When you’re onto a good thing, the trick is not to change it too much, but still to listen carefully to the fans and make those tweaks that will address their grumbles.
That seems to be the attitude Subaru and Toyota have taken when it comes to the second generation of the carmakers’ compact rear-wheel drive model, the new Subaru BRZ.
The lightweight coupe, at 1315kg, has kept its low centre of gravity, direct steering and sporty good looks, while the makers have responded to fans’ calls for more power by replacing the 2-litre flat four with a naturally aspirated 2.4-litre powerplant good for 170kW, which translates to 23kW and 45Nm more than before. This engine will be the next generation of the Toyota GT86, which is yet to be unveiled.
Add to this the enhanced styling and an updated interior, and you have a mid-level sports car that can hold it’s own at the robot, but won’t necessarily break the bank.
Available in six-speed manual or automatic, the BRZ has a sport mode in the latter for throttle blipping and more rapid downshifts. Depending on the spec grade, the BRZ rolls on 17-inch or 18-inch wheels.
The suspension has been upgraded and the chassis has been rejigged for more rigidity, and the car boasts near-perfect weight distribution. Subaru says the improved centre of gravity is on par with hypercars, as the car is longer and lower.
Inside, accessibility has been given a boost with a new 20.3cm touchscreen infotainment system and digital instruments for the driver, with a cool little party trick that sees the rev counter change to a colour linear graph in Track mode.
The new Subaru BRZ and Toyota GT86 will be built in Subaru’s Gunma facility in Japan, and right now there is no word either will reach South Africa.