Subaru BRZ 2.0i SE

Lux

Subaru BRZ, front
Subaru BRZ, front
Subaru BRZ, front
Subaru BRZ, front
Subaru BRZ, side
Subaru BRZ, rear
Subaru BRZ, interior
Subaru BRZ, side
Subaru BRZ, rear

SUBARU'S brilliant-to-drive BRZ sports coupe is back for 2017 with a comprehensive refresh covering every area of the car from interior and exterior styling to powertrain, suspension and safety.

The coupe shape remains but the latest model - only available now in SE Lux trim - is slightly lower and wider at the front, where full LED headlights have also been added.

There's also newly-designed rear lamps, attractive new 10-spoke aluminium alloys and an aerodynamic pedestal spoiler replaces the previous ‘built-in' boot spoiler.

Inside, a 4.2-inch colour LCD multi-information display has been added into the instrument panel. It can display a G force meter, steering angle gauge, brake force gauge, lap time and torque/power curves for those who drool over those sort of things. There's also a smaller steering wheel which, Subaru claims, is better to grip.

There are five body colours including the iconic WR Blue Pearl.

The BRZ's cabin reflects the sporty nature of the car but remains comfortable and useable. Focus has been directed to upgrading the feel of components by using higher quality materials throughout the cabin, including heated front seats, Alcantara and leather seats with red BRZ logo and stitching. However, it deal doesn't reach the heights of its German rivals.

Thankfully, the driving position is spot on, thanks to the snug, grippy and low slung sports seats. There's plenty of adjustment for the driver's seat and steering wheel too so you should be able to find a comfortable driving position. I certainly didn't have a problem squeezing in my rather portly 6ft 2in frame.

Sitting so low, looking out of the letterbox windscreen at the rounded, sensuous curves of the front wings you almost feel like you're behind the wheel of a Sixties thoroughbred.

However, while it's spacious up front, the rear seats in this so-called 2+2 remain next-to-useless, even for children. It's probably easier to put your shopping on the seats and any passengers in the surprisingly spacious 243-litre boot.

The BRZ was built as a back-to-basics sports car and was rightly lauded at launch for its dynamic and engaging drive. Its development team wanted to create a car for those bored with cars that were too powerful, had too much grip, cost too much and didn't let the driver have any fun.

They certainly got it right. With its low centre of gravity, limited slip rear differential and rear-wheel drive, it was immense fun to drive because of its sharp handling and crisp responses. The good news is, that hasn't been lost. In fact, it's been slightly improved.

For 2017, the high-revving 2.0-litre horizontally-opposed flat four Boxer engine, mounted low in the chassis, has undergone several revision to improve the driving experience. It still only musters 197bhp but, because the car is relatively light that's more than enough to power from standstill to 62mph in a shade over seven seconds. Top speed is an ample 140mph.

For such a racy little number, pressing the start button doesn't unleash a brutish bark or roar and, at idle, the engine note is fairly subtle. But, make the engine work - ie get it over 4,000rpm - and the growl is there. The good thing is that you will have to work the six-speed manual - developed specifically for driving pleasure with a short-throw shift feel - because its peak power and torque are delivered high up the rev range.

A six-speed auto is available - with a new track mode for 2017 - but the vast majority of buyers are expected to choose the standard manual.

For 2017, the dampers have been redesigned to reduce body roll still further, increase precision when cornering, as well as damping vibration,so delivering improved ride comfort while keeping its sporting dynamics.

The fully independent suspension used at the rear of the BRZ has also been tweaked for extra traction - not so much your take your fun away - and refinement.

The BRZ also comes with a vast amount of safety equipment, Stability control is standard and there are no fewer than seven airbags to protect you. Active anti-whiplash headrests are included too.

The refreshed 2017 BRZ is also equipped with the next-generation advanced airbag system which uses upgraded sensors for a greater level of safety.

FAST FACTS

Subaru BRZ 2.0i SE Lux

Price: £26,050

Mechanical: 197bhp 1,998cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving rear wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 140mph

0-62mph: 7.6 seconds

Combined MPG: 36.2

Insurance Group: 31

C02 emissions: 180g/km

Bik rating: 35%

Warranty: 5yrs/100,000 miles

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