SUBARU BRZ 2012 – 2019

2012 Subaru BRZ

Subaru BRZ is a full-on sportscar that’s delightful to drive. It has real RWD handling, excellent throttle control and steering that talks to you. It’s just perfect for early morning Sunday drives on your favourite bits of road.

The Subaru is offered with a six-speed manual or an auto with the same number of forward ratios. The auto is a good one – but simply not in the class of a ?real? gearbox.

The engine features Subaru’s trademark four-cylinder boxer layout and has a capacity of 2.0 litres. It puts out a neat 200 horsepower (147 kW) in its original format.

Engine power is nothing to get excited about and even when revved to the heavens you don’t get a huge amount of hard acceleration. This is fine with us, we enjoy enjoy the skill of getting the best from a car by having it in the right gear from moment to moment.

2015 Subaru BRZ

The BRZ first went on sale downunder in July 2012. Anticipating a huge demand Subaru Australia made the interesting move of selling it only on the internet. It took just over three hours for a complete sellout of the initial shipment.

After that initial burst of sales the BRZ eventually went on sale in dealerships. New car prices were lowered over the years as the ?new-kid-on-the-block? excitement faded and sales dropped to more normal levels.

The front seats are low and may prove awkward for some to get down into. But once you’re in there they?re firm, but comfortable, with good leg and headroom. Though the BRZ has four seats rear legroom is very cramped, indeed it?s non-existent when the front seats are all the way back.

Boot space is reasonable although Subaru Australia opted for a full-size spare wheel, which takes up a huge amount of space. If ever a car needed a space saver wheel it’s the BRZ.

2018 Subaru BRZ

A BRZ S pack by Subaru Tecnica International (STI) was offered from mid 2013. It features lowered suspension; a body kit consisting of a front spoiler, rear diffuser and spoiler, and side skirts. It rides on 17-inch black alloy wheels. Inside there’s a Duracon gear knob on manual boxes. The engine gains a push-button start with the large button done in brilliant red.

Subaru BRZ S pack was only available to new-car buyers, it could not be retrofitted. So it may become a sought-after model in years to come and even go up in price. No promises, though.

Late in 2016 BRZ received minor design tweaks, another six horsepower and revised suspension tuning. Exterior changes includes LED headlights and taillights, a wider and lower bumper design and new-design 17-inch alloy wheels. Inside there?s optional red stitching and BRZ embossing on the front seats, modified instruments and a new steering wheel.

Incidentally, Toyota also makes a version of the Subaru BRZ, called the 86. It’s built in the Subaru factory and has a Subaru engine, albeit with some Toyota fuel injection components and a different tune.

Check for a full service record, ideally from a Subaru dealer.

Has the BRZ been thrashed, either legally at track days or illegally in street racing? A roll-cage is a clue, as are signs of one having been removed.

Extra instruments may be for show, or intended to keep track of constant hard work during races.

Unevenly worn tyres are a giveaway, as are damaged rims. Lowered suspension is easy to spot.

The engine should start easily and idle smoothly. If it doesn’t get a dealer to check it as there were timing and injection problems in some earlier BRZs.

The clutch should take up smoothly, if it doesn’t it might be near the end of its life.

Expect to pay from $8000 to $12,000 for a 2012 Subaru BRZ; $13,000 to $19,000 for a 2014 BRZ; $15,000 to $22,000 for a 2014 BRZ S; $17,000 to $24,000 for a 2015 Premium; $18,000 to $25,000 for a 2018 BRZ; $19,000 to $25,000 for a 2016 SE; $22,000 to $30,000 for a 2018 tS; and $25,000 to $33,000 for a 2019 tS.

If you come across owners of cars like the BRZ perhaps have a chat to them. This is the sort of machine that appeals to enthusiasts and they?re happy to share stories.

RECALLS: To browse recalls on all vehicles go to the ACCC at:

About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
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