Subaru adds blue paint, making us red with lust

The Subaru BRZ and its corporate cousins, the Toyota 86 and Scion FR-S, have been around since 2013. Relatively little changes have taken place since then, excluding 2016 being Scion’s last year in existence. However, Subaru has spiced things up with the Series.HyperBlue edition. It’s a play off the Series.Blue edition Subaru offered for 2015, but adds this can’t-miss-it HyperBlue color, black wheels, black badging, and black mirror caps. Beyond the color, a handful of blue accents in the cabin, and its super limited 500-unit production run, this BRZ retains all parts found in the standard car.

Nevertheless, the BRZ Series.HyperBlue is worth looking at. I had the chance to do that a while back when Subaru delivered one to my driveway for a week. It came packing the excellent six-speed manual transmission mated to the standard 2.0-liter flat-four cylinder and rear-wheel drive.

It didn’t take long to find a couple updates Subaru gave the entire BRZ line for 2016, namely the updated 6.2-inch Starlink infotainment system. No longer does it look like an aftermarket head unit, but rather a more integrated and better-conceived design. A frameless rearview mirror also adds a touch of class.

So what’s it like to live with the 2016 Subaru BRZ Series.HyperBlue? Keep reading to find out.

Continue reading for the full driven review.

  • 2016 Subaru BRZ Series.HyperBlue – Driven
  • Year:
    2016
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    flat-4
  • Transmission:
    six-speed manual
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    200 @ 7000
  • MPG(Cty):
    22
  • MPG(Hwy):
    30
  • Torque @ RPM:
    151 @ 6400
  • Energy:
    Port & Direct Injection
  • Displacement:
    2.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    6.3 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    139 mph
  • Layout:
    Front Engine; Rear Drive
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • size:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:
  • Overall:
    8.2/10

Exterior

2016 Subaru BRZ Series.HyperBlue – Driven High Resolution Exterior
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2016 Subaru BRZ Series.HyperBlue – Driven High Resolution Exterior
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2016 Subaru BRZ Series.HyperBlue – Driven High Resolution Exterior
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The Subaru BRZ is a handsome coupe. It has been since its introduction for the 2013 model year. Its long, sloping front hood and aggressive front fascia match up well with the rearward sloping roofline and wide rear haunches. The curvy shapes are complemented by sharp creases and lines, namely around the wheel wells, the accents on the hood, and the angular rear end.

The Series.HyperBlue package brings several changes to the BRZ’s exterior, most notably, of course, is the color.

The tall greenhouse over the front seats allows for great outward visibility through the large windows. Rear visibility isn’t terrible, but using the backup camera takes the stress out of reversing. The tall roof combined with the low-slung seats means there’s plenty of room for helmeted drivers, at least those under six feet.

The Series.HyperBlue package brings several changes to the BRZ’s exterior, most notably, of course, is the color. Man, this color. It pops against any background making the car stand out in a crowd. It’s perhaps my favorite color in the industry for 2016. Other add-ons include the blacked-out 17-inch wheels, glossy black badging on the trunk, and the black caps on the side mirrors. The package pulls this same HyperBlue color to the inside through several thoughtful details. Let’s have a look.

Interior

2016 Subaru BRZ Series.HyperBlue – Driven High Resolution Interior
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2016 Subaru BRZ Series.HyperBlue – Driven High Resolution Interior
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2016 Subaru BRZ Series.HyperBlue – Driven High Resolution Interior
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Open the long doors of this 2+2 coupe and you’ll find a dark cabin beautifully accented by HyperBlue in all the right places. The stitching on seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and leather boots surrounding the gear shifter and parking brake are all HyperBlue. It continues on the center console knee pads and door panels. It’s even found in the rear seat stitching. Finally, there’s the HyperBlue BRZ logo stitched into the front seatbacks. Also included is a frameless rearview mirror and faux carbon fiber accents on the dashboard.

The Series.HyperBlue is based off the upper-level Limited trim, so there’s more upscale features than the base Premium trim level. These include the Alcantara and leather-trimmed seats, keyless access with push-button starting, dual-zone temperature controls, and fog lights.

The Series.HyperBlue is based off the upper-level Limited trim, so there’s more upscale features than the base Premium trim level

Aside from the special edition changes, Subaru brought some much-needed updates to the infotainment system. Gone is the Pioneer head unit that looked like a warmed over afterthought. In its place is a much better integrated 6.2-inch touchscreen unit that offers more functions with less visual clutter. It offers AM/FM/HD/CD, SiriusXM, Bluetooth phone connectivity and audio streaming, iPod control, iTunes Tagging, Aha, Pandora, iHeart Radio, Stitcher, and a handful of other apps. There’s also an AUX input and USB port for streaming music and charging devices. A backup camera is also standard for 2016.

Holistically, the BRZ’s cabin provides a wonderful environment for the driver to, well, drive. It’s a very focused place that seems to encourage concentration on the road. The bolstered seats worked well at keeping me in place through corners, while not making it too difficult to enter and exit the car. The BRZ is low, so driving grandma around town is probably best done in her Lincoln.

Drivetrain

2016 Subaru BRZ Series.HyperBlue – Driven High Resolution Drivetrain
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The 2016 BRZ is powered by the familiar 2.0-liter flat four-cylinder. It features an aluminum block and heads, helping keep weight to a minimum. Its Boxer design helps keep the center of gravity extremely low, too, making the BRZ one of the best handling coupes on the market. Port and direct injection feed the engine 91-octane gasoline.

Its Boxer design helps keep the center of gravity extremely low, too, making the BRZ one of the best handling coupes on the market.

The result is 200 horsepower at 7,000 rpm and 151 pound-feet of torque at 6,400 rpm. That might not sound like much in today’s supercharged and twin-turbo world, but it’s plenty of pep for moving this 2,800-pound car. Still, momentum is your friend. That’s part of what makes the BRZ such a perfect canyon carver.

While a six-speed automatic is option, save yourself the $1,100 and go with the six-speed manual gearbox. It’s one of the sweetest manual’s in the industry and offers clean, crisp shifts with a clutch that’s deliberate and lightly weighted with a short throw. Nailing downshifts is so easy. Heck, nailing any shift is easy.

The sprint to 60 mph takes 6.3 seconds on its way to a drag-limited top speed of 139 mph. Again, this is a canyon carver, not a straight-line rocket. Fuel economy is impressive though, with the EPA rating the manual BRZ at 22 mpg city, 30 mpg highway, and 25 mpg combined. I routinely found myself getting more than 30 mpg. Fuel costs are a factor, though, thanks to required premium fuel.

Driving Impressions

2016 Subaru BRZ Series.HyperBlue – Driven High Resolution Exterior
- image 684793

The BRZ has always been a smooth handling car. But since its launch, Subaru has tweaked minor suspension settings to enhance the experience. The small changes shine though the BRZ’s neutral balance and tactile steering. The Boxer engine’s contribution of a low center of gravity is best appreciated when loaded in a hairpin turn. The car just tucks and turns. There’s little if any body roll as the skinny 215-series tires scream in protest.

This makes it more fun to daily drive than say a Corvette or GT-R

It’s those skinny tires that make the BRZ a hoot to drive. It goes back to the old saying, “It’s more fun to drive a slow car quickly than a fast car slowly.” Not to say the BRZ is slow, but the car’s limits can be found on public roads. This makes it more fun to daily drive than say a Corvette or GT-R. A trip to the grocery store is an event.

As I said before, the shifter is one of the smoothing and most rewarding I’ve sampled. It provides plenty of positive engagement and throws are fairly short. Likewise, the clutch is incredibly easy to learn. Its pickup is predictable and linear, while its tension is light. This makes rush hour traffic a lot more tolerable.

There is one complaint though: the speedometer. It’s incredibly small and forces the driver to rely on the digital speed readout inside the center tachometer. If that’s what Subaru intends, why not ditch the analog speedo and include gauges for stuff like oil temp and pressure. Better yet, why not make that side of the cluster digital, wherein all the ancillary information can been scrolled through. Sure it would add some cost, but surly not an exorbitant amount. Anyway…

Price

2016 Subaru BRZ Series.HyperBlue – Driven High Resolution Exterior
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The base level BRZ, oddly named the Premium, can be had for only $25,395. That’s a steal since the only thing it’s missing are a couple convince features. Opt for the Limited trim, and the price bumps to $27,395. For that, you get all the stuff not found on the Premium. This includes the Alcantara and leather seats, keyless access with push-button start, dual-zone climate control, and fog lights. The Limited trim also allows for the optional automatic transmission, a $1,100 option.

My tester, with its Series.HyperBlue package included, cost $28,485. That includes the $795 destination fee.

Competition

Mazda MX-5 Miata

2016 Mazda MX-5 High Resolution Exterior
- image 614474

The Miata is perhaps the most well-known sports car of modern times. It’s an obtainable, fun drop-top that allows for cheap thrills and thrifty fuel bills. In fact, the Miata is the most raced car in existence, thanks to clubs and rallies held all over the world.

The current Miata was introduced for the 2016 model year and offers a lightweight chassis with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder making 155 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque. It uses a six-speed manual gearbox and sends power to the rear wheels, just like the BRZ.

Pricing for the Miata starts at a competitive $25,735.

Read more about the Mazda MX-5 Miata here.

Chevrolet Camaro

2016 - 2017 Chevrolet Camaro High Resolution Exterior
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The Camaro might not be a lightweight sports car in the truest sense, but it does check the same boxes as the BRZ. It’s a front engine, rear-drive, 2+2 coupe with a four-cylinder and manual transmission.

Configured in its least expensive form, the 2016 Camaro 1LT comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder mated to a six-speed manual transmission. It’s the hodrod of the bunch, too, with 275 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. The Camaro also offers far more customization options than the BRZ, but price soon becomes a concern.

Without any option boxes checked, the Camaro comes to $26,695.

Read more about the Chevrolet Camaro here.

Conclusion

2016 Subaru BRZ Series.HyperBlue – Driven High Resolution Exterior
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The Subaru BRZ is a fantastic 2+2 coupe that enthusiasts should love. Sadly, Subaru only sold 5,296 in the 2015 calendar year. The 2013 calendar year was the biggest for the BRZ, with 8,587 examples sold. The Miata isn’t doing much better, with Mazda selling between 5,000 to 8,000 examples annually in the U.S. since 2009*.

Sales aside, the BRZ’s fantastically fun demeanor and chipper attitude make a blast to drive. Its rev-happy Boxer engine, snickety shifter, drift-ready tail, extra seating, and usable trunk solidify this as perhaps the best sports car value on the market today. Subaru should submit the BRZ’s photo to Webster’s Dictionary for use beside the term “young bachelor.” ‘Cause believe me, if I were single and needed a new car, the BRZ would be a strong contender for my buck.

  • Leave it
    • * Little in the way of available option packages
    • * Back seats are tight for taller people

Sales stats according to GoodCarBadCar.net

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