Why is the BRZ so popular with sports car fans? The 2014 Subaru BRZ is a drivers enthusiasts car that is fun to drive, affordable and it gets good fuel economy. Last month, Subaru saw a 128.4 percent increase in sales over the previous YTD sales. And it’s been a big success around the globe, not just here in the U.S. After a day at the track, we understand why.
The BRZ is attracting buyers who have been looking at the 2013 Mazda MX-5 Miata, 2013 Honda Civic Si Coupe and the 2014 MINI Cooper Coupe S. Almost 60 percent of Subaru’s overall sales this year have been to customers new to the brand. The 2014 BRZ is a big reason for this. It starts at $25,595 and gets 25/34 city/highway fuel mileage. We took the BRZ out to High Plains Raceway east of Denver and gave it a thorough test. There are lots of reasons buyers are choosing BRZ over the competition, but here are eight that stand out for this driver.
Low center of Gravity
Performance car enthusiasts know that a true sports car must have rear wheel drive configuration for improved response. Subaru ideally engineered the BRZ to send its power to the rear wheels. Combined with a compact, naturally symmetrical drivetrain design, you get a sports car with optimal balance and one of the lowest centers of gravity in its class. We felt it immediately on the track.
Front engine sits low in the chassis
Subaru and Toyota chose to use the Subaru Boxer engine because of its horizontally opposed cylinder design. The BRZ 2.0-liter engine is placed as low as possible and farther back in the chassis. This rear-drive layout allows for low “polar moment” and near-perfect balance for pure sports car handling. The two-door coupe handled extremely well in the tight curves at HPR.
Direct and port injected Boxer
Right off the starting line, you can feel the performance of the 2.0-liter DOHC aluminum-alloy 16-valve Subaru Boxer engine. It's been built with a Dual Active Valve Control System along with direct- and port-injection technology, from its technology partner Toyota, to help boost power and efficiency. BRZ had plenty of power on the straights and was a pleasant surprise.
Short throw six-speed gearbox
The BRZ comes standard with a six-speed fully synchronized close-ratio manual transmission for pinpoint command. BRZ Limited also offers an available six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. We drove the six-speed standard gearbox and Subaru placed the shifter in an optimal position for the driver to make quick shifts on the track.
7,450 rpm redline
Performance comes in the naturally aspirated 2.0-liter engine and produces 200 hp. It may not seem like enough, but combined with the cars balance, it surprises most drivers. Direct- and port-injection technology provided quick acceleration on the straight-away all the way up to its high 7,400 rpm redline. And the Dual Active Valve Control System adjusted valve timing to match the engine rpm’s for optimal response.
The BRZ is a true sports car and performs like one too. Underneath, it comes with independent MacPherson struts in the front and independent double wishbone suspension in the back. The Torsen limited-slip differential provides improved grip, making it lively and dynamic through the corners on the track. It handled the tight corners at HPR with very little body roll and the car stayed planted where we put it while pushing it hard.
Navigation system standard
Inside, BRZ comes standard with a 6.1-inch high-resolution touch-screen conveniently located in the dashboard. We gave it the address to HPR and the GPS navigation system with XM NavTraffic got us there.
Eight speaker audio system
The drive out to HPR was enjoyable with the 8-speaker audio system with an in-dash CD player. It also features MP3 playback capability and Sirius XM Satellite Radio. The high-quality digital sound was outstanding inside the BRZ coupe.
The 2014 Subaru BRZ is pure and simple, a car that begs to be driven. With the 2014 BRZ, Subaru succeeded in engineering a fun car for driving enthusiasts. We are thankful there is an affordable sports car that delivers an exhilarating driving experience. Everyday is a track day for the BRZ.
Watch the 2014 Subaru Spotlight video.