I’ve been wanting to drive this car for months, and that’s rare. Vehicle debuts come and go and it is a difficult thing to pierce this jaded journalists shriveled heart and inspire any kind of excitement anymore. But I’ve been wanting to drive the BRZ ever since the brief on the car first hit the interwebs, and now the car is in front of me with the keys ready for the taking. And beyond the car? Miles and miles of Colorado mountain roads for my enjoyment. Giddyup. Hit the jump to see if the BRZ lived up to my personal hype…
Even with access to the car and the roads it was designed for, life was not all roses for me – I only had the car for one drive down the mountain, about 30 minutes worth of driving. So far from a definitive review, this is more of a first impression. That being the case, life is not all roses for the BRZ either – because you can never re-do a first impression.
I don’t understand this car, not quite anyway. More precisely, I don’t understand who is supposed to buy this car. Now, don’t get me wrong – it was fantastic fun to drive. The Subaru steers like inertia or gravity just aren’t things anymore, steering inputs through the nicely heavy wheel are instantly translated into changes in direction, the car is low and planted to the ground, and because of the front fender flares positioned directly above the apex of the wheels it is child’s play to place the tires exactly where I need them.
It is clear that all of the inputs – steering, pedal feel, brake calibration – have all been set up with enthusiastic driving pleasure in mind. This car tells you everything you need to know about the road surface, your speed, grip, and engine speed through your fingertips and your seat. It is a wonderfully analogue experience. And that is the perfect analogy for this car. The Subaru BRZ is a turntable in an increasingly iPod dominated world. The new one might be more convenient and easier to enjoy, the old pre-digital way of doing things provides a deeper experience and more interaction with the moment.
Like I said, fantastic fun to drive but I don’t understand who is going to buy this car because the few faults that it has might just be deadly. Power. This car has none of the stuff. It might be a tightly wound and wonderfully balanced vehicle (which it is), but there is no power until you get all the way up to 5000 rpm. Now power isn’t what this car is about, and I actually find that refreshing, but I think the typical Subaru sports car buyer is going to be disappointed by the lack of grunt. They won’t be disappointed however, or unfamiliar with the terrible quality and aesthetics of the interior materials.
There are a lot of good options for someone wanting a $26,000 car. Who is going to spend that on a 200 hp 4 cylinder with 2 usable seats and a Subaru badge? Anyone who does will have to have the kind of quiet confidence that lets them drive one of the best cars on sale right now without wanting to shout about it. The BRZ is a home run for Subaru and enthusiasts, if only we buy it.
I love this car and it lived up to and beyond my expectations, I’m just scared that it is going to get lost in the horsepower wars the modern muscle cars are currently engaged in. Who wants a low power coupe that won’t win any drag races but will teach you to be a better driver? Me, for one – but how many of me or us (if you’re with me) are there? Time will tell and so far the BRZ has been selling like crazy. I just hope that those owners will understand what they’ve bought and that others understand the value in this car. I’ve waited months to drive it, now I’ll wait more to see if the world is ready for it.
- Adam Kaslikowski