One of my favorites since it was introduced as a near-twin to the Toyota 86 back in 2013, the 2018 Subaru’s BRZ is a driving enthusiast’s dream come true. The delightfully agile rear-wheel drive lightweight sports coupe makes a willing engine, sharp steering, and outstanding balance available at a reasonable price point starting at $25,495.
Characterized by an excellent driving position, remarkable comfort, outstanding ergonomics, and clean sightlines, the 2018 Subaru BRZ is one of the most satisfying driver’s cars on the market today.
The engine’s output was bumped by 5 horsepower and 5 lb.-ft. of torque. Transmission gearing was revised to better exploit the newfound power, and the suspension system was reworked to improve the already delicious handling.
What’s more, an optional Performance package was added, which brought larger Brembo brakes, along with more aggressive springs and shocks. A larger rear stabilizer bar, wider wheels, strategic chassis reinforcements and higher stability control system thresholds were prescribed as well. These changes have made the sports coupe brake with more authority, turn in more sharply and improved overall stability. We do wish Subaru’s chassis team had specified a more aggressive tire as well, but this was reserved for the brand new BRZ tS with its more aggressive suspension upgrades.
Subaru’s horizontally opposed 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine now feeds 205 horsepower and 156 lb.-ft. of torque into the BRZ’s rear-wheel drive powertrain with the six-speed manual transmission. If you go with the automatic, you’ll get 200 horsepower and 151 lb.-ft. of torque.
Rather than straight-line acceleration, the BRZ is a car that many will love for its ability to maintain a high average speed on the twistiest roads they can find. Said simply, the degree of control the Subaru affords, along with its impressively communicative nature, makes the BRZ one of the best driver’s cars offered today. The shifter moves positively through its gates, heel and toe downshifts are sheer bliss, and the new brakes are outstandingly robust in their determination. What’s more, the revised chassis settings always keep the car composed, even when cornering over rough surfaces.
While most people considering the BRZ are likely more interested in “smiles per gallon” than miles per gallon, the Subaru is rated at 24 mpg combined for the manual transmission with the revised engine. Zero-to-60 mph is quoted at just under 7 seconds, but that’s kind of irrelevant here.
While a big part of the BRZ’s appeal is its back-to-basics nature, Subaru endows the sleek coupe’s interior with many nice touches. Standard features include keyless entry, cruise control, air-conditioning, full power accessories, a tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel, a height-adjustable driver seat, a fold-down rear seatback and a rearview camera. Pushbutton start, automatic climate control, and an upholstery treatment consisting of leather and simulated suede can be had as well. Trunk space, as you might expect, is a bit on the conservative side, but if you pack carefully, a weekend getaway is very doable.
Bottom line, the Subaru BRZ is now dialed-in even better. Pound for pound, and dollar for dollar, the 2018 Subaru BRZ is easily one of the best sports car values on the market.