ASSOCIATE EDITOR GRAHAM KOZAK: I didn’t realize how much I missed our now-gone long-term BRZ until I hopped into this 2015 Subaru BRZ Series.Blue Edition car for the weekend. Amazing how quickly a car’s feel and inputs can come snapping right back, like what they say about learning to ride a bicycle. Of course, it helps that the BRZ/Scion FR-S package is an intuitive one to begin with.
Sure, this isn’t exactly like our long-termer. It’s the limited-edition Series.Blue Edition -- the non-STI trim-package equipped take on the car that gets STI badges, for some reason. The car is pleasing to the eye with glossy black STI multispoke wheels and various spoilers tacked on here and there, but there are no performance enhancements to speak of.
In an era of cheap power, it’s worth spending time in a BRZ now and again as sort of a mental reset -- a reminder that wringing output out of a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter can often be more rewarding than tapping into the unlimited reserves of a much larger engine. It also wouldn’t make a bad daily driver. I still think they should make a turbo version, though.
The 2015 Subaru BRZ Series.Blue Edition features a blue leather wrapped steering wheel.
ASSOCIATE EDITOR JAKE LINGEMAN: Yeah, I’m with Graham, as soon as I fell into the seat it was like déjà vu all over again. Hit it hard in second gear and you can rotate the rear end around a slow-speed corner, just a tad more power this could be a full-on gymkhana and/or drift car.
And darn it Subaru, give me more power! Just 40 hp and 49 lb-ft of torque more and it would be perfect! As it stands, this car is just an STI faker. A friend saw it and asked about the STI badges on the wheels, and saw the extra bodywork, he was sure it was a new model. I told him, sadly, no. No word on that turbo yet, eh, Subaru?
The Series.Blue Edition adds the cool front and rear spoilers, slick wheels and caps and blue accents on the interior. It all looks really cool, and I think I convinced myself it had some sort of suspension upgrades because it slid so predictably. Placebo effect, I guess.
The BRZ has a cool, no-nonsense interior; this Series.Blue Edition takes it up a tick. The extra blue on the seats and steering wheel look good, too, as does the naked carbon fiber. Obviously, room in the back is negligible, but I did throw a few camping chairs and a bunch of three-ring binders back there, and a bunch of food in the trunk for a family reunion. I stuffed the food tray under the trunk mat to keep in place during my spirited cruise to the eastside of metro Detroit.
The BRZ is just a great, traditional sports car, and if you want a coupe, there aren’t many current cars that can match it. My buddy is a longtime Mazda MX-5 Miata fan, looking for a new car this year. I’m really, really pushing for him to get one of these. Just not the Series.Blue Edition because if there’s no extra power, then no sale.
The 2015 Subaru BRZ Series.Blue Edition is powered by a 2.0-liter H4 pushing out 200 hp with 151 lb-ft of torque.
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WEST COAST EDITOR MARK VAUGHN: Ah BRZ, how do we love thee? We love thee so much we apparently can’t stop writing about thee, or thou, or whoever. Thou art the answer to our prayers and our whines of so many years when there was nothing like you available in the U.S. market. Thou art cheap and fun and even (though less than we’d hoped), practical.
Yes, the Subaru BRZ has now been on the market here in the United States two years. We have driven them on racetracks, on superhighways and on the Isle of Man in the pouring rain. We even had one in our long-term fleet in Detroit for an entire year. And let’s not forget all the time spent in the car’s identical twin the Scion FR-S. It is the car we’d all been waiting for and we are still a little giddy that it even exists.
So, yes, I had fun during my several days driving the 2015 BRZ around L.A. The take-up and engagement of the clutch is a dream, so smooth and effortless even in LA’s miserable stop-and-slog traffic. The short-throw shifter is second only to the Mazda MX-5 Miata in quick-and-easy operation, which is surprising since it didn’t seem so quick and easy when we first drove this car two years ago at the test track in Japan. Subaru swears there have been no updates to the shifter since the car was new. Maybe it was early prototypes we drove in Japan or something, who knows?
The Subaru BRZ and its Scion FR-S cousin have caused quite the stir in the car world with their simple, lightweight, rear-wheel-drive coupe makeup. The formula seemed to produce the ideal package for ...
Once you get it in the sweet spot of engine power -- up around 3,500 rpm and above -- it has strong and sporty acceleration. Published figures put 0-60 in our manual-transmission BRZ at under seven seconds.
This is the cheap, practical and easy-to-drive sports car we had been dreaming about since the Datsun 510/Alfa Giulietta/BMW 2002 went away. Sure the Miata has been in there taking up the sports car slack, but the BRZ has a fixed roof, rear seat and a relatively (for a sporty car) roomy trunk. It is the dream car of the entry-level sports car buyer.
There were a few limitations to its wonderfulness that cropped up, though. Being sporty it is also a bit crude by the standards of less sporty cars its size. Despite refinements to the shocks aimed at smoothing out the ride, it transmits every road bang straight into the cabin so that you feel and hear what the suspension is crashing over at all times. This is good for a sports car because it means little lean in corners, but the relatively harsh suspension might discourage less hard-core drivers from committing in the showroom.
The rear seating is good for kids under 5 feet, but getting into the rear seats isn’t easy for anyone. The seats are well-bolstered, but hard and not comfortable after a day’s driving. And while the trunk has plenty of room for most of your average suburban needs, it isn’t as practical as less sporty cars.
So what do I want, then? When formulating my wish list to any auto exec who would listen, I myself specifically requested something more like the 510/Giulietta/2002 -- something with boxy proportions that made the car practical instead of stylish. The svelte coupe lines of the BRZ/FR-S sacrifice a whole lot of practicality to achieve style. I really believe if you offered something with less style and more everyday usefulness people would buy it. Heck, I would buy it. So there.
The 2015 Subaru BRZ Series.Blue Edition comes in at a base price of $28,490 with our tester topping off at $30,285.
ASSOCIATE WEST COAST EDITOR BLAKE Z. RONG: BZR (my initials) in a BRZ? It was only a matter of time. This “Series.Blue Edition” Mark and I drove comes with its own apology to copyeditors everywhere and also big black spoilers, splitters, and assorted filigree that scrapes on driveways with the brutal finality of metal on bone. Hey, it’s just plastic, whatever -- it’s not, say, the rarefied carbon fiber of the $174,895 Jaguar XKR-S GT. It also comes with 17-inch black STI wheels and low-profile tires that look undersized in those massive wheel wells. There are also the requisite STI badges, each about the size of a Tic Tac and hidden across the bodywork like Waldo. The clutch is far better than what I remembered, and the shifter is solid and just a tad too notchy.
The power? There’s plenty of it here, even if you have to wring it out near redline to get anywhere. Should it have more power? Yeah, why not. Everything should have more power. Even my parents’ riding lawnmower deserves a VF36 STI Twin Scroll turbocharger with 500 hp.
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Many have, and will, complain about the ride, but I drove it across a weekend in Los Angeles and never felt like my kidneys were heading for the exit. If I had to devote a life to Subaru fandom, I’d rather drive this to Las Vegas than the positively medieval Impreza WRX.
There are many things about the Subaru BRZ that feel deliberate, as if the engineers had developed the car with a role playing game attribute guide: speed down, dexterity up, charisma -- in this case, how willingly the BRZ flaunts its rear end like it’s a backup dancer for Shakira -- all the way to max. Swing around a corner and tip into the gas, and you get traction, traction, traction, then BAM! -- the rear tires break loose with the utmost of predictability, on cue, every time. (Or, if you forget to hold the traction control button down, you’re met with a chorus of groans.) It brought to mind the devilish skidplate car I drove at the Bondurant Executive Protection School, minus your very own disappointed instructor. This isn’t so much a car as a Skid School training seminar, encapsulated.
Our BRZ Limited started at $28,490. When you can get the hyperkinetic FR-S for just $25,470 (though for 2015 it’s now $26,770), what do you get? You get dual-zone climate control, if you want to coddle your passengers before scaring the daylights out of them. Those incredible seats now come wrapped in black leather and Alcantara. Up front, you get a smiley face instead of a frowny face. You get a bright red start button that resembles the torpedo launch button on a Soviet submarine. You get invited to Subaru meets and can now look forward to Saturday mornings in the parking lot of the local community college, surrounded by Shocker-stickered xDs and WRXs with blow-off valves that can be heard from three counties away.
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And you also get the World’s Worst Navigation System: a slow, mangled pile that lags on nearly every function, can’t be sorted through without an Excel spreadsheet, and possesses something called “Verbosity Level.” The only good thing I can say about the BRZ’s Tandy 1000 navigation is that the Subaru Legacy’s wonderful new system needs to be retrofitted, yesterday.
The initial excitement may have worn off (and reignited with every rumor of a turbo BRZ), but the “youth,” of which I am a reluctant member, still hold the BRZ and FR-S near and dear to our hearts. Because our broke butts can’t wrap our minds around how much it’ll cost to ding up a Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, a school bus, and about five or six light poles…and when it finally comes time to eschew the prison of hooptie-dom and buy our first new car, with a warranty, the hardest question we’ll ask ourselves is whether we need practicality and roominess and a high seating position and go for a Volkswagen Golf GTI, or to say “screw it” to our friends and mountain bikes and get a BRZ or FR-S.
The day I finally elevate out of hooptie-dom is the day I would strongly consider a BRZ for myself. And if I buy one, I couldn’t resist modifying it. A turbocharger kit? Coilovers? Heck, no -- I’d whip out a heat gun and some dental floss and rearrange the trunklid badging to read “BZR.” I’d probably do so in the dealer parking lot.
C'mon. You saw that coming.
We didn't realize how much we missed out now-gone long-term BRZ until we hopped into this 2015 Subaru BRZ Series.Blue Edition.
2015 Subaru BRZ Series.Blue Edition
Options: Series.Blue edition includes STI front, rear and side under spoilers, 17-inch STI black finish alloy wheels, leather and Alcantara trimmed interior with blue stitching and highlights, red painted brake calipers, carbon fiber patterned trim, undercover insulator ($1,795).
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