The 2020 Subaru BRZ comes in tS or Limited trim levels, both are offered with a standard 6-speed manual gearbox and the Limited offers an optional 6-speed automatic transmission. Both transmissions come with a mechanical limited-slip differential.
The BRZ includes a standard feature set than might be expected in a sports car at this price. A 7.2-inch touchscreen interface stereo takes center stage. It features Bluetooth, iPod integration, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, SiriusXM and smartphone app integration. Power windows, locks and heated mirrors are also included. The shift knob, steering wheel and parking brake lever are leather-trimmed. Navigation and dual-zone climate control also come standard.
The tS model concentrates mainly on performance, and upgrades include a set of matte-bronze finished 18-inch wheels, Michelin Pilot Sport tires, Brembo brakes, Sachs dampers, Alcantara upholstery and red stitching for the interior.
The BRZ rides low, with an overall height is just 50.6 inches. But as Subaru tells us, there is enough extra headroom inside to accommodate the driver’s racing helmet. Rear seatbacks flip forward to open up a trunk pass-through, and while the 6.9-inch-cubic-foot trunk is small, it’s shaped well enough for two standard golf bags, a couple of small weekend bags or, as Subaru notes, four race-tire-shod wheels for track day.
Performance is the BRZ’s true focus. Built on a rear-wheel-drive platform and designed to ride lean and low, the BRZ weighs only 2,800 pounds and has one of the lowest centers of gravity of any production car. Power is provided by a Subaru 2.0L horizontally opposed “boxer” 4-cylinder engine fitted with direct injection. 205 is plenty of horsepower, but unlike other rear-wheel drive sports cars available, it isn’t exactly neck-snapping. But to evaluate the BRZ only by its horsepower numbers is to miss the true design purpose of the BRZ.
The lightweight chassis, the rev-happy boxer engine, the relatively narrow 215/45R17 tires and the limited-slip differential all work together to make the BRZ some of the most fun available at the price. The handling is nimble, the steering quick and the engine note intoxicating. While Subaru clearly intended it to be a tail-happy weekend track racer, it shines in daily driving, with all the modern comfort features and strong fuel economy numbers.
Despite the BRZ’s performance focus and attention to weight savings, there’s no sign of any compromise in safety. In addition to stability control, all BRZ models include front side airbags, side-curtain bags and anti-lock brakes with Brake Assist.
The biggest news for the BRZ is that Subaru have dropped the base model and now only offer the Limited trim along with a new tS, of which Subaru intends to only build 300. The new tS trim is intended for buyers who want to concentrate more on performance and as such, it features more serious suspension and brakes than the Limited model. It also only comes in one color, Ceramic White, with Cherry Blossom Red accents.
Superb, balanced handling; quick, responsive steering; rear wheel drive
The Subaru BRZ was designed and engineered from the ground-up for performance. With pricing that starts at $28,845, the BRZ is one of the best rear-wheel drive performance bargains. It doesn’t feature huge horsepower numbers, but Subaru tuned the BRZ with ‘fun-to-drive’ in mind. As a daily driver, the BRZ also shines with room for 4, Bluetooth, available Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a stylish interior and a truly excellent powertrain. To top it off, the BRZ is estimated to get 34 mpg on the highway.