2014 - 2015 Subaru BRZ
A 2014 price increase of just $100 is Subaru’s bow to the warm global reception given to its high-profile sports-car engineering and manufacturing bid for Toyota. The 2014 BRZ is still an all-star sports car that delivers ideal rear-drive dynamics for just $26,000.
Key inspirations obviously come from the AE86 Celica, but the dynamic portion of the BRZ also draws from the Honda S2000 and the Datsun 240Z. The Z-car reference is important: it kicked off Subaru’s 1984 Turbo Coupe, the XT6 performance coupe until 1991, the the SVX through the mid 1990s.
The Toyota partnership offered Subaru the dream of many blue-sky engineering sessions by the Fuji Heavy Industries’ experts as well as legions of Subaru fans across the globe. What would happen to the already-incredible steering and handling dynamics of my WRX if it were magically rear-drive?
The conversion is not as simple as kicking out a pickup truck’s prop shaft, as Subaru quickly learned when undertaking the project. In fact, a complete engine redesign was needed to adapt the engine to its new driveshaft (and this time with no center diff - long the point from which all Subaru designs originate.)
The old boxer’s legendary thirst for fuel (and oil) became problematic, so the boffins at Toyota shared a tera-flop worth of direct injection engine data with Subaru to keep the project moving. Thus, a brand new generation of 2.0-liter boxer engine was born: and this time it can be as lean on fuel as it is on weight balance.
All the good and honorable about this affordable rear-drive coupe continues for 2014, with only a new key fob design for the BRZ Limited with remote start. The big news is mainly that they are available - after major shortages and early buyers having to order their car in advance.
Updated 05/29/2014: Subaru announced today prices for the 2015 BRZ which will go on sale later in the summer. Prices will start from $25,695 for the base BRZ Limited version and go up to $29,490 for the latest addition of the lineup: the new BRZ Series.Blue limited edition.
Click past the jump for the full review of the 2014 Subaru BRZ, but this time with less drift hyperbole and more mechanical/performance/price comparisons between the auto and manual transmission options.
2014 - 2015 Subaru BRZ
Transmission:5-speed Manual, 6-speed Auto Opt.
Horsepower @ RPM:200
Torque @ RPM:151
Energy:MFI And Direct Injection
0-60 time:6.7 sec.
Top Speed:143 mph
The rarity of having to actually pre-order a Japanese car is extra humorous because the entire country’s car manufacturing backbone (aka the Toyota Production System method), is finely honed to American buyer preferences. We go to a dealer to buy a car, and want the dealer to have exactly the car we want. That day.
As such, Japanese cars are streamlined from the word "go." There are perhaps 12 different total BRZ configurations/colors - with zero options aside from the automatic transmission and $3,000 upgrade to Limited trim.
All U.S. BRZs come with LED accents, automatic bi-xenon lamps with an internal white LED outline and machined-face 17-inch alloys. The Limited trim adds halogen fog lights and a rear spoiler, but all BRZ’s are just as eye-catching on the road with or without Limited trim.
Instantly a sports car, the BRZ is only 2 inches taller than Pebble Beach’s 2013 king, the 1967 Ferrari 365 GTB/4S NART Spider. Considering the time in between, such a low roof is dynamite and sets the tone for the rest of the sporty styling.
Interesting panels are really quite pleasing with time and further appreciation. A twin roof aerodynamic slash matches the front badge creases, and even carries through this “V” airflow sculpture through the rear spoiler uprights.
The oversized twin exhaust outlets are mounted in-board right near the central diffuser and backup lights. The rear fog light is an upside-down triangle whose shape actually continues up the rear bumper face.
All thoroughly satisfying details that make the low proportions and barely-there front overhang even more special. The true designer of the BRZ triplets may never be known, but it sure isn’t anything like the ghastly styling atrocities the brand has approved in the past.
Even the Giugiaro-penned SVX was not exactly a looker, proving the (hopefully banished) taste problems at Subaru go all the way to the top.
2014 Subaru BRZ - Exterior Dimensions:
|Front Track Width (in.)||59.8|
|Rear Track Width (in.)||60.6|
|Curb Weight (Pounds)||2776 Man, 2822 Auto|
2014 Subaru BRZ - Exterior Features:
- Auto on/off High Intensity Discharge (HID) headlights, low and high beam bi-xenon
- LED type daytime running lights (DRL)
- Two-speed windshield wipers with variable-intermittent mode and mist feature
- 17x7.0-inch 15-spoke dark gray-finished aluminum-alloy wheels with machined accents
- 215/45 R17 87W summer high performance tires
- Aluminum hood
- Green-tinted windshield
- Green-tinted and UV door glass and rear window
- Dual tailpipe outlets
2014 Subaru BRZ - Exterior Accessories:
- Rear Bumper Applique ($69)
- Rear Bumper Diffuser ($749)
- Deck Lid Spoiler ($499)
- SPT Battery Hold Down - Steel ($45)
- SPT Oil Cap - Blue ($45)
- SPT Oil Cap - Steel ($45)
New for 2015
- Updated WR Blue Pearl
- Ice Silver Metallic
- Crystal White Pearl
- Larger stainless tailpipe tips
- Roof-mounted and body color shark fin antenna
Is the BRZ’s interior starting to cause Déjà vu? It should, because this look is fanning out across every other Toyota and Lexus like an airborne virus. The new Corolla and Camry are confirmed victims, as is the Lexus ES350.
This is the new preferred style because it limits bulging dash syndrome and helps visibility, and it also presents a flat and shielded vertical surface for the latest Entune touchscreen infotainment solutions.
The BRZ’s standard navigation and audio screen is still terrible, as is the stock stereo system’s volume and the BRZ cabin’s almost complete lack of insulation. This becomes noticeable at speed, when the stereo will fail to drown out the road and wind roar even at its highest volume setting.
One of the first modifications buyers might learn about from their new Subaru forum pals is that a full floor Dynamat installation under the carpet works wonders. As does a totally different stereo amp unit. The problem is actually both the speakers and the low-power OEM amplifiers - not the head unit necessarily. You heard it here first from a long-time Subaru guy.
2014 Subaru BRZ - Interior Dimensions:
|Seating Capacity - Front||2|
|Seating Capacity - Rear||2|
|Headroom (In.) - Front||37.1|
|Headroom (In.) - Rear||35|
|Legroom (In.) - Front||41.9|
|Legroom (In.) - Rear||29.9|
|Shoulder room (In.) - Front||54.5|
|Shoulder room (In.) - Rear||51.7|
|Hip room (In.) - Front||NA|
|Hip room (In.) - Rear||NA|
|Trunk capacity (cubic-feet)||6.9|
2014 Subaru BRZ - Interior Features:
- Performance-design front seats with height-adjustable head restraints
- Power windows with auto up/down
- Power side mirrors
- Leather-wrapped 3-spoke steering wheel with integrated cruise controls and red stitching
- Manually adjustable tilt/telescoping steering column
- Automatic climate control system with air filtration
- Voice-activated GPS navigation system
- Voice-activated 6.1-inch high-resolution touch-screen GPS navigation system and 8-speaker single-CD audio system with HD Radio with iTunes tagging capability, USB port/ iPod control, SiriusXM Satellite Radioand XM NavTraffic, SMS test messaging capability, Bluetooth audio streaming and hands-free phone connectivity, and 3.5-mm auxiliary jack
- Device Integration USB Port and Auxilliary audio jack
BRZ Limited Adds:
- Alcantara seat inserts with leather bolsters
All-Weather Package (dual-mode heated
front seats, heated exterior mirrors)
- Dual illuminated visor vanity mirrors
- Dual-zone automatic climate control system
- Front door courtesy lights
- Keyless access and start with illuminated engine start/stop button
- Security system
New for 2015
- Simulated carbon-fiber center dash panel
Drivetrain, Suspension and Brakes
The abysmal noise suppression and navigation system will take months and maybe years to notice. The honeymoon of the BRZ will be long and blissful, helping drivers overlook any of these gripes for perhaps years of twisty road fun.
The trade-off for the relatively humble cabin refinement is actually a smooth and supple ride quality and world-class driving position. Seated low and with the wheel and shifter falling right in hand, the vertical windshield and pillars mean every apex is easy to kiss with the inner tire.
Performance is ripe for improvement with better breathing all around: induction air box, down pipe and exhaust all can liberate about 10 ponies each when upgraded.
Subaru is dragging its feet on loading the Forester’s new turbo version of this engine in the BRZ, which can partially be explained by the Forester XT’s CVT-only transmission. A CVT in the performance BRZ would cause global rioting.
The autobox BRZ is quite slow compared with the manual, at least when the boxer engine is fresh and not fully run in.
Motor Trend reports a 7.7 sprint for their new BRZ Limited Automatic - which is not good from the 0-to-60 mph time leaders. For example, Motor Trend was able to hustle its BRZ manual to 60 mph in just 6.4 seconds.
The boxer engine’s performance does improve with about 5,000 miles on the tally, as does its fuel consumption. Already far more efficient than any previous Subaru boxer, the BRZ manual is thirstier at 30 mpg on the highway versus the automatic’s 34 mpg highway score.
A limited-slip diff on both cars means plenty of tail-out fun. The automatic is much easier in traffic, and even brings paddle shifters and throttle blips on downshifts.
2014 Subaru BRZ - Mechanical Features:
- New 2.0-liter Subaru Boxer engine features “square” configuration (bore and stroke
dimensions identical) for high-revving performance; double overhead camshafts
and dual Active Valve Control System (DAVCS); fuel injection system combines
direct injection and port injection technologies; very high compression ratio;
high specific engine output: 100 hp/liter
- Choice of 6-speed manual and automatic transmissions; optional automatic has
steering wheel paddle shifters, Sport mode, winter mode and downshift blipping control
- Torsen limited-slip differential
- Double-wishbone rear suspension
- Electric power steering
- 4-wheel vented disc brakes
- Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and traction control system (TCS) with 5 modes, including
Sport mode and TCS Off for track driving
- 17 x 7-in. aluminum alloy wheels with 215/45 R17 summer performance tires
- Aluminum hood
2014 Subaru BRZ - Performance Details:
|Engine||2.0-liter 16-valve Boxer H-4 With Chain-Driven DOHC, Port And Direct Injection With Dual Active VVT||2.0-liter 16-valve Boxer H-4 With Chain-Driven DOHC, Port And Direct Injection With Dual Active VVT|
|Transmission||6-Speed Manual||6-Speed Automatic w/ Paddle Shift|
|Power||200 horsepower||200 horsepower|
|Torque||151 pound-feet||151 pound-feet|
|0-60 mph||6.7 seconds||7.7 seconds|
|Top Speed||143 mph||143 mph, est|
|EPA Fuel Economy (City/Highway/Combined)||22/30/25||25/34/28|
New for 2015
- Revised suspension dampers
- 4-wheel independent suspension
- 17” summer tires with 15-spoke dark gray-finished aluminum-alloy wheels
A 2013 IIHS Top Safety Pick, the Subaru’s boxer again is handy yet again in crash testing, where its low-mounted position is designed as part of the crash frame. The BRZ performs quite well on the JnNCAP as seen below, where it shrugs off this frontal collision with minimal intrusion past the hood area.
Stinky brake fade is still a concern for all fast Subaru’s, but the BRZ does not push its limits in any daily driving. It takes a 5,000-foot drop like Pikes Peak or repeated track use to notice anything like this.
2014 Subaru BRZ - Safety Features:
- Subaru advanced frontal airbag system: Driver’s and front-passenger’s front airbags, Seat-mounted front seat side pelvis / torso airbags (SRS), Side-curtain airbags protecting front and rear outboard occupants (SRS)
- Height- and tilt-adjustable active front-seat head restraints
- Height-adjustable 3-point front seatbelts with pretensioners and force limiters. 3-point seatbelts at all rear seating positions.
- LATCH system: Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children
- Keyless entry system with answer-back electronic chirp
- Keyless Access & start with touch-activated door unlock and push-button engine start functions
- Anti-theft security system, Engine immobilizer
- Vehicle Stability Control
- Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
- 4-channel/4-sensor Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist and Brake Override system
- LED type daytime running lights (DRL)
- Whiplash protection front seats
BRZ prices are up just $100 over last year, but don’t forget to add about $800 for shipping and delivery charges.
2014 Subaru BRZ - Price:
|2014 BRZ Model/Trim||Transmission||MSRP|
2015 Subaru BRZ - Prices
|Model/Trim||Transmission||MSRP||MSRP + destination and delivery|
For all the comparo’s against front-drive sports models in this price range, or pony cars with base engines: the BRZ’s closest natural and spiritual competition is the MX-5 roadster.
The MX-5 is the most-raced sports car in the world, with these squealing roadsters lining SCCA race tracks every weekend in every state. Seriously. Any jokes about its sleekness are out the door with a bad-ass roll bar, extreme tuning and some racing slicks.
Despite the media blitz of Scion FR-S / Toyota GT86 / Subaru BRZ seeming to have passed, the models are still quite exclusive on most roads. Global demand from all markets pushed initial production to the limits, but working day and night has let Subaru (the manufacturer of all three), catch up.
The BRZ is still far more unique than the Scion on U.S. roads, and even more so elsewhere versus the Toyota. The production contract stipulates that for every 10 or so Toyota/Scions built, Subaru can build one BRZ.
This rarity means owning a BRZ is much more of a sports and social club opportunity with the dozens of passionate Subaru fan and track day groups across the country. The aftermarket options are just a thousand times larger than without the Toyota connection - and all the goodies fit all three near-identical cars.
Buying a BRZ is a like a long-term tuner road map. Start stock, enjoy it, break it in, then maybe some stage one goodies. Next thing you know, you’re racing Toyota Supra’s in the L.A. viaduct flood system as blue flames ignite out the back of this once-original performance bargain.
In this regard, the Subaru BRZ is the ultimate sports car ’gateway drug.’ Addictive, safe and fun: may the BRZ’s tail-out high never fade for sports car fanatics.