If you’re reading this review, there’s a good chance that you already know the how and the why behind the existence of the 2014 Subaru BRZ, a rear-wheel-drive sports coupe utterly antithetical to the rest of the automaker’s lineup. If you don’t, here’s the short version of the story:
Toyota bought a big chunk of Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI), and then approached FHI’s Subaru about helping out with the engineering of a rear-drive sports coupe. After a period of time during which Toyota attempted to convince its unlikely partner that the resulting performance car would add to rather than detract from the DNA of what makes a Subaru a Subaru, Subaru relented and the Toyota FT-86, Scion FR-S, and Subaru BRZ were born.
Predictably, young enthusiast buyers went wild for an affordable, rear-drive, and likely bulletproof car that could be easily customized. Sales were robust at first, especially in warmer climates. Since then, though, the people who really wanted one have already got one, while everyone else evidently requires something with a real back seat and a bigger trunk.
After driving the Scion FR-S last year, and coming away from the experience thinking the car was impressive but ultimately disappointing, I wanted to revisit this 2+2 duo to make sure I wasn’t missing something the first time around. When every automotive publication on the planet glows with praise for a vehicle that I respond to with a definitive “Meh,” I get worried about my ability to make a legitimate living.
This time around, I grabbed the key to a 2014 Subaru BRZ. I’m still impressed by this car at the same time that I’m puzzled, glad it exists but thinking it could have been better, even at what is an affordable price.