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2013 Subaru BRZ Limited

Unlucky #13 – if there’s any car I would call a mistake, it was this 2013 Subaru BRZ Limited. 

Let me set the scene for you. It was late 2012, and I was set on dumping my 2006 Boxster S due to the 2nd waterpump showing signs of deterioration. In came the desire for a new car/warranty. I had also missed the S2000 – a small, high revving lightweight sports car with 50/50 weight balance. 

This BRZ was Toyota’s (er, Toyobaru’s) re-entry into the sports car market, as they had been absent since the discontinuation of the MR2 Spyder. Toyota had this as the FR-S, while Subaru took the exact same car, put a wing on it, tweaked the suspension dampers, and charged more for it. Journalists were going ga-ga over these competitively-priced, 50/50 weight balanced driver’s cars affectionately known as the Toyobaru GT86 twins. It was a refreshing, good looking design, and I loved that it had a hard coupe roof (wish the S2000 had he same). 

I fell for it. Truth be told, it was a fantastic handler, and with the flat-4 engine configuration, it had a low center of gravity and the handling was awesome. 

What I didn’t like is something I started to notice more and more as I drove this daily. Imagine you’re at the front of the pack at a red light. Long road ahead of you, so you decide to enjoy a little bit of the car. Clutch in, and put it in first as you see the perpendicular light turn yellow. 

Green light – let the clutch out and you give it a good stab of the throttle. You start out with about 40-50% throttle and wring it out to about 5-6k rpms, but you notice it isn’t really accelerating, so you leave it in first and move up to about 80% throttle up to 7k rpms. It’s starting to speed up now, so you shift into 2nd gear and lay on the gas. It seems to have fallen on its face as the RPMs have dropped down enough, so you floor it. Finally you start approaching the higher registers of the 2nd gear rev range. 

And you look to the right and see a beige honda minivan silently sailing past you. Driver is sipping their starbucks and looks to not even be trying. 

Once you make it into 3rd gear, you give up as the minivan has put a carlength on you. 

And the entire time, the BRZ’s cabin was filled with the sound not too far off from a coffee grinder whirring away eating your beans. 

There was something about this car where nothing happened between 2k-5k rpms. It was so noticeable, the forums called this phenomenon the “torque dip” or “torque valley”. 

On top of it all, the car interior was the worst – cheap tupperware materials. 

The nail in the coffin was that I realized for what I paid for this car, I could have had a Vette, Elise or an NSX. Or even an S2000, which I feel is a much better car that gives you everything this car does, but with more power and aggression. Minus the 2 useless back seats of the BRZ/FRS I guess. 

I did have a great drive in this once though – I left work early, and was taking 84 home (we lived in Dublin at this point). Miraculously, there was no traffic. I had both windows down and the engine sounded… better. And i could chuck this thing into the turns with confidence – the tires would scrub perfectly with ample time before you crossed the car’s limits. It was a ton of fun; but a rare experience as the other 90% of the time in traffic you were listening to it struggle to keep up with the camry next to you. Also tiring was the magnetism it had with high school males. I couldn’t make a single drive without some fart-can primered civic trying to race me. 

I think I put up with this car for about 3 months before selling it at a huge loss. Most cars up to this point, I liked but just didn’t like enough to keep – I think this was the only car where I actively disliked it and wanted to get rid of it. And a lot of the dislike was from living with it – something I never discovered in the test drive.