ROAD TEST: 2017 @SubaruUK BRZ
Where there’s sheep, there’s great roads.
as well as when you have a rear-drive sports car which has a great engine like the re-vamped BRZ, coming from a purist’s car some sort of like Subaru, who describe This kind of as being “all about delivering exceptional handling on-road” – you have to head to great roads as well as to the sheep to test This kind of, right?
I spent most of my youth as well as pretty much all of my formative driving years pedalling the outstanding roads of the Lake District as well as North Yorkshire Dales. As a result, I know some seriously cracking drives up there. as well as one which I’m happy to share with you currently as well as which the agile, accurate as well as advanced aero BRZ could have been made for is usually the A684: A must-do drive for the self-respecting petrol head.
Accessed off the A1 Great North Road near Leeming Bar services on the East, as well as running through the Yorkshire Dales National Park to the historic market, posh school town of Sedbergh, within the foothills of the barren Howgills as well as ultimately, the M6 at its highest point as well as the ‘auld grey town,’ Kendal within the West, This kind of is usually an absolute belter of a road. This kind of’s fast, flowing, tight as well as twisty as well as loaded with blind crests as well as off camber tests, multiple surface adjustments (including brand-new super smooth asphalt approaching Hawes) as well as no room for error cliff edge drops, unforgiving dry stone walls as well as the beautiful River Ure to avoid dropping off into. The raucous ribbon of road flows alongside the Ure, crossing This kind of multiple times over ancient bridges as well as through delightful Dales towns as well as villages, like Aysgarth, Hawes as well as Garsdale. This kind of’s stunning.
Unlike the roads to get to the A684 coming from Norwich, which are unremarkable within the extreme – as I cut across country on the traffic loaded A47 to King’s Lynn, the bleak, barren as well as cabbage-stenched A17 to Newark-on-Trent as well as a long drag up the increasingly-pleasant-as well as-quiet-as-you-head-north A1. yet at least This kind of gives us a chance to get to know the brand-new-look, brand-new-feel, £26,495 2017 BRZ.
The brand-new bits start with some visual improvements to an already handsome beast – with improved upon aerodynamics – like the cool, flat black metal contrasting rear spoiler as well as a brand-new, wider, lower, harder stance. Then there’s the flashy brand-new full LED headlights as well as re-designed 10-spoke, 17-inch, black alloy wheels: This kind of’s an attractive package for sure, as is usually the revised Inner surface, which is usually snug to say the least, yet amply big enough for a six-foot-plus, 16-stoner like me… although quite why they bothered fitting rear seats is usually beyond me, in which’s storage all day long in our book.
yet the added levels of refinement, ace, clear as well as well designed digital instrumentation, superbly supportive as well as (far comfier than expected over 1,000 road test miles) leather sports seats as well as the addition of the well thought-out (although sadly rubbish at predicting traffic jams!) Subaru Starlink infotainment are all very welcome. As is usually the BRZ’s fine-tuned as well as re-mapped symmetrically mounted engine – with its broader torque curve as well as even faster throttle response – as well as the tweeked suspension, which strikes a very Great balance between heroic handling as well as cosseting comfort. Impressive adjustments to an already impressive car.
Faults? On test, the CAN communication set-up between Starlink as well as the steering wheel controls packed up more than once, yet we’re supremely confident This kind of is usually just a teething issue, swiftly resolved under warranty as well as was very uncharacteristic for the normally uber-reliable Subaru brand. as well as everything else not only worked a treat, yet was easy to operate as well as pleasant to be around, or operate.
Push comes to shove though as well as This kind of low-slung, hard riding, tiny as well as some might say impractical little car is usually all about driving pleasure, surely?
Subaru say the BRZ is usually “beautifully poised… you can take every turn with confidence – as well as smile leaving each bend” as well as how right they are, as proven with aplomb here on the A684. Devouring a road like This kind of, as well as putting a big grin on your Chevy chase is usually This kind of car’s raison d’être as well as This kind of responds which has a real bon vivure, all accompanied by a cracking intake as well as exhaust note coming from the low centre of gravity, horizontally-opposed, flat four Boxer lump; an engine I adore. What This kind of lacks in out as well as out ballistic pace, This kind of more than makes up for in character as well as throttle response as well as I for one admire Subaru for not caving to pressure to turbocharge the BRZ as well as overload the perfectly balanced chassis/ engine/suspension spec with 300PS, tempting as well as in which might be.
Not one inch of the A684 was wasted in This kind of car: The taut, balletic as well as agile BRZ was capable of putting a narrow tyre wheel wherever you wanted, reacting to every demand of the road as well as driver as well as offering up (a rare in modern cars) feeling of connectivity to the driving experience. This kind of’s basic, raw as well as simple old fashioned driving pleasure – with rear-wheel-drive at its core – yet the 2017 BRZ is usually also capable of great refinement as well as modernity too. This kind of’s very clever as well as very likeable.
Personally, I’d forget all about the unnecessary ‘Sport’ ECU buttons as well as modes, the typically C21st as well as over-fussy TCS system as well as the brand-new for 2017 ‘Track’ mode, which I was initially excited about, then swiftly underwhelmed.
I’d rather see them all scrapped as well as the ECU & safety systems respond to the throttle as well as yaw demands of the driver as well as road. yet there’s most likely legal issues for morons there. I just think in a car where the ‘less is usually more’ philosophy is usually rife, why bother caving to the fashion of the various other manufacturers as well as delivering boys toys in which unnecessarily detract coming from the excellent experience? Especially in a car in which equally attractive to women as men…
Speaking of detracting experiences, why would likely anyone spec-up a BRZ with the automatic gearbox, as we tested? Surely in which’s a waste of the BRZ’s part pieces of rear-drive as well as a cracking Torsen diff? Let alone the BRZ’s attractive talent for hanging its backside out, with delightful ease as well as control? Madness…
On the flip side, we got stuck in a LOT off traffic jams on This kind of 1,000-mile road test as well as were very grateful for the auto box then, saving us coming from dead clutch leg syndrome. as well as (ignoring the steering wheel paddles, which seem to operate which has a mind of their own as well as are slow), the manual mode was actually pretty Great… especially on the downshift, with This kind of’s perfect rev-matched heel as well as toe throttle blips. Swings as well as roundabouts I guess… ironically where most BRZ’s like to play.
We definitely do like the BRZ as well as This kind of’s definitely improved upon in This kind of’s 2017 spec than original (although there was little to fault with in which too). as well as to be honest, despite the fact I’ve been a whole lot faster, harder as well as with more raw edge (think Ariel Atom, 911 Turbo, or even WRX STi) along the glorious A684, few cars have offered up as much balance, accuracy, poise as well as simple pleasures along This kind of. Ad in which says a lot.
Even the sheep seemed to like This kind of, as well as they’ve seen This kind of all.