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CNET On Cars: 2013 Subaru BRZ

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CNET On Cars: 2013 Subaru BRZ

5:21 /

Underpowered, under-tech, but overwhelmingly fun. Take a ride in the 2013 Subaru BRZ.

Now the story goes that Subaru almost bailed on Toyota in their partnership to make this car. Apparently, Subie thought it was kind of not them to make anything that's front engine and rear-wheel drive. It's been a long time for them. Luckily they thought about it and thought better because the result is one of the great affordable honest sports cars in the last 45 years. Let's drive the 2013 Subaru BRZ in Check the Tech. Toyota 2000GT, Datsun 240Z, Mazda Miata, the pantheon of cars of this ilk is pretty small but pretty well loved but the last time Subaru made anything front engine and rear drive was 1954, something called the 1500. It's not in anybody's pantheon except perhaps Mr. Magoo's. Now the BRZ is basically built on a revised version of the Impreza platform so you could say it shares some DNA with the WRX. Well, the familiar the relationship is a bit distant as you can see. Weight savings is a big part of the story though. That hood is always aluminum, that roof never has glass in it, and that back end is always a trunk, not a hatch. Now under the BRZ's featherweight aluminum hood, you're gonna find a 2-liter flat-four engine, classic Subaru Boxer stuff, 4 cylinders horizontally opposed, 2 per each side, kind of lives right over the front axle line neither fore or aft. It has both port and direct injection which is sort of the new fashion these days. Two liters of displacement gets you 200 horsepower, a rather tepid 151 foot pounds of torque however. We're gonna encounter that on the road in a minute. 0 to 60 though happens in a happy enough 6.7 seconds for a car that weighs a little under 2800 pounds; that's pretty stealth by today's standards. You're gonna get 2230 mpg with a 6-speed or a much better 2534 if you get the automatic, but don't. All these cars go out to the 6-speed manual as a base configuration. It's more for that auto and they all go to the rear wheels through a limited slip differential. Subaru put that money in the right place. Now this head unit with navigation is standard so I applause Subaru for throwing that in basically, but it's not much to ride home about. The interface is just okay. There's also voice command but eh. They also squandered the opportunity to give this car a rear camera. Here's the screen but a rear cam is not even available. Overall the navigation system is entirely functional but it's not a pretty interface. On the audio side, AM and FM both have HD radio ability. There's satellite radio as you can see, Bluetooth streaming. They've also got a USB and an Ox check down here on the console and it'll also handle SMS text. Now the first thing you notice about the BRZ is it's got this little flat spot which we've seen before in some of the Edmund's charts on the Dyno and it doesn't have a lot of torque to begin with as I pointed out; 150 something foot pounds is not prodigious, but it loves to rev the way a Honda S2000 used to and the balance is nice. You can kick the rear end out easily. If you look down here I've got this stability control sport profile. It keeps you a little bit out of trouble but it lets you hang the back rather flashy the way you want to. I like to kill it all the way which I can't do, but it's a lot of fun anyway. You need to keep this guy on cam more or less; 4,000 and above keeps you in the power bands the way it feels to me. Very light car, not just in the numbers but it's really light and the way it feels. Not every light car feels light. This one does. And it's quite responsive when you wanna get a snap. Like here we do the triple 8 on our track and you can kick this thing around and around and it pretty much won't bite you in the ass, unless you get real stupid, which I've been known to do. The rigidity of this car is one of the things that sets it apart from some of the other vehicles of this type that are open tops. It's just no two ways about having a car that's a good top on it to keep things really firm and rigid. And I'm not a huge fan of the note of Subaru motors usually, but this one sounds great and it revs real freely and it's a happy little engine. Hello, Betty. Now pricing the BRZ CNET style is an exercise in simplicity. You start with the base car, $25,495 delivered then add the limited package; that's $2,000 more. That's gonna get you fog lights, high intensity discharge headlights, leather trim, a spoiler on the back and automatic temperature control. There's an $1100-option for an automatic but you're not gonna do that.

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