The product of Subaru's joint venture with Toyota, the BRZ holds fast to classic sports car virtues: low weight, petite dimensions, and rear-wheel drive. It's a charming formula that places agility and fun above brute force.
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2016 Subaru BRZ Overview
What's New for 2016
A rearview camera and Subaru's Starlink infotainment system are now standard. The new Series.HyperBlue edition offers head-turning style throughout.
Choosing Your Subaru BRZ
Every BRZ carries a 2-liter four-cylinder good for 200 horsepower, paired with a six-speed manual transmission or optional six-speed automatic. The BRZ gets from 0 to 60 mph noticeably faster with the manual (6.8 vs 7.9 seconds), but the automatic boosts efficiency from 25 mpg combined to 28 mpg. To bolster handling, you get a limited-slip rear differential and summer performance tires on 17-inch alloy wheels.
The trunk is predictably puny, but cargo space really opens up when you fold down the rear seat, which is too small for life-size passengers anyway.
The BRZ is available in three trim levels this year:
As usual, there are not factory options for the BRZ, but numerous dealer-installed accessories are available.
The automatic transmission interferes with performance more than we expected. The manual is a better choice unless fuel economy is your chief concern. Note that Series.HyperBlue production is limited to 500 units, so don't hesitate if you can't live without its striking looks.
2016 Subaru BRZ Review
As one of the most affordable performance cars on the market, the Subaru BRZ combines a road-connected drive quality and a small purpose-designed cabin wrapped up in a fun and engaging rear-wheel drive sports car package.
Pricing and Equipment
The 2016 Subaru BRZ starts at $25,695 for the base Premium, one of the two available trims, while the Limited starts at $27,695. The BRZ Limited adds several highly desirable and bundled features, such as:
- Fog lights
- A rear deck lid spoiler
- Alcantara and leather-trimmed upholstery
- Keyless entry and start
The Premium trim already includes many preferred features -- some that you would expect in more expensive performance vehicles -- like a Torsen limited slip differential. Additionally, the 2016 Subaru BRZ includes an updated Starlink touchscreen infotainment system with smartphone app connectivity and other multimedia content through bundled Starlink apps.
The Subaru BRZ’s only engine, a 2-liter horizontally-opposed (boxer) four-cylinder with 200 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque, has a low center of gravity due to its low-slung mass. The BRZ appeases to a larger audience with the availability of either a six-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel shift paddles or a standard six-speed manual transmission.
- Low center of gravity and light curb weight aids the BRZ's exceptional handling.
- Razor-sharp steering feels connected to the road.
- EPA fuel economy estimates are respectable at 25 mpg city and 34 mpg highway with the six-speed automatic transmission.
- The BRZ equipped with the six-speed automatic transmission has lackluster acceleration -- 0 to 60 mph takes an unremarkable 7.9 seconds.
- Fuel economy EPA estimate diminish greatly when equipped with the six-speed manual transmission: 22 mpg city and 30 mpg highway.
- The front seats are very supportive with good bolstering, and encourage exploration of the BRZ's excellent handling ability.
- The interface for a touchscreen infotainment system that controls navigation, audio, and a small set of connected apps is improved.
- An extremely small back seat should be reserved for small kids and storage instead of adults.
- Cargo capacity is limited -- only 6.9 cubic feet when the rear seatbacks are in place.
The Most Pleasant Surprise
The 2016 Subaru BRZ handles almost like it is on rails. The feedback from the road, combined with its ability to out-handle performance vehicles that cost nearly twice as much, place the BRZ nearly in a category of its own.
The Least Pleasant Surprise
Apart from disappointing straight-line performance in the BRZ with a six-speed automatic transmission, the cramped back seat barely allows room for a baby's full-size car seat.
The Bottom Line
The 2016 Subaru BRZ is a rewarding and engaging sports car that doesn’t intimidate those willing to push it near its limits. The collective of the BRZ’s performance, a decent equipment list, and an affordable price make it one of the most attractive sports car packages in more ways than one.