Favourites
Subaru BRZ Review logo

Subaru BRZ Review

Subaru BRZ
Subaru BRZ
Subaru BRZ
Subaru BRZ
Subaru BRZ
Subaru BRZ
Subaru BRZ
Subaru BRZ
Subaru BRZ
Subaru BRZ
Subaru BRZ

1/10

Subaru BRZ

2/10

Subaru BRZ

3/10

Subaru BRZ

4/10

Subaru BRZ

5/10

Subaru BRZ

6/10

Subaru BRZ

7/10

Subaru BRZ

8/10

Subaru BRZ

9/10

Subaru BRZ

10/10

1 / 10

heycar review

      Launch year
      2012
      Body type
      Coupe
      Fuel type
      Petrol
heycar editorial team

Written by

heycar editorial team

00/10
heycar rating
Subaru’s forgotten, but brilliant, sportscar

Best bits

  • Fine balance, poise and feel, a car that drivers will love
  • Looks good, and has a sizeable standard specification, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • A few of the usual sports car compromises, but none so great that it’s not a genuinely usable all-rounder

Not so great

  • We get the pared back interior theme, but the materials are rubbish
  • You’ll forever be explaining what it is
  • The automatic blunts the performance and the rear seats are next to hopeless as seats…

Read by

Subaru BRZ Front Side View

Overall verdict

Subaru BRZ Front Interior

On the inside

Subaru BRZ Rear View

Driving

Subaru BRZ Brakelight

How much does it cost to run

Subaru BRZ Rim

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict

"We love driving here, which is why the BRZ appeals, in a world where complexity and interference is the norm, even on the road. The BRZ is a refreshing nod to an age where the driver made a difference, not the car, and its brilliance arguably gets better as its competition gets heavier, and more numb. Pure driving fun, it’s not outrageously fast, but the clarity and faithfulness of its responses and its fine handling make it a hugely engaging, enjoyable car."

Subaru BRZ Front Side View

The Subaru BRZ is a light, rear-wheel drive sports car. Sounds fantastic, but it’s odd. Particularly for Subaru, with its brand image having been built off the back of its rugged four-wheel drive system and its boxer engines more often than not fitted with turbochargers.


It became a hero manufacturer among performance car fans when it proved the toughness of its engineering in the World Rally Championship with big power, turbocharged, four-wheel drive Impreza saloons. 


The BRZ is neither four-wheel drive, nor powerful, the boxer engine Subaru uses to power it not being turbocharged, so its output is modest, and what little shove it’s got driving the rear wheels only. That flat-four, boxer engine aside, it’s about as un-Subaru a Subaru as you could imagine. 


Only, it’s not. Subaru has always built appealing cars for drivers, and the BRZ is unashamedly aimed at those who enjoy driving. Its conception is, admittedly, the result of a collaboration with Toyota, which, thanks to Toyota’s ownership of Subaru’s parent company, has a stake in the company. 


So when Toyota wanted a light, enjoyable sports car, but had its factories running flat-out making humdrum hatchbacks and SUVs, it called on Subaru to build it. Toyota might take credit for it, it's GT86 version selling in greater numbers, but Subaru quietly claims the enjoyable rear-wheel drive coupe as it's own. That rings true, too, the GT86 is built at a Subaru facility in Japan, and Subaru sneaks a few of it's own BRZs down the line alongside it's GT86 twin.


They are all but identical, too, when the BRZ arrived in 2012, it played understudy to the Toyota, after all Toyota has the dealership capacity to shift way more GT86s than Subaru could ever hope to manage BRZs. 


That makes the BRZ a niche within a niche, the GT86 is already a very specialist proposition for a small audience of buyers, and putting a Subaru badge on it only makes it more so. That, to some, arguably elevates the BRZ’s appeal even higher than the Toyota, as while Toyota can boast a very impressive motorsport history, it’s a brand more associated with ordinary, mainstream machinery, Subaru’s more cultish following somehow seems a better fit with the idea of a sports car. 


It feels like a Subaru, too, from that unusual flat-four boxer engine up front, to the hard, unyielding plastics and simplicity of its interior, the styling too, with it's pronounced front wings and neat little boot spoiler and big twin tailpipes slung underneath the rear all being very Subaru in their look. 


The market for cars like this is tiny, and it’s even more so with a Subaru badge on it, but get over that and you’ll find one of the most engaging, enjoyable sports cars you can buy, with the focus on handling rather than big power, and even now, over 8 years since it was first introduced, that remains incredibly appealing.

Ready to get your top quality Subaru BRZ?

  • All cars come with a warranty
  • Selected dealers only
  • All quality checked

Subaru BRZ

2.0i SE Lux [Nav] 2dr

  • 2019
  • 3,101 miles
  • Stoneacre Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Jeep Newcastle upon Tyne
  • Northumberland, NE47YW
Price:£22,995
PCP: £389.65/mo

Representative example: Contract Length: 36 months, 35 Monthly Payments: £389.65, Customer Deposit: £3,449.00, Total Deposit: £3,449.25, Optional Final Payment: £10,866.78, Total Charge For Credit: £4,958.78, Total Amount Payable: £27,953.78, Representative APR: 11.3%, Interest Rate (Fixed): 5.81%, Excess Mileage Charge: 6.55ppm, Mileage Per Annum: 10,000

Subaru BRZ

2.0i SE Lux 2dr Auto

  • 2018
  • 24,662 miles
  • Lookers Ford Middlesbrough
  • Yorkshire, TS38AX
Price:£17,899
PCP: £315.26/mo

Representative example: Contract Length: 36 months, 35 Monthly Payments: £315.26, Customer Deposit: £2,684.00, Total Deposit: £2,684.85, Optional Final Payment: £7,442.00, Total Charge For Credit: £3,261.95, Total Amount Payable: £21,160.95, Representative APR: 9.9%, Interest Rate (Fixed): 9.45%, Excess Mileage Charge: 8ppm, Mileage Per Annum: 10,000

Is the Subaru BRZ right for you?

The fact you’re even aware of it, and reading this, suggests you’re more invested in the idea of it than the other 99.9999% of car buyers out there. There are not a great deal of direct rivals out there for it, with that GT86 a notable exception, it's likely that you’ve considered cars like Mazda’s MX5, or powerful hot hatches in the same circa £30,000 price category as the BRZ before coming here. 


It might be fairly singular in it's intent, but it’s not without practicalities, being a 2+2 – with rear ‘seats’ adding some space – a usable boot and economy that isn’t fearsome if you’re just using it on a daily commute. You’re considering one because you value those old-school driving traits of feel, balance, poise, without the creep of nannying electronic driver aids and control systems. If that’s the case, then the BRZ is absolutely right for you.

What’s the best Subaru BRZ model/engine to choose

There was a time when we could have mentioned a range of trims, but the BRZ’s tiny potential audience means that Subaru has pared back its offering to just one trim level, the 2.0i SE Lux. The only choice you have with it are whether you want it with the six-speed manual, or a six-speed automatic, painted white or one of four optional colours. 


And the best? A manual, no question. And colour? As you’re asking, and because it’s a Subaru it really has to be WR Blue, that WR being World Rally, that paint being a £550 option. We’re just surprised it’s not offered with gold wheels, too. Paint colour aside, the spec is fully-loaded, it's actually better in this respect than it's Toyota GT86 relation.

What other cars are similar to the Subaru BRZ?

Let’s ignore that Toyota GT86 for a moment, despite the fact it’s all-but identical, and cheaper. Direct rivals are few, with Mazda’s MX5 perhaps the closest, being light and rear-wheel drive, though it’s a two-seat roadster opposed to the BRZ’s 2+2 coupe layout. 


Other small coupes include the BMW 2 Series or Audi TT, while there’s a host of hot hatches at the BRZ’s price point that will appeal to enthusiastic drivers. Caterhams and suchlike are similarly driver focussed, but a bit too raw, while cars like the Lotus Elise and Alpine A110 are in a different price bracket altogether.

Learn more

Subaru BRZ Front Interior

On the inside

Subaru BRZ Rear View

Driving

Subaru BRZ Brakelight

How much does it cost to run

Subaru BRZ Rim

Prices, versions and specification