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10 Things You Need To Know About The 2013 Subaru BRZ

Benjamin Hunting
by Benjamin Hunting
June 3, 2012
5 min. Reading Time

The 2013 Subaru BRZ is a long-awaited compact sports coupe that aims to redefine the Japanese brand's reputation in the United States.  Long known for its standard all-wheel drive systems, quirky styling and high safety ratings, Subaru is hoping to cater to an entirely new class of driver with the BRZ - one that prizes lightness, agility and affordability in the same package.

The Subaru BRZ has been the subject of a serious amount of buzz over the past few years while in the development and testing stage, and it is finally being delivered to customers all across the country.  Let's take a look at 10 things you need to know about the 2013 Subaru BRZ.


01. The 2013 Subaru BRZ Is An All-New Design

The 2013 Subaru BRZ is a clean-sheet design that in most areas does not borrow from any other platform in the Subaru lineup.  While the vehicle does boast certain standard Subaru elements such as a boxer engine, there's no question that the look of the two-door compact coupe is a fresh page for the automaker, especially given its reputation for less-than-sleek styling cues in the past.  The Subaru BRZ is targeted squarely at both younger buyers who may have previously considered a vehicle like the Honda Civic Si Coupe as well as older shoppers who might compare the BRZ to the Porsche 944 of old.



02. The 2013 Subaru BRZ Is A Team Effort

The 2013 Subaru BRZ was built in partnership with Toyota, a move that helped the much smaller car company bring such an ambitious project to market within a reasonable window of time.  Subaru contributed much of the automobile's chassis and suspension design, with key components inspired by its popular Impreza sedan and hatchback, while Toyota did its part to create the fluid visual impression offered by the BRZ - a look that the brand says was inspired buy the 1967 Toyota 2000GT.  The BRZ also features a direct fuel injection system developed by Toyota in order to squeeze out as much power as possible without sacrificing efficiency.



03. The 2013 Subaru BRZ Features A Single Engine Option

The 2013 Subaru BRZ is outfitted with a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that develops 200 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque.  The BRZ's mill screams all the way up to a 7,400 rpm redline, features horizontally-opposed cylinders (the previously-mentioned 'boxer' design), and can be paired with either a six-speed automatic or a six-speed manual transmission.  Subaru has made it clear that although the BRZ's engine shares its displacement with the Impreza, there are very few other similarities between the two power plants - the coupe has been given special treatment.  Fuel mileage for the 2.0-liter motor checks in at 20-mpg city and 28-mpg highway, and the vehicle scoots to 60-mph from a standing start in just a few ticks over six seconds.



04. The 2013 Subaru BRZ Is Rear-Wheel Drive

Most readers will have probably picked up on the fact that so far in this article there has been no mention of the BRZ's all-wheel drive system.  The reason for this omission is due to the fact that the 2013 Subaru BRZ is available exclusively with a rear-wheel drive layout.  The BRZ represents Subaru's only pure rear-wheel drive effort since the Subaru 360 - the company's very first model that took the form of a rear-engine, rear-wheel drive microcar, produced until 1971.  The decision to avoid all-wheel drive was made in part to help keep the coupe's weight down, but also to provide the kind of driving dynamics that compact two-door Japanese automobiles have traditionally been able to offer.



05. The 2013 Subaru BRZ Offers A Track-Friendly Chassis

The 2013 Subaru BRZ's chassis has been designed with pure performance in mind.  The vehicle's boxer engine features a low deck that makes it ideal for sitting back as far amidships as possible - as well as helping the Subaru BRZ keep a low center of gravity.  The coupe weighs roughly 2,800 lbs, a figure that is substantially lighter than several other two-door competitors and one that also plays a key role in making the coupe's relatively modest 200 horsepower stretch as far as possible in a road course environment.  The BRZ's ability to maintain momentum on a track negates the need for blistering acceleration down the stretch and rewards smooth driving at the limit with just a hint of oversteer for those who would prefer to drift through the corners.



06. The 2013 Subaru BRZ Comes In Two Trim Levels

The 2013 Subaru BRZ starts out in Premium trim, which features a generous equipment list including HID headlights, air conditioning, power windows and door locks, a voice-activated navigation system, Bluetooth connectivity, satellite radio, a limited-slip differential and 17-inch wheels.  Stepping up to the BRZ Limited brings with it exterior improvements such as a rear deck-mounted spoiler and fog lights as well as nicer interior amenities like dual automatic climate control, heated leather seats, and a keyless ignition.  The vehicle's interior is comfortable for two forward passengers, offering good legroom and head room, but those riding in the rear would be better off finding an alternate means of getting to their destination - back seat space is cramped, at best.



07. The 2013 Subaru BRZ Is A Safe Compact Coupe

The 2013 Subaru BRZ does a commendable job of protecting its passengers from coming into harm's way, a trait that is a key aspect of Subaru's design DNA.  The Subaru BRZ features front side airbags, forward airbags and side curtain airbags that extend along the entire length of the passenger compartment.  It also offers electronic stability control and traction control as standard features (which can be custom-tuned to suit the driver's preferences), along with anti-lock brakes, electronic brake-force distribution, and brake assist.  The latter is designed to provide the full force of the coupe's stopping power instantly if the pedal is slammed to the floor.



08. The 2013 Subaru BRZ Has A Scion Twin

The Toyota / Subaru partnership that produced the 2013 Subaru BRZ has also borne fruit for Toyota's youth-oriented Scion division.  The 2013 Scion FR-S is a two-door compact coupe that is essentially identical to the Subaru BRZ with a few notable exceptions.  While the FR-S and the BRZ share the same platform and mechanical details, each vehicle comes with its own unique front fascia as well as number of other styling tweaks on the fenders and the rear under-bumper area.  Inside there are far more similarities than differences, but keen observers will be able to pick out where the Subaru stands apart from its Scion sibling.  In terms of driving feel, the Scion displays a tendency to oversteer earlier than the Subaru when pushed hard.



09. The 2013 Subaru BRZ Boasts Impressive Lineage

The 2013 Subaru BRZ benefits from its Toyota DNA in more than just the styling or engine departments.  The BRZ can also trace its spiritual ancestry back to the esteemed Toyota AE86 Corolla built during the 1980's.  The AE86 Corolla (name-checked on the Scion FR-S' fender badges) became a cult favorite amongst Japanese drifters thanks to its low-mass, small-foot print, rear-wheel drive platform that made it a very controllable car at the edge of adhesion.  Although once common, Japan has in recent years cut back on its number of inexpensive rear-wheel drive offerings, with compact models even rarer still.  This makes the BRZ both an important link to Toyota's sports car heritage and a new path forward for Subaru.



10. The 2013 Subaru BRZ Faces Stiff Competition

The 2013 Subaru BRZ finds itself at the center of a two-door sports car renaissance in the North American market.  On the domestic scene, vehicles like the Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang (in their entry-level editions) provide a compelling option and a significant horsepower bump at an MSRP that is similar to that of the BRZ.  The Hyundai Genesis also offers significantly more grunt in the same segment of the market.  What none of these competitors can claim, however, is the same kind of lightweight and balanced driving experience put forth by the Subaru.  The choice for many compact coupe buyers this coming year will be one that is made between impressive-on-paper engine specifications or telepathic handling and agility.



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