If we were young and single again, just starting our professional careers in Silicon Valley, we would be driving the 2017 Subaru BRZ.
And as soon as we got it, we would enroll in a good track-driving program like hookedondriving.com to learn how to drive a high-performance car properly. The nice thing is that we could still drive it on an everyday basis, with solid coupe comfort, space for shopping bags or dry cleaning in the trunk and even the ability to squeeze in three other friends on a quick trip out to lunch.
What we drove: Subaru updated the BRZ for 2017, and we loved the first version. Horsepower from the 2-liter opposed four-cylinder engine is slightly increased to 205 with 156 pound-feet of torque, more than enough to handle the lightweight coupe. The transmission is a satisfying, quick-shifting six-speed manual with modified ratios to improve acceleration.
The model we tested was equipped with the performance package, including Brembo brakes, performance suspension and 17-inch alloy wheels, which we think should be mandatory. Add red track tow-loops in the front and rear towing sockets just to let the in-crowd know this BRZ is a track car. Despite the performance capability, the car can still deliver 29 mpg highway and 21 mpg city, for combined fuel efficiency of 24 mpg.
Styling is attractive and superior to any other car in this performance class. Interior fit-and-finish is exceptional, and the electronic interface is nicely intuitive. The best part is that the entire package is priced at less than $30,000.
What we liked: The experience of accelerating up through the gears is nothing short of breathtaking. But be careful, because the exhaust sound is attention-grabbing, and it would be all too easy to attract the attention of one of the local blue-and-whites.
What we disliked: The car’s light weight is achieved at the cost of insulation against sound and vibration. The performance-tuned exhaust tone and firm suspension may be intrusive for someone who doesn’t revel in the fun-car aura of this thrill-machine.
Bottom line: For under $30,000, this is exactly the right car to learn how to drive properly while you’re working your way up to that Porsche Cayman, Mercedes-AMG or BMW M3 that you’re admiring in the executive parking lot.