My brother-in-law says I drive like a grandma. I prefer to think of myself as spunky but cautious. Compared to my MT colleagues, I am indeed a slowpoke—the fastest I’ve ever gone on a closed high-speed oval is 148 mph in a Mercedes . The BRZ’s 200 hp is just my speed—I feel like Goldilocks finding the perfect chair. Now, 200 hp is on the low end for a sports car, so you gotta really rev the engine to get a move on, and I like that. It makes me feel like a badass when I’m pushing up an on-ramp to merge at highway speeds. The engine’s note is unsophisticated, though, buzzing like an angry bee. I agree with colleague Stefan Ogbac that the BRZ could use more midrange torque—it gets a bit huffy around 3,500. A soft chug-chug-chuggy rattle sometimes occurs when I’m coasting to a stop around 900 rpm with feet off the clutch and gas, but I can’t replicate it often enough to really analyze it. I wish the clutch uptake were 20 percent smoother, though it seems like it’s breaking in, or I’m just getting used to it. The shifter is a bit notchy but not gratingly so. The steering’s quick response and feedback are delightful. My favorite thing is tooling up curvy Sunset Boulevard in Brentwood, California, on my way to swim class, wishing fervently the speed limit wasn’t 40 mph. The car is so much fun and so well-balanced.
I haven’t driven the BRZ on any trip longer than a couple hours. Overall, I’m happy with the driver’s seat adjustment, which is manual. Although the seats are plenty comfortable with ample padding and good, firm support, the cabin noise and overall lack of ride refinement could become tiresome on a long road trip. On the way home from Target, some unsecured cases of fizzy water in the trunk actually caught air over bigger bumps, landing with a thump and a slide. I appreciate the location of the USB input in the lower center stack—too many automakers stick them deep down in the back of the center console, which drives me nuts.
The BRZ’s standard summer tires are plenty grippy for Los Angeles’ grooved freeways and suitable for SoCal’s balmy 70-degree “winters” with barely any moisture, but were I back in Michigan, I’d definitely swap them for winter tires when the mercury drops.
A couple interior gripes: The cupholder setup is not ideal, but I can’t imagine where to put them that would be better, given the limited interior space. I usually keep my water bottle in the niche in the bottom left of the driver’s side door, which is a nice, deep space, but I can’t get it out without hitting the underside of the door handle. The movable center console tray has two cupholders, but even when it’s pushed as far forward as possible, you have to reach backward to get your beverage out. That’s a spill waiting to happen.
When I scoot the passenger side seat back forward and move the seat as close to the dash as possible to let my niece get into the back seat, the seat doesn’t stay forward—as soon as I take my hand off the top of the back of it, the seat springs backward, making it hard to help her get in. If I had three hands, it’d be fine, as two hands could go on her and one on the seat back, but alas, I do not. I also wish the rear camera system beeped when I get close to backing into something.
More on our long-term 2016 Subaru BRZ Series HyperBlue here: