SUBARU AGAIN OFFERS LIMITED BRZ SPORT SERIES FOR 2016
By Tom Crosby
There is immediate cache when someone buys a limited edition sports car, especially when the price is not prohibitive, and the driving fun. So for 2016, Subaru is again restricting production of its Series.HyperBlue BRZ sports coupe, vowing to make only 500 for sale in the U.S. at a base price under $30,000.
Subaru introduced the Series.Hyper year, producing only 1,000, half blue and half white. Our test-drive was the 2016 GZS Series.HyperBlue which adds a standard rear view camera and a new 6.2 inch touchscreen with Subaru’s STARLINK for additional infotainment apps and features.
Toyota collaborated with Subaru on the BRZ, launched in 2013, as Subaru already had a reputation for eye-catching, affordable, performance addictive, manual transmission sport sedans in WRX and STI models. BRZs are rear wheel drive and Toyota sells its mechanical twin as the Scion FR-S.
Our BRZ rode on 17-inch alloy wheels and tubeless tires (a spare is in the trunk) providing satisfying road feedback from the revised sport suspension but never in the leather-wrapped steering wheel. Handling was precision sharp and confident in turns at all speeds, and with manipulation of the short-throw six-speed manual transmission, the thrill of the BRZ’s sporty nature fills the cockpit with the BOXER engine’s growl. BRZs don’t smoke tires off the line but quick gearshifts show alacrity and sports car chops. The on/off traction control system can test track-driving skills.
A dashboard tachometer shows vehicle speed. The navigation system is accurate but isn’t intuitive. Blue stitching on the Alcantara leather front seats and doors adds class. The cockpit is snug and front seat access is challenging for full size adults, nearly impossible in the squeezed rear seats, suitable only for small children. Once ensconced, however, front seating in well-bolstered seats is comfortable with ample legroom and a proper driver’s left dead-foot rest.
The sporty vehicle design is by STI (Subaru Tecnia International, the high-performance and motorsports development division of Fuji Heavy Industries, Subaru’s owner.) Visible red brake calipers on black rims, ballooned front fenders, heightened rear wheel haunches and sleek design give the mono-colored BRZ a menacing profile. The maw-like front fascia grille adds its own menace.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives top marks to the BRZ with its Ring-shaped Reinforcement Frame safety structure Subaru has used since year 2000, electronic safety aids, and the transposed BOXER engine that allows more crush room in front and on the sides in crashes.
LIKES: Looks, cockpit, handling, safety, price
DISLIKES: Access, rear seating
BOTTOM LINE: Fun to drive, affordable, instant onlooker envy
- Base price w/destination fee $28,490 ($30,285 as tested)
- Curb weight 2,774 lbs.
- Wheelbase 101.2 inches
- Length 166.7 inches
- Width 69.9 inches
- Engine specs 2.0 liter, 4-cylinder BOXER with direct injection
- Horsepower 200 hp at 7,000 rpm
- Torque 151 lbs.-ft. at 6,400 rpm
- Transmission 6-speed manual
- EPA Rating 22 mpg city/30 mpg highway
- Range 13.2-gallons, premium required
- Performance 0-60 in just under 7 seconds