2019 Subaru BRZ

Performance


#5 out of 8 in Sports Cars

MSRP
$25,795
U.S. News Best Price Program

2019 Subaru BRZ Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 8.3

The 2019 Subaru BRZ is an animated sports car that concentrates more on lively handling and less on extreme power. Its engine has a decent amount of oomph but a mediocre fuel economy rating. Note that this is the only Subaru built exclusively as a rear-wheel-drive car.

  • "The BRZ is wonderfully playful, and it's refreshing to drive a car that doesn't demand triple-digit speeds to return triple-digit heart rates. It's rear-wheel-drive, though, … can get darty if you're too reactive or lose focus. Managing rear-end grip is the key." -- Edmunds
  • "If you're looking for neck-snapping, tire-smoking acceleration, the 2018 Subaru BRZ will disappoint. It's quick, sprinting from 0-60 mph in a little over six seconds, but any V8-powered Camaro or Mustang … [will] leave it sucking wind at any stoplight. The BRZ's real gifts are the way it corners -- and the way it makes you feel when you're tossing it around. If carving roads, wringing out an engine for all its worth and manually shifting through gears is your idea of fun, you'll enjoy driving the BRZ. Sure, a 6-speed automatic is available and it even has a manual mode, but the 6-speed manual is perfectly geared and more appropriately in character for this lightweight little thrill ride. You can't help smiling every time you rev the BRZ's flat-4 to 7,000 rpm and fast-flick the shifter up another gear. Subaru has even tuned the BRZ's stability control so it allows you to slide the rear-wheel-drive coupe's tail before it steps in to save you." -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)
  • "This is arguably the car business' last best hope for a fun, inexpensive sports car. It puts an exclamation point on the notion that a car without a gazillion horsepower or a six-figure sticker is fun to drive." -- Autoweek (2017)

Acceleration and Power

Every BRZ comes with a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. With this 205-horsepower engine, the BRZ won't beat something like a Chevy Camaro in a drag race, but what it lacks in off-the-line acceleration, it makes up for in liveliness. Most professional reviewers say the BRZ is a sprightly, fun-to-drive sports car. It comes with a six-speed manual transmission that is easy to shift. Note that you lose 5 horsepower if you upgrade to the six-speed automatic transmission.

The standard powertrain gets 21 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. That's significantly lower than the Mazda MX-5 Miata's fuel economy rating of 26/34 mpg city/highway.

  • "Acceleration isn't lightning quick, but it is plenty responsive. 0-60 times in the low seven-second range are nothing to scoff at and the drivetrain's character is well matched to the car. Most of our enthusiast drivers didn't think the car needs more power. The engine delivers a satisfying and deep-throated growl over 4500 rpm." -- Consumer Reports (2018)
  • "Yes, it feels a bit quicker off the line thanks to that new rear end, but I never really thought the old BRZ was a dog to begin with. The motor likes to be revved! The performance you seek is there, you just have to wring it out to find it. That's part of the fun here -- thanks to the buzzy powertrain, low seating position and quick handling, you'll feel like you're going 10 or 15 mph faster than whatever the speedometer says. And that's great!" -- Autoweek (2017)
  • "The six-speed manual that came in my test vehicle was still a delight, with tight throws and a well-weighted clutch pedal." -- Cars.com (2017)

Handling and Braking

The rear-wheel-drive BRZ is nimble and fun to drive. Much of its enjoyable handling stems from its responsive steering and brakes. The standard sport-tuned suspension system keeps the car controlled during lively maneuvers. Most driving enthusiasts will appreciate its firm ride, but their passengers probably won't. 

  • "When it comes to feel, precision and handling, the BRZ is near the top of the class. It's an absolute blast to drive this car around turns." -- Edmunds
  •  "… the ride is stiff but not too punishing by sports car standards. The suspension is compliant enough to take most bumps while providing some isolation, but ride motions are short and quick, making it feel busy and choppy on any type of road. The BRZ feels slightly harsher than the Toyota, with a firmer suspension setup." -- Consumer Reports (2018)
  • "The best part … is that it's a blast to throw around corners, and Subaru managed to keep the car true to form. There isn't much brake dive, the suspension keeps this Subie flat as can be -- yet it isn't back-breaking stiff when hitting your average pothole." -- Autoweek (2017)
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2019 Subaru BRZ

MSRP: $25,795 - $30,140

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