Basking in the mid-September sun at the R.C. Harris water filtration plant in Toronto.
If you spend any time at all fighting urban traffic, just a small dose of a car like the Subaru BRZ can remind you that driving used to be fun, and can be fun again.
This is the Sport-tech RS version of the BRZ, which means it’s a bit sportier and techy-er than just the run-of-the-mill BRZ.
Here’s how it’s described by Subaru:
“An all-new trim introduced for the 2018 model year, the Sport-tech RS builds on the fun-to-drive BRZ by adding Brembo performance brakes at all four corners, as well as SACHS performance dampers and 17-inch gunmetal alloy wheels.”
Apart from some interior upgrades like black-on-black leather and Alcantara seats with red stitching and a prominent BRZ logo that rests right between your shoulder blades, the Sport-tech RS is fitted with a six-speed manual transmission — the only transmission available.
The BRZ Sport-tech RS is, of course, equipped with a Boxer
engine — this one’s a 2.0L DOHC 16-valve four-cylinder, capable of producing 205 hp at 7,000 RPM.
There’s also an easy-to-use a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone compatibility, which is all-new and also available on all 2018 BRZs.
That’s pretty much it. And that’s OK because the BRZ is a no-frills car that is meant to be driven, meant to remind you that driving is supposed to be a fun, engaging experience. The bolstered racing-style seats are comfortably snug and remind you how important it is to feel you’re in the car, not on it (as you can so easily feel in an SUV.)
The engine makes a pleasing roar when you start it. It doesn’t take much to get the BRZ up to speed and this is a car that loves corners, remaining fully planted but easy to handle. There’s also plenty of power in the low-end RPM range.
On the downside, the touchscreen can be overly sensitive, but that’s a minor quibble. As much as I love the interior design of the car, I don’t love the exterior. To me it could use some more rounded, muscular fenders and the grille and headlights look like they don’t fit with the rest of the exterior design. Plus, the rear visibility is hampered by the beefy C pillars but that’s partially offset by the rearview camera.
This particular Subaru is not about to compete with anything from Porsche or Ferrari, obviously. But, it is a rare small, no-nonsense sporty car that can make you feel like a real driver again.