"Our only serious complaint after driving the BRZ was the modest level of grip."
There was no doubt that a Subaru BRZ would join our Four Seasons fleet. Few cars have been as hotly anticipated as the fruit of the Subaru/Toyota joint venture that produced the BRZ and the Scion FR-S. Light weight, crisp handling, affordability, and rear-wheel drive are the endearing characteristics of these twins.
If you must get out the door for $25,000, you'll be heading to a Scion dealership and relying on a printed map. The Subaru BRZ Premium, on the other hand, comes with HID headlamps, Bluetooth connectivity, and navigation, but its base price is $26,265. Want keyless ignition, heated leather seats, a trunk spoiler, and automatic climate control? That'll be another $2000 for the BRZ Limited. Since the BRZ is supposed to be a pure sports car, we opted for a Premium equipped with a 6-speed manual transmission. An automatic transmission can be had for $1100; no other stand-alone options are available on either the Scion or the Subaru.
Our only serious complaint after driving the BRZ on a track in Japan and over challenging roads in the south of France was the modest level of grip from the stock 215/45WR-17 Michelin Primacy HP tires. As soon as we took delivery of our 2013 BRZ, we called Tire Rack, the official tire and wheel supplier of Automobile Magazine, and ordered a set of 225/45R-17 BFGoodrich g-Force R1-S tires and 17 x 7.5 Sparco Assetto Gara wheels. Since the BRZ can accommodate a complete set of wheels and tires inside its cabin, we'll be able to run R-compound tires on the track and extend the life of our street tires by only using them on the street.
The affordable base price makes the BRZ a perfect candidate for tasteful modifications. We're already eyeing a coil-over suspension system and brake upgrade to complement the track tire package and standard limited-slip differential. Be sure to follow the BRZ's upgrades on automobilemag.com to see how much performance we can gain by playing with the brakes, tires, and suspension. We'll be logging lots of track miles with this car and measuring changes in performance with each upgrade.
Of course, we'll still use the BRZ for vacations, grocery runs, and daily commuting, as we do with all Four Seasons vehicles. We've already established a lottery system to sign out the car after Michigan's first snowfall, because we expect the BRZ to be a riot this winter once we fit appropriate seasonal rubber. For now, let's head to the track.