2019 Subaru BRZ: An Affordable Performance Model

If you really enjoy driving for the sake of it and want a performance car that won’t break the bank to buy, there aren’t many options. The market is fairly limited, and getting into the realms of serious power can mean prices get astronomical. Thankfully, the 2019 Subaru BRZ proves you don’t need a 450 horsepower V-8 under your hood to have smile-inducing sports car performance.

The BRZ is a lightweight, two-seat coupe with an emphasis on handling and performance. It also looks good and doesn’t cost a fortune, which is why a 2019 Subaru BRZ is a fantastic option.

Exterior Styling

Just about every aspect of the styling of the BRZ is just right. The BRZ is squat, sleek, and looks like it will go like a rocket. And the rear spoiler is another hint at the performance you’d expect to get from a car with such overtly sporty styling.

Although from the outside it looks as though the Subaru is a classic two-seater sports coupe, there are actually four seats inside the cabin. However, the two seats in the back are so small they’re probably only a decent place to put a couple bags of groceries.

Another good thing about the BRZ’s exterior styling is it doesn’t get especially better-looking in higher trim levels, so a base model looks almost as good as another version costing considerably more.

Powertrain

Now we get to probably the most contentious aspects of the 2019 Subaru BRZ: the powertrain and performance. Let’s just say this car drives and handles absolutely fantastically. It’s hard to think of many other cars that offer the same driver-engagement, sound, or feel for those sitting behind the wheel as the Subaru does.

The first thing Subaru got right with was to make it rear-wheel-drive. There are plenty of hot hatches around these days that are great fun, but they’d be much more fun if they weren’t built on front-drive platforms.

Under the hood of the BRZ is a high-revving 2.0-liter flat-four engine that develops 205 horsepower and 156 lb.-ft. of torque, which is then sent to the rear wheels through a standard six-speed manual transmission or an optional six-speed automatic. This is the only vehicle Subaru currently produces that isn’t all-wheel-drive, and the available power tends to kick-in higher in the rev range. The power delivery coming so high in the rev range sounds great, but it’s not so great when it comes to fuel economy. Then again, how many buyers of a car like this are going to be particularly concerned with fuel economy anyway?

Performance

Almost every aspect of the BRZ is aimed at delivering the very best handling and performance possible from the available powertrain. The flat cylinder arrangement gives the car a low center of gravity that keeps it incredibly level in corners and bends, and the quick steering doubles up on the immediacy whenever the road isn’t straight.

Front coils over struts in the front and a double wishbone in back prioritize weight over the front wheels. So, if you stamp on the throttle the Subaru’s weight slides toward the rear where the back end can step out in predictable, and very enjoyable slides. With the inclusion of a Torsen limited-slip differential, the BRZ still manages to mind its manners, even when the driver doesn’t.

There’s also an optional performance package with stiffer springs for even better handling, but the even more hardcore tS model with its 18-inch wheels has now been consigned to history. If the BRZ is to be your daily driver though, you might want to think twice about the performance package as the ride could be a bit hard on a regular basis.

Trim Levels

We have just three trim levels in the 2019 Subaru BRZ range: the Premium, the Limited, and the Series.Gray. In many of the ways that matter, there isn’t actually a great deal of difference between the three trim levels. All three come with the same list of active and passive safety features and the same powertrain. The main differences are convenience, styling and performance upgrades.

Interior

Due to its inherent sports car design, the BRZ’s isn’t one of the most comfortable or spacious interiors around. As you’d probably expect, the bucket seats are more about keeping you in place than long-distance comfort, but the cockpit is relatively spacious and accommodating.

Features and Equipment

Unless you absolutely must have things like an infotainment screen that’s 0.8 inches larger than standard or heated Alcantara front seats, it’s hard to make much of a case for going beyond the entry-level BRZ Premium. Standard features include a 6.2-inch touchscreen infotainment system, Bluetooth connectivity, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, power features, automatic headlights, 17-inch alloy wheels and air conditioning.

Stepping up to the Limited then adds features like dual-zone climate control, a 4.2-inch LCD color multifunction display, keyless access with pushbutton start, Alcantara-trimmed seating, heated front seats, LED fog lights and a few styling enhancements.

The Good

  • Outstanding handling
  • Sport coupe style
  • Very affordable
  • Responsive steering

The Not-So-Good

  • Top trims can be pricey
  • Back seats almost pointless
  • Lack of cargo capacity

The Last Word

If you don’t expect the 2019 Subaru BRZ to deliver anything other than it’s designed for, it’s a fabulous little car and great value for money. There’s no getting away from the fact it would be even better with an extra 100 horsepower under the hood, but a Range Rover would be even better if it could operate fully underwater and a Chrysler Pacifica would be even more practical if it was self-driving.

If you love fabulous handling and a sports car that’ll always put a big smile on your face whenever you get behind the wheel, from as little as $25,795 the 2019 Subaru BRZ is pretty much impossible to beat in a new car.

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