August 09, 2021 By Kevin C. Limjoco Photos by Andréas N. Delos Reyes

2021 Subaru BRZ

Retiring on a High

It was great to retest the last remaining distributor-owned (since 2006, Motor Image Pilipinas, Inc.) Subaru BRZ in the country. At the time of this writing, Subaru Philippines has completely sold out every single unit of the BRZ. It is only fitting that our send-off test unit came in its classic Subaru World Rally Blue Pearl color and with a traditional 6-speed manual transmission.

Since the launch of its Toyota 86 sibling that was released before the BRZ in our market back in August 2012, the C! team has driven practically every single variant from all three brands that sold the splendid attainable sports car. That third brand was Scion which was the Toyota sub-brand that was tasked to sell the 86 in the North American market as the FR-S to help carry the brand. Pitifully, even with all its capability and friendly consumer pricing, the FR-S couldn’t help save the Scion brand which went defunct in February 2016.

There was very little to distinguish between all three models aside from subtle brand reengineering aesthetics and some minor equipment nuances. Often sales were made not because of brand loyalty or preference but simple availability. Having said that, I always preferred the Subaru versions. We have extensively explored and enjoyed every single variant of all three siblings despite my own issues with the popular cars. I always felt that even if the three different models were being sold under three different brands, they were 90% identical in design and 95% mechanically identical. My biggest frustration, however, was the lack of thrust throughout the powerband. Sure, it was fun to run each gear past 7,000 rpm, especially on the track, but the anemic torque that peaked at above 6,000 rpm was simply very tiresome when you weren’t driving like your life depended on it. It didn’t help that the standard exhaust systems looked way better than they sounded at any speed.

They were all hugely fun and driver-focused. The handling was always predictable and forgiving. The Subaru BRZ, ironically being the least produced, was the most graceful; the Toyota covered most of its bases with the 86; and the Scion FR-S, which was the most stripped out, was the most financially attainable where you could officially buy it. Subaru may build the cars, but Toyota is the grand master that dictates that the partnership. These special sports cars have definitively made their collective points and are commercial successes, but ultimately, I think they truly appeal mostly to particular enthusiasts. It is either regarded with love or indifference but not hate.

The all-new model coming next year promises to build on the massive success and address all its frustrating compromises with packaging and dynamic performance. The Subaru Boxer Rear-driven Zenith is a genuine automotive success and even if our test unit had an infotainment system sourced from a 1st generation Toyota Innova, it still entertained where it counts most: behind the steering wheel.

Specifications

Engine

Engine Flat-4
Displacement 1998 cc
Cylinder Head dohc 16V
Fuel Injector Direct & Port Fuel Injection, VVT-i
Max Power (bhp @ rpm) 200 bhp @ 7000 rpm
Max Torque (lb/ft @ rpm) 151 lb-ft @ 6400-6600rpm
Transmission 6-Speed MT

Performance

Top Speed 230 km/h (144 mph)
0-100 km/h | 0-62 mph 6.8 sec.

Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions

Fuel Milage (km/l) 22 mpg City / 30 mpg Highway (7.8 L/100 kms. overall)

Ratings

Price as Tested (PHP) PhP 2,158,000.00
What's Great As an attainable proper sports car, it is truly fantastic and very enjoyable, old-world desirability.
What's Not So You will have to wait until approximately 1st quarter 2022 for the all-new 2nd generation model.
C! Editors Rating 9.5/10
© C! 2003-2021. All Rights Reserved. Designed by