$11,666 - $13,489

2013 Subaru BRZ Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2013 Subaru BRZ was new.


Performance: 8.0

With its awe-inspiring handling and just the right amount of power, test drivers love the 2013 Subaru BRZ. They compare the BRZ’s performance characteristics with those of iconic sports cars such as the Mazda Miata and Porsche Boxster, which both earn critical acclaim for their agile handling. The even like the optional automatic transmission, though most agree that the BRZ’s six-speed manual is their preferred choice.

  • "The Subaru BRZ will be a track-day favorite for club racers across the country, an easily justifiable expense since you can drive it to work the rest of the week." -- AutoWeek 
  • "Conducting the chassis is steering that is more immediate than anything this side of the Lotus factory. Its heft is perfect for resisting unintentional inputs at the limit. Feedback falls short of perfection, but only slightly; blame the electric steering if you must." -- Car and Driver 
  • "Power is not neck-snapping, but the car has just enough to make it exceptionally responsive. My frequent Mazda MX-5/Miata references are no mistake; the BRZ is definitely in that Zoom Zoom category of vehicles that deliver grins from pinning occupants to the side bolsters rather than seatbacks." -- Motor Trend 
  • "Getting right to the driving - look out, Miata." -- Road and Track 
  • "The MT BRZ also sounds like a sports car - it's what the English would call ‘rorty,’ with an engine note that fills the cabin whenever you call for action, getting a little help from the sound amplifier." -- Autoblog 

Acceleration and Power

While some reviewers comment that the Subaru BRZ could use a more powerful engine, most agree that its 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and well-matched transmissions make the BRZ a blast to drive. The engine generates 200 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. The BRZ is available with a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. The EPA reports that the 2013 Subaru BRZ gets up to 25/34 mpg city/highway, which is better than the fuel economy of many affordable sports cars.

  • "The six-speed manual transmission has a high-effort, short-throw shifter and a light clutch, and it's a bit easy to stall the BRZ off the line because its flywheel weighs only 20 lb, some 9 less than an STI's." -- Automobile Magazine 
  • "Heretics who buy their sports cars with automatics will at least get a good unit." -- Car and Driver 
  • "Though relatively low on torque, the FA20 is quick to rev and pulls the 2800-pound chassis around with no real flat spots in acceleration." -- Motor Trend 
  • "At risk of sounding heretical here, you can have just as much fun with the automatic. Paddle shifters are standard, and when you shift the mode from D to M for manual, the mapping tightens up. Nice rev-popping to match downshifts and, again, the torque minimizes the amount of shifting you'll be doing." -- Road and Track 
  • "We bemoan the lack of manuals in high-end sports cars, but this price segment is wonderfully thick with them and many are delightfully good. The BRZ is no exception." -- Autoblog 

Handling and Braking

Critics are floored by the Subaru BRZ’s athletic handling, strong brakes and excellent steering. They say the BRZ’s sublime driving dynamics rival those of sports cars like the Mazda Miata, which is a perennial reviewer favorite. When Subaru designed the BRZ, they mounted the engine as far back in the chassis and as low to the ground as possible. This gives the BRZ an extremely low center of gravity, which contributes to its handling prowess.

  • "The BRZ turns in eeee-mediately with minimal, very well-controlled body roll." -- Automobile Magazine  
  • "Indeed, right up until the nose starts to chatter off line, Subaru's new coupe is gifted with exceptional balance and clairvoyant reflexes." -- Car and Driver 
  • "It is not as precise or direct as one of the handling targets (Porsche Cayman), but it's close enough to its boxer brethren to be mentioned in the same breath. The same cannot be said of everything else in what Subaru claims is the BRZ's competitive set: Mini Cooper S, Civic Si, Hyundai Genesis Coupe, Miata MX-5, and of course Scion FR-S." -- Motor Trend 
  • "The ride is a proper match to the handling, isolated for both quality and sound, and yet not separating you from the driving experience." -- Road and Track 
  • "Brake dive has also been minimized - in fact, there's practically none." -- Autoblog

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