2022 Subaru BRZ Long Term Review
Price as tested $41,590 (+ORC)
This month 1202km @ 8.7L/100km
Overall 1202km @ 8.7L/100km
Melbourne is gray and wet again. Port Phillip Bay seems to have become a North Sea tribute act as the mercury hits single digits day after day and endless low pressure systems pile on top of each other. And you know what? I love it.
This is due to the latest acquisition at Wheels Garage. Keen to inject a comfortable CoG into the mix of wall-to-wall SUVs, we slotted in the sapphire blue pearl Subaru BRZ S.
Manually, of course. If you’re not quite up to speed on the BRZ trims, the S doesn’t add anything to the 174kW/250Nm quota under the bonnet, but does introduce leather and ultra-suds heated front seats, for which Subaru invoices more. Spends $1300. And another three kilos to lose weight.
Take the BRZ for a spin in the wet and it’ll happily give you a taste of its handling capabilities, all with the stability control switched on. Switch it to the halfway track ESC setting and it will give you plenty of headway, so be a little careful when engaging this mode on the road. Or at the track, come to it.
Either way, the BRZ is a lot of fun when the surface is a little slippery, with excellent steering, an unassuming chassis and, unlike its predecessor, no cavernous hole in the middle of its torque curve.
The cabin is straightforward, without much in the way of embellishments, but the main controls are ergonomically correct. The headlights are rotating, dusk-sensing and self-leveling but don’t automatically dip for oncoming traffic.
Because it’s a manual it also misses out on Subaru’s iSight suite, so you don’t get adaptive cruise, AEB, lane keep assist and lane departure warning. The boot, on the 201L, is small and largely filled with a full-size spare, so most of your purchases will smell a bit rubbery.
Unfortunately, my spell with the BRZ was temporarily interrupted after passing through a pit that looked like a design template for the Kalgoorlie Super Pit.
The car has been taken back to Subaru and diagnosed with a buckled alloy wheel, as evidenced by a tremor in the steering at speed. After dodging around 500 potholes all day on frankly shocking local roads and making it within a few kilometers of home, it was doubly annoying.
Absence makes the heart do something or other, and I genuinely miss the BRZ. It’s easy to forget how much it’s worth.
When the motor was tested at Phillip Island for the final PCOTY, its 1:54.41 second lap time was the fastest of any car in PCOTY in 1994, beating the Porsche 964 Turbo by nearly two seconds, the Honda NSX by nearly five and the FD Beats the Mazda RX-7. until about eight. In fact its 14.24 second 0-400m time was one-hundredth of the 3.2-litre Honda NSX pedaled by Dave Morley in 2002.
On the road, it feels like a really well-judged package. No, the gearshift isn’t as sweet as the MX-5’s but it’s still a nice ‘un. I’m just counting the days until it comes back. That and praying for rain.
Z is not dead!
Price as tested $41,590 (+ORC)
This month 675km @ 8.8L/100km
Overall 1877km @ 8.8L/100km
There’s a lot to be said for a car that delivers excitement at vaguely legal speeds. Many years ago, I recall Bill Thomas, a former editor of this mag, complaining that before LJ’s seat-right’s Welsh bar chewed through the volume, the Mitsubishi 3000GT was too easy to drive. “It’s not that easy to drive a car!” Boom seat right. Think Gandalf and ‘Thou shalt not pass’ and you get the vibe.
I will take issue with the late seat right there. It’s true that any car will rise to its feet if driven hard enough, but how those limits fit on a public highway is a different matter. That’s what makes the Subaru BRZ something to enjoy.
Without a turbocharger, you have to work on the 2.4-liter powerplant, but the rewards are worth it, and it feels naturally at home on a twisty road where you’re going from the top of second to third and back. I am changing.
The top of the second bits is close to 100 km/h, so the perfect BRZ road is a quiet mountain road with a range of 100 and plenty of shape in the corners. I attended the launch of the original Toyota 86, held in Montserrat near Barcelona in 2011, and the roads were just like that.
Unfortunately they merely served to accentuate the lack of torque in the 2.0-litre engine, with the Game 86 being propelled by diesel Vectras at long leans. It was a disaster of a place at the time, but the big FA24 engine in this car would be a joy to drive up to the hilltop monastery.
Some people have complained that there isn’t enough exhaust sound in the audio mix, and I can see the point but I don’t take issue with the active sound control system that mounts speakers behind the dash. If I were completely mesmerized by the sound of a typical flat four, I might feel that it’s a bit disloyal to the architecture, but I’m not the one who doesn’t.
It’s nice to have the little Sobie back in the garage though. It took a full six weeks for the car to be diagnosed after its ill-fated trip through the pit. A bent wheel was a problem and another was sourced, but a sensor went on the fritz when fitting it and had to be backordered.
I hear this from many brand owners when their vehicles are serviced. Being out of your car for weeks due to a lack of parts is no fun.
Upon return, the car apparently won’t talk to my phone’s Android Auto installation. I bought a new cable to fix this link and checked that the app was updated, but found that the corresponding Google Search app also needed to be updated for everything to work.
There are still odd instances when the connection becomes difficult or lost while driving. I’d be interested to hear if any other BRZ owners have experienced instability with their wired phone mirroring connections.
Great to have the EQL89C back though. I recently went for a side-by-side build with a Porsche 992 Carrera and after going back and forth all day, I can honestly say that I had more fun with the BRZ, a car that costs the Porsche. is the sixth part of .
The 911 felt like it was just getting into its stride, while the Subaru was absolutely in its element. At these speeds and on these roads, the Porsche was poor where the BRZ was involved.
Seat-Rite might not have agreed, but in this scenario, yes, the 911 was much easier to drive. Getting more car time counts as a win. Okay fine?