SUBARU is world famous for its four wheel drive performance and off-road cars but that image has just changed a bit for they have now introduced a very shapely sports coupe that is driven by just its rear wheels and which provides really exhilerating motoring writes Bryan Longworth.
It is the Subaru BRZ which is powered by the 2.0-litre horizontally opposed 200bhp four cylinder Boxer petrol engine with a six speed manual transmission and auto alternative that is great fun to drive.
There are two models both being powered by the same engine and the difference is specification and automatic or manual tranmsission with my test car being the SE Lux manual costing £26,495.
The BRZ is a two plus two being really a two seater because the two rear seats are rather cramped and it is a squeeze accessing them although I am sure that most people who buy this car will only use it as a two seater.
The 17-inch alloy wheels help to provide the BRZ and its very stylish body with plenty of street appeal and the light weight and low centre of gravity aided by the horizontally opposed power unit all combine to provide a quality sporting driving experience.
From the rear the test car with its personalised SU08ARU number plate large twin exhaust pipes plus spoiler and diffuser looked very potent but I was surprised to see there was no wiper on the large rear window which was also prone to misting up on the inside.
Vital statistics for the BRZ are a top speed of 143mph, a zero to 62mph time of 7.6 seconds with CO2 emissions of 181g/km and a combined fuel consumption of 40.9mpg.
But what I really enjoyed was the rorty sound of the engine when accelerating and way it handled with the steering being so precise and positive coupled with the power and rear wheel drive traction all of which combined to provide such enjoyable driving reminiscent of some of those great sports cars of yesteryear.
The leather clad interior of this BRZ is a tad sombre and while the instruments and switch gear were reasonably user friendly the touch screen radio was not and I found it rather difficult to operate and locate my favourite stations and the controls were difficult to see especially in bright sunlight - there were no radio controls on the steering wheel.
For a sports car the rear load area is quite substantial and easily accessed but there is no spare wheel underneath although a bonus of just having a puncture repair kit is that there is plenty of space in the wheel well for stowing smaller valuable items well away from prying eyes.
When the first BRZ models appeared in the UK the car created such a good impression that there were long dealer waiting lists but the Japanese company has now increased the annual allocation with customers being able to take delivery within a few weeks.
This is good news because I imagine that this sports car is likely to be in big demand for it manages to incorporate all the values of a traditional sports car with rear wheel drive that helps to make this such an enjoyable and satisfying driving experience.
My Verdict: A super Scooby sports car.
Model: Subaru BRZ SE Lux.
Engine: 2.0-litre four cylinder Boxer petrol.
Transmission: Six speed manual.
Top speed: 143mph.
Acceleration: 0 to 62mph 7.6 seconds.
Fuel consumption: 40.9mpg combined.
CO2 emissions: 181g/km.