The rear-wheel-drive BRZ marries a low centre of gravity and light weight with Subaru's naturally aspirated 200-hp boxer engine, which lets it achieve an estimated 5.9 L/100 km highway fuel economy with the six-speed automatic transmission. Its 2 + 2 configuration makes it ever so slightly more practical than many a sports car, too.
The BRZ boasts one of the lowest centres of gravity of any production car at 460 mm; its horizontally opposed engine is naturally short with its mass concentrated low in the package, which gives most Subaru models low centres of gravity. Thanks to the RWD configuration of the BRZ, the engine can be lower and further back than in other models; engineers moved the engine closer to the centre of the chassis, making the BRZ a compact 4,235 mm long on a 2,570 mm wheelbase. The car's balance was further enhanced by tilting the radiator forward 17 degrees and moving the battery to the back of the engine compartment.
The BRZ's 2.0-litre engine delivers 200 hp at 7,000 rpm and 151 lb.-ft. peak torque at 6,400 to 6,600 rpm. Buyers can choose between a six-speed manual and a six-speed automatic transmission in the BRZ and BRZ Sport-Tech; only the manual transmission is available in the Aozora. The optional automatic offers driver-selectable Sport mode via a centre console switch and an M mode that allows manual shifting via a shifter handle or steering wheel paddles.
The BRZ is built on its own platform and shares few parts with other Subaru models, with the WRX STI rear suspension architecture of the WRX STI a notable exception.
Standard amenities include HID headlights; in-dash, voice-activated GPS navigation system with 6.1-inch LCD touchscreen; XM satellite radio; AM/FM stereo with single-disc in-dash CD player; MP3/WMA capability; USB port; 3.5-mm aux audio input jack; Bluetooth mobile phone connectivity and audio streaming.
All 2015 BRZs get shark fin antennae, interior panel gunmetal carbon fibre trim and newly styled exhaust tips.
The Sport-Tech package adds front fog lights and body-colour trunk spoiler, with Alcantara inserts and leather bolsters for the seats; it substitutes a dual-zone automatic climate control system for the base manual HVAC and adds heat to the front seats, as well as keyless access and start. The all-new Sport-Tech Aozora Edition in Crystal White Pearl or World Rally Blue gets STI front, side and rear lip under-spoiler kit, 17-inch black alloy STI wheels and red brake calipers; inside, a red STI engine-start button lights up to greet the driver. Black and blue Alcantara leather seats match the blue accent stitching on the steering wheel, arm rest, inner door trim, centre console side panel knee pad, shift boot and parking brake lever. A body undercover improves drag coefficient further.
The 2015 Subaru BRZ starts at $27,395; the Sport-Tech Aozora edition starts at $31,395 and includes all the features of the Sport-Tech with additional STI components.