Tag Archive | "Subaru BRZ"

BRZ – The Driver’s Drive

21 BRZ   The Driver’s DriveJointly developed by both Toyota and Subaru the BRZ/GT-86 siblings first saw the light of day as concepts in 2007 and finally appeared as fully formed twins in 2012. They look the same and cost the same. The model was conceived by Toyota. Their boss specified the need for a car that was built for pure driving pleasure that transcended current trends and his designers really came up with the goods. As it turned out – thanks to their rally heritage – the joint project was almost entirely designed and engineered by Subaru (although built by Toyota) and it is their version we are concentrating on here.

As stated, there is virtually no difference in these cars although there are a couple of styling tweaks that are virtually unnoticeable. Yet, in driving, which is where Motor Blogger makes the distinction, the BRZ is noticeably less tail happy. Knowing that their loyal customer base is accustomed to the characteristics of their symmetrical all wheel-drive system found in products like the Impreza and Forester, Subaru went and made the front suspension of their version slightly firmer. This increases the car’s tendency to understeer.

Consequently the rear-wheel drive BRZ behaves in a far more neutral manner when driven with anger around oue everyday highways. Pile into a corner and get too enthusiastic on the loud pedal and that nose will just slowly start washing out. It’s all very safe; very Subaru, in fact. The GT-86 is definitely more likely to throw the tail off line – fine if drifting is your style, but for most the more predictable BRZ might be preferable.

The driving experience is fantastically sporty. The BRZ has the lowest centre of gravity of any car on the market which aids such a sweet handling experience, thanks to the low-slung 2.0L Boxer engine which sits as far back and as low as possible in the engine bay for an almost perfect weight distribution of 53% in front and 47% in the rear.

The suspension is quite soft when compared to similarly priced hot hatches, which need rock hard suspension to counter the fact that they are basically regular hatchbacks that have been tuned up. The comfort is helped by the same tyres as used on the Toyota Prius. This is not an expensive car to run especially when you consider an average of 35mpg. Brilliant for a sports car.

The Subaru BRZ is uncomplicated, handles brilliantly and lets you explore the limits of grip without having to worry about sudden death in a hedgerow. It isn’t especially fast, it is priced at a bargain £25k and is the best driving car on the market. Take it out for a spin down Britain’s country roads and your eyes will be opened to what real driving is about.


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Sports Car Trends

We’ve all seen articles that exhort the thrills to be found on the greatest driving roads…in the world. We’ve seen three ageing men completely fail to inhibit their inner boy (actually that probably applies to all men) and go hurtling off in a variety of supercars to exciting and exotic destinations. Meanwhile, most British motorists are stuck in a jam – in the rain – thinking: if only.

In Britain we do not have access to such roads. Those that are celebrated – like the Cat ‘n’ Fiddle in the Peak District – are now heavily restricted, mostly thanks to our two-wheeled brethren unfortunately killing themselves. Unrestricted it would be a glorious stretch but those days are gone, alas. This country does have some dramatic blacktop but these are well known both to the law and to tourists which means that otherwise spectacular routes like the Pass of Llanberis in North Wales are either choked with holiday traffic or festooned with walkers.

As if through some form of extra-sensory perception, car manufacturers are thankfully beginning to produce cars that are fun to drive but without the high performance and expense. We are all aware of the excellent Mazda MX5 of course. It has been around for years and each new model gets better and better. The latest one is lighter too, giving improvements in both performance and economy and all this for £24k or less, depending on model choice.

Not to be outdone, Toyota and Subaru put their heads together and came up with the GT86/BRZ pairing; more or less identical twins that properly bring back the words ‘old school’. Good, old fashioned front engine / rear wheel drive combination for balance and road holding and all for well less than £30,000. Scroll back through these pages for more information on both these cars.

Not unreasonably BMW felt that Europe should get in on this action and they have appear to have cracked it with a variation on an existing model. The Z4 two-seater roadster has been refreshed and an additional model with a lower powered version of the existing two litre motor has been added to the range. Less horse power maybe but most drivers will be happy with the sheer driveability of the thing and, as a bonus, 40+ mpg. Yours for around twenty eight thousand (pictured).

Let’s not forget the Audi TT. This car has a slightly blemished reputation as a bit of a hairdresser’s car but it can still hold its own with the newer opposition and shouldn‘t be overlooked. The 1.8 TFSI Sport is quicker, more frugal and a bit cheaper than the Z4. Both are out soon.

Thanks to these great cars the pleasure of driving does not have to be completely lost. Even on this small island there’s fun to be had on twisting country roads where balance and handling matter more than hair-raising speed. For enthusiasts there is no better sensation than a car well-driven. So go old school and dig out your Dad’s leather driving gloves (the ones with cooling holes at the knuckles that were once de rigueur for hot car fans) and find your own great driving road. It might be just a round the corner.

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