Fire it up, select first gear and this car is clearly the work of Subaru’s designers rather than Toyota’s.
Should this make any difference? Probably not, but subconsciously some of us probably relate to the Suby version as the real deal. Philosophically speaking. Regardless, this is a Subaru design. The other fact that I’m reminded of after any length of time without a drive in one is just how damn good the little buggers are.
You kind of forget just how tactile they feel; how glued to the road they seem and how they beg (actually, demand) to be thrashed mercilessly in the name of speed. And you really don’t feel like you’re gonna kill the thing by revving its nads off at every available opportunity.
Mind you, to get any real pace out of the BRZ, those are exactly the tactics you must employ because the original criticism of the thing back in the day – that it was lacking a good serve of torque – hasn’t really changed. Fact is, in 2017, that two-litre flat-four is starting to reveal itself as a bit of a nail.
Not that it doesn’t deliver if you get fair up it, rather that time has moved on and smaller capacity engines with turbochargers are simply doing a better job than ever. And even though it’s staunchly an atmo deal, you don’t ever get that addictive spike in power as the engine rides up on to the camshaft and really starts to hammer.
To be brutally honest, the BRZ’s mill feels flatter than a Monday morning. But the brilliance of the chassis more than saves it. Seriously, this thing doesn’t give a damn what you do to it or how ham-fisted you are in the process. You can throw it at an apex, it won’t care.
It’ll just sort itself out, point itself in the right direction and still be half a chance to hit that apex on the way through. Get a bit more surgical with your approach and it responds by allowing finite adjustment at any stage of the game.
Obviously, this is the quick way around a track, but hurling it about like a madman is almost too hard to resist. The steering is your friend, too, and as well as being sharper than a good stand-up routine, there’s loads of feel and feedback to help you make sense of it all.
This is one of those rare cars that is satisfying and relatively simple to drive fast. But we can’t help wondering if maybe you won’t grow out of it a bit too soon. ’Cos I think BFYB already has.
Engine: 1998cc flat-four, DOHC, 16v
Power: 152kW @ 7000rpm
Torque: 212Nm @ 6400-6800rpm
0-100km/h: 7.12sec (4th)
0-400m: 15.08sec @ 151.13km/h (4th)
Lap Time: 1:44.3sec (7th)
Bang Index: 74.7
Bucks Index: 102.7
BFYB Index: 85.9
WARREN LUFF SAYS
“The Subaru (and Toyota 86) platform is so much fun out here on track.
"You don’t have much power with them but the chassis dynamics on the tight confines of this circuit does suit the car well. You can really point the rear of the car, but it’s not going to catch the average driver out.
"You can have a lot of fun and get away with it. And obviously there’s so much more you can do in terms of improving the car. But as a base car it’s a great fun thing for Bang For Your Bucks.”
David Morley - 4th: “Still great fun, but the motor is feeling its age”
Dylan Campbell - 2nd: “Fast? Not especially. Fun? About as much as you can have in a car”
Louis Cordony - 2nd: “The grown-up’s Toyota 86. Solid brakes, too”
Tim Robson - 5th: “How can the BRZ feel so different? Expected more from the update”
Want more? Check out the rest of 2017 Bang For Your Bucks