2015 Subaru BRZ Series Blue Test Drive

?2015 Subaru BRZ Series.Blue Sport Coupe?
A racy, limited edition, affordable 2+2 Sport Coupe

For the 2013 model year, two Japanese auto manufacturers joined forces to develop a formidable, but affordable sport coupe bowed with two very similar and desirable 2+2 sport coupes. Two different marques are represented ? the Scion FR-S (a division of the Toyota family); and the Subaru BRZ. The two cars are nearly identical in terms of overall design and mechanical composition, differing only in the front and rear fascia execution, headlamp styling and of course their badging. Both cars are rear wheel drive, which is a highly abnormal format for Subaru, since every other vehicle that they produce is Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive.

Power for the Subaru BRZ is generated by a 2.0-liter DOHC, 16-valve, flat horizontally-opposed Subaru ?boxer? four-cylinder with D4-S (featuring combined Direct and Sequential Port Fuel Injection) that cranks out 200 horses at 7,000 rpm, while developing 151 pound feet of torque at 6,400 rpm. The engine requires premium fuel, and directs its energy to the rear wheels through either a six-speed manual gearbox, or a 6-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission with Sport and winter modes, paddle shifters and Downshift Rev blipping.

The Subaru BRZ?s construction utilizes a large proportion of high-tensile steel, with aluminum for the hood, and tips the scale at a mere 2,762 pounds. Contributing to its agility and crisp handling, the Subaru BRZ has one of the lowest centers of gravity of any production car at only 18.1 inches. The Subaru BOXER engine design, with its low height and its mass positioned low in the chassis, contributes to this low center of gravity, taking maximum advantage of this characteristic.

The rear-wheel drive configuration allows placement of the engine lower and farther back in the BRZ than in any other Subaru model in order to attain the best possible center of gravity and polar moment of inertia. Moving the engine closer to the center of the chassis helped make the BRZ quite compact, at just 166.7 inches long on a 101.2-inch wheelbase.

The 2015 Subaru BRZ will continue to be offered in two levels of trim: Premium and Limited. Both models include all of the BRZ?s performance features, such as the sport-tuned suspension with front strut brace and TORSEN limited-slip differential. A special Series.Blue Edition is based on the Limited trim.

The BRZ Premium model?s list of standard fare including: a comprehensive infotainment configuration anchored by a touch-screen navigation system that comes with: a 6.1-inch LCD screen; AM/FM stereo with HD radio; voice activated controls; map upgrades via SD card; a single-disc in-dash CD player; a 196-watt amplifier; 8 speakers; MP3/WMA capability; Bluetooth hands-free phone and Bluetooth audio streaming connectivity; iPod? control capability; iTunes? tagging capability; a USB port; XM? Satellite Radio and XM NavTraffic (subscriptions required); SMS text messaging capability; and a 3.5mm auxiliary audio input jack.

Externally, the BRZ is distinguished in front with fog lights and in the rear by a body-color trunk spoiler. In terms of its stunning and stealthy exterior visual appeal, the BRZ reflects its inner power with a low, sleek roofline that directs airflow cleanly and efficiently over the gracefully curved cabin. The stance is low and the face delivers a menacing competitive look with its sharp expressive lines and forms, such as the wide lower intake and angular headlight assembly that houses projector-beam headlamps. Front fenders protrude aggressively upward, while moving to the rear, the fascia sits low and wide, with a diffuser panel that encases the sporty dual exhaust system. LEDs showcase the edgy taillamps along with center-mounted backup lights.

Inside, drivers are treated to a 3-spoke, telescoping, leather wrapped steering wheel, accented with red stitching. A multi function display provides current and average fuel economy, there are carpeted floor mats, and each door panel integrates a cup/bottle holder, with the center console offering two additional cup holders. There are also two 12v power points, one in the glove box and another in the center console.

The 2015 Subaru BRZ provides 2+2 seating (rear seat occupants need to be on the diminutive side) with deeply bolstered, supportive and comfortable seats up front, with a rear seatback that folds flat for added versatility and functionality. A large, center-mounted tachometer is the focal point of the three gauge main cluster that also features a programmable shift indicator, allowing the driver to set rev limits in 100 -rpm limits beginning at 2,000 rpm. Speed is measured by both digital and analog gauges.

A soft skin dash cover delivers a flat horizon design with a raised centerline rib, which in combination with the pronounced front fender bulges aid in keeping the driver intuitively oriented with the car?s position.

BRZ is equipped with a host of standard safety features including: six airbags, Traction Control, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Vehicle Stability control, Brake Assist, ABS and Smart Stop Technology.

Despite its powerful 100-horsepower per liter engine, the BRZ yields an estimated EPA rating of 34 mpg on the highway with the automatic transmission or 30 mpg with the manual gearbox. Weight is kept to a minimum by the implementation of an aluminum hood, a solid roof and by a trunk rather than a hatch design. The low weight is complemented by dynamically tuned suspension componentry consisting of MacPherson struts forward and a double wishbone setup aft. Positive steering feel is provided by Electronic Power Steering and the BRZ rides on lightweight 17×7-inch alloy wheels. Ventilated disc brakes are standard at all four corners. Experienced performance driving enthusiasts will appreciate the Vehicle Stability Control and Traction Control systems, which may be set in varying configurations.

Pricing for my test 2015 Subaru BRZ which was a limited edition Series.Blue model with the 6-speed manual gearbox, came with a base price of $29,490, which rose to $30,285 after adding for the Series.Blue edition package and Destination and Delivery charge. It sported a Crystal White Pearl exterior and a Black interior with Blue trim and stitching as well as a simulated carbon fiber dash panel. The BRZ, provides a heightened content than the Scion FR-S.

SUMMARY: Production of the 2015 Subaru BRZ Series.Blue edition will be limited to 1,000 cars for the continental United States. An exclusive combination of STI?-branded functional aerodynamic body design, black-painted STI-branded 17-inch wheels and unique interior trim showcases an aggressive look for the BRZ Series.Blue.. Subaru will offer 500 painted WR Blue Pearl and 500 in Crystal White Pearl exclusively with a 6-speed manual transmission.
The BRZ Series.Blue boosts the car?s aerodynamic performance with black STI-branded front, side, and side-rear under spoilers, that provide additional front downforce, and unseen underbody panels that reduce the coefficient of drag (Cd) from 0.28 to 0.27.

The Series.Blue also features bold appearance upgrades that bolster its performance image. Emphasizing the BRZ?s pure sports car nature, red-finish brake calipers can be seen behind the spokes of the STI- branded black alloy wheels. The BRZ Series.Blue builds on the BRZ Limited model and features exclusive trim and special details throughout. Its leather and Alcantara upholstery includes blue leather seat bolsters and head restraints.

Blue stitching accents the seats and the blue and black leather-wrapped steering wheel, as well as the shift lever boot and leather-wrapped parking brake handle. The blue motif carries to the center console kneepads and door trim, accented by an embroidered silver BRZ logo on the front seatbacks. Carpeted floor mats pick up the BRZ logo and blue stitching, as well. Taking the base price of the 2015 Subaru BRZ sports coupe into consideration along with its performance credentials, it?s a given that the upgraded BRZ Series.Blue is destined to become the most popular model in Subaru?s stable, serving up a most attractive and appealing design, with harmonious and well-balanced lines and contours. while evoking a bold and athletic image even when it?s parked.
Acceleration is impressive, as are the precise handling characteristics. The ride quality is comfortable, but not benign. To put BRZ through its paces, I piloted it over one of my favorite California backcountry roads, where it performed flawlessly.

In the overall scheme of things, despite minimal changes from last year?s model, the Subaru BRZ Premium 2+2 sport coupe delivers fun in large, heaping doses under normal driving conditions, as I?m sure it would on a racecourse. Let?s face it, the BRZ?s bang for the buck is hard to top, making it a no-brainer in its market segment. The Series.Blue is even more desirable.

Think of the limited edition BRZ Series.Blue as being on the order of an STI-Lite, with bolder exterior styling cues, definitely qualifying it as ?eye candy? but alas, with no added performance attributes. All BRZ trims for 2015 will feature a revised softer suspension setup, oversized stainless exhaust tips, and a new shark fin-type antenna.
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?[wptabtitle] SPECIFICATIONS: 2015 Subaru BRZ Series.Blue 2+2 Sport Coupe [/wptabtitle]
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Base Price: $29,490.
Price as Tested: $30,285.
Engine Type and Size: 2.0-liter DOHC, 16-valve naturally aspirated four-cylinder flat horizontally-opposed Subaru “Boxer”? engine with dual Active Valve Control System and combined direct and port fuel injection with multi-spray injectors and Electronic Throttle Control system.
Horsepower (bhp): 200 @ 7,000 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 151 @ 6,400 rpm
Transmission: Six-speed manual or 6-speed automatic with paddle shifters, Sport and winter modes and downshift blipping control.
Drive Train: Flat -opposed boxer mid-mount front engine / Rear-wheel drive.
Suspension: Front – Independent MacPherson-type struts with lower L- arm, inboard-mounted shocks and coil springs and 18 mm stabilizer bar.
Rear -Double-Wishbone type with coil springs 14 mm stabilizer bar and anti-lift geometry.

Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel vented discs, dual-piston calipers front/single-piston calipers rear with ABS, EBD, BA, TRAC and VSC.
Tires: Michelin Primacy HP 215/45 R17 mounted on 15-gloss black painted spoke alloy wheels.
Wheelbase: 101.2 inches
Length Overall: 166.7 inches
Width: 69.9 inches
Height: 50.6 inches
Curb Weight: 2,762 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 13.2 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 22 mpg city / 30 mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: 0.27
0 – 60 mph: 6.2 seconds – estimated.

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Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles as well.

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