of the lightest RWD production cars on the market with the lowest center of gravity of any production car in the world.
It is fast.
It is nimble.
And it is a blast to drive.
I just wish I had access to a track during my one-week evaluation drive.
While the BRZ isnít Subaruís first venture into the performance segment (the WRX has a very loyal following), the all-new RWD model is a true sports car in every regard.
While it has four seats, the rear seating positions are pretty much seats in name only ó which isnít uncommon for true sports cars. You can, however, fold the rear seat down to expand the BRZís 6.9 cubic feet of trunk space.
Weighing in at 2,762 pounds, it is extremely light, which makes the all-new 2.0-liter Boxer engine perform like its under the hood of a NASCAR champion.
What makes the BRZ stand out from the crowd is its suspension and handling. Featuring a double-wishbone rear suspension, electric power steering and a vehicle stability control system featuring five driver-set modes, the BRZ is a car designed for driving enthusiasts.
The 17-inch wheels hug the road and easily power through the curves. It maneuvers with a gentle command of the wheel.
Without question, I tip my hat to Subaru for designing and producing a very impressive sports car.
With a base price starting around $26,000, the BRZ is available in Premium and Limited trim levels.
The BRZ Premium includes voice-activated navigation system, premium eight-speaker audio system with XM Satellite Radio capability with iPod control and iTunes tagging capabilities as well as SMS text messaging capability, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity, Bluetooth audio streaming connectivity, manual climate control, sport design instrument panel gauges, multi-function display with current and average fuel economy, performance-design front seats, power door locks, power side mirrors, power windows, remote keyless entry and intermittent wipers.
The BRZ Limited (base price starting around $28,000) adds Alcantara seat inserts with leather bolsters, heated front seats and exterior mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control system, fog lights, push button start and rear trunk spoiler.
The only option on either BRZ trim level is a six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode via steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
For those in the market for a compact sports car, the Subaru BRZ receives a high recommendation for the test drive list. Itís nicely equipped for daily driving, yet well suited for taking to the local racetrack on the weekends for those who truly feel the need for speed.
And, for what it delivers, it is very nicely priced.
Neal White has been covering the automotive industry for more than 20 years and is affiliated with the Texas Auto Writers Association.
The Nuts and Bolts
2013 Subaru BRZ
4-seat sports car †
2.0L Boxer 4 (200 hp/151 torque)
EPA: 22/25 mpg city, 30/34 mpg highway (MT/AT)
FUEL: Premium unleaded
Vehicle stability control with traction control system with 5 modes, including TCS Off for track
LENGTH: 166.7 inches
WHEELBASE: 101.2 in.
WIDTH: 69.9 inches
HEIGHT: 50.6 inches
WEIGHT: 2762-2776 lbs.
FUEL TANK: 13.2 gallons
CARGO: 6.9 cubic feet.