The Subaru BRZ is one of the best kept secrets of the automotive world.
Developed alongside the near-identical Toyota GT86, it’s an affordable back-to-basics front
engined, rear-wheel drive 2+2 sports coupe.
For 2017, Subaru has given the evergreen BRZ a mid-life facelift, equipment upgrade and distilled the trim options down to just one – SE Lux.
The exterior design tweaks are subtle, apart from the old school aerodynamic wing at the rear. Elsewhere, there’s a new front bumper, LED headlights and 10-spoke 17-inch alloys.
You can choose from five colours, though Subaru’s iconic WR (World Rally) Blue Pearl is surely the one to go for.
Inside, a 4.2-inch LCD colour display is added to the instrument display, featuring such sporting essentials as a G-Force meter and braking gauge.
The leather steering wheel is now smaller and boasts audio controls, while plastics generally have been upgraded or replaced by leather, giving the cabin a more upmarket feel.
The Alcantara and leather seats are more comfortable than ever (the driver’s seat has a six-way adjustment), while a 6.2-inch touchscreen has been added to the centre console, though sat nav is a £1,250 option.
The infotainment system is not as hi-tech as the best of them, but it does the job and, of course, offers full connectivity.
Traditionalists will be pleased to note that the cockpit is still adorned with plenty of retro-feel knobs and toggle switches.
The rear passenger seats are fitted with ISOFIX anchor points, but as with most 2+2s, they are
almost totally useless. Better news in the boot where there’s 243 litres of space available – 1,270 with the rear seats folded flat.
The 2017 Subaru BRZ is more driver focused than ever. Sadly, there’s no extra power for the 2.0-
litre 200PS ‘Boxer’ petrol engine, but it is more responsive, it still sounds suitably throaty and CO2 emissions are slightly lower.
Elsewhere, Subaru’s engineers have made various changes (to the steering, suspension, dampers and
brakes) to tweak the driving dynamics and make the BRZ even sharper than before.
Priced from £26,050, the BRZ is one of the most entertaining cars you’ll find for that money.
The chassis is better than ever and it’s enormous fun on flowing country roads. Agile and engaging, it’s helped by a slick six-speed short-throw manual gearbox and it feels totally
For the record, the BRZ is capable of 0-62mph in 7.6 seconds (but feels faster) and it tops out at 140mph. Fuel economy is a claimed 36.2mpg (and it not far off that in the real world), while CO2 emissions are a very average 180g/km.
But here’s the thing. The BRZ is also now available with automatic transmission – and it’s a bit of a revelation.
It may sounds like sacrilege in a sports car package like this, but the auto box slams through the gears pretty well – even producing the odd pop on down-changes, allowing you to concentrate on the driving. The engine even sounds more sporty.
Verdict: The new, improved Subaru BRZ is better than ever. With a mild makeover inside and out, plus enhanced driving dynamics, it has to be one of the best-value, most entertaining sports cars
on the market – and it still looks just as cool.
Review by Gareth Herincx