They say that your life experiences often help color in the picture when you don’t have all the details. For example, if your friend told you they “got a Subaru,” what’s the first thing that would come to mind? For many drivers, it would be something with ample ground clearance, standard all-wheel drive, and a weird kind of engine called a “Boxer.” That’s probably because the Subaru Crosstrek, Outback, and Forester are some of the most popular crossovers on the road today. But for other drivers, the name “Subaru” conjures up memories and experiences that are too fast and too furious for the off-road life. It is for these drivers that the 2023 Subaru BRZ has been created.
The 2023 Subaru BRZ, much like the Toyota GR86, is a collaboration between the two manufacturers. As a result, it is nothing like some of its more ubiquitous stablemates. Notably, the BRZ is a front engine, rear-wheel drive sports car. It’s also quite small, weighing in at just 2,881 lbs. The BRZ certainly still rates as an adventure vehicle, but not in the “towing a boat and sleeping in the hatchback” sort of way. Instead, the BRZ is all about the “wheee!” and the “yeeehaw!” aspects of driving.
A yeehaw? In my Suby? It’s more likely than you might imagine.
Artful Performance: The 2023 Subaru BRZ
Serious sports car fanatics might raise their eyebrows at the 2023 BRZ’s performance specs. And, to be abundantly clear, it is not trying for Super Car status. The BRZ is here to make your driving life a lot more fun, especially if you’re the type that appreciates a good cruise in the fast lane.
Under the hood is a 2.4-L Subaru Boxer engine, the famously different engine that has propelled Subarus for years. The side-to-side movement of the Boxer’s pistons reduces overall engine vibration, which in turn allows for an even rev from 0 to its 7,500 rpm redline. Capable of 228 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, it’s got the right amount of pep in the right places to be a fun commute to work—and an absolute thrill on the track.
As if to prove its point about being a performance vehicle, the 2023 BRZ includes a standard precision-shifting, 6-speed manual transmission. A 6-speed automatic transmission with adaptive control for downshift rev-matching and paddle-shifters is also available.
But any experienced driver knows there’s more to performance than a Boxer and a deft transmission. That’s why Subaru has provided the BRZ with some extraordinary features. Take, for example, a quick 13:5:1 steering ratio and a low center of gravity. Throw in a TORSEN limited-slip differential and a programmable Track Mode tachometer in the cockpit, and it’s clear that the 2023 BRZ was meant to do a whole lot more than get groceries and pick up the dog from the groomer.
Taking a Seat Behind the Wheel
At the time of publication, the 2023 Subaru BRZ could only be experienced through Subaru’s press material, so sadly, this will not be a first-hand account of what it’s like to drive the BRZ. Instead, let’s take a look at what we know right now so the thrill of anticipation can build while we await the official release date.
The first known fact about the 2023 Subaru BRZ is that it will be offered in two trims: Premium and Limited. Somewhat counter-intuitively, the Premium has the lower starting MSRP, making the Limited the more luxurious trim.
However, the list of standard equipment across the board is quite impressive. Keyless access with push-button start gets things off on the right note. Impressively for a coupe of its size, dual-zone automatic climate control is standard, as well. The Subaru Starlink cloud-based multimedia system is operated via an 8” touchscreen, allowing drivers to access Bluetooth streaming audio and hands-free phone operation, including connectivity with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A 7” LCD configurable gauge cluster includes Normal and Track modes, along with Sport mode for those who select the automatic transmission. This display allows drivers to track everything from coolant temperature to G-force, depending on the mode selected.
The interior color scheme is black and red, with the Premium trim getting a cloth version while the Limited trim is dressed in Ultrasuede. The BRZ’s front seats are designed with performance in mind, securing the driver in place—even when the driving gets a little spicy.
Extra Points for Style: The 2023 Subaru BRZ
Looking at the 2023 BRZ, you might have a hard time convincing yourself that you’re really looking at a Subaru. The aggressive, low-and-wide stance of the vehicle, which keeps drivers glued to the road through turns and acceleration, is a completely different expression than the genial crossovers—or even the comparatively sedate Legacy. Ample air vents and aerodynamic angles give the BRZ an almost snarly, daring visage.
The Premium trim comes with 17” aluminum wheels, while the Limited increases that to an 18” version. Both come with summer performance tires, though the Limited includes a round of tires from Michelin. Interestingly enough, the BRZ is equipped to read tire pressure from two sets of tires, ostensibly your track tires and your regular road tires. However, this can come in handy if you live in an area where summer tires aren’t practical year-round.
Another very cool feature on the exterior of the BRZ Limited is a set of LED steering responsive headlamps. These lights respond to the angle and your direction of travel, lighting up the road through the turn, instead of pointing directly forward at all times. Though this technology has been around for quite a few years, it is only available on certain Subaru models, making it a special treat when they do make an appearance.
Reclaim Your Love of Driving in the 2023 Subaru BRZ
The 2023 Subaru BRZ is not the right car for every driver. Though it technically has two rear seats, it’s not going to be ideal for carpooling. It’s probably unwise to drive it through the backcountry, and it definitely can’t pull a trailer.
However, if you’re the type of driver who loves the way a few spontaneous Gs feel first thing in the morning, you’re on the right track. If you enjoy cruising on long lonely rides, nimbly navigating unfamiliar twists and turns for the sheer pleasure of it, this is a coupe you need to check out. And, if you’re looking at your sedan with a slight frown of disappointment, wondering if you grew up to be boring, you might need a little vitamin BRZ in your driving diet.
The entire concept behind the 2023 Subaru BRZ is to make driving enjoyable again, to make you stop worrying about gas prices and people who drive 20 miles under the speed limit, to leave behind the traitorous traffic lights that always turn red when you’re late, and to let you sit behind the wheel for pure pleasure.
When you press down on the BRZ’s aluminum sports pedal and feel that Boxer rev, hopefully some of that joy will return. The seat will vibrate, the wheel will thrum with anticipation, and as you throw it into gear, all of that excitement will explode into a burst of energy as you peel out in your very cool, very fun 2023 Subaru BRZ.