It had been 10 long years since 'my' last car, having crossed to the dark side of motorbikes. Why did I buy the BRZ? After a few near misses, the statistics and chance of surviving on a bike much longer before my luck ran out wasn't promising. Its replacement had to be quick, but above all, fun. After shopping around Mustang's, Redline's and WRX's, I settled on the BRZ knowing full well that I'd be supercharging it. Within two months, I installed a Sprintex-210 supercharger, K&N intake filter, Invidia N2 exhaust (temporary variant) and ECUTEK dyno tune. What does that do to the humble 2.0-litre flat four? Take everything you know about the standard BRZ power and throw it out. The torque and power now is seriously strong. From 2200rpm it piles it on in pure linear supercharger fashion. That torque hole from 3000-5000rpm? Gone. The top end from 5000-7400rpm especially is a rush. To top all this, you get that supercharger whine reminiscent of the Ariel Atom. How does a verified 201kW at the rears work in a car weighing 1280kg? It makes it hilariously quick! To cope with the power, I upgraded to 225 front, 245 rear tyres on 18-inch rims. Even with the better rubber, you have to use track mode to avoid the traction control going berserk and killing the power. Coincidentally, wider rubber also means more grip for cornering, which just keeps sweetening the deal.
I partly settled on this car because of the CarAdvice review on the MY17 BRZ, which received a 9 out of 10. Cheers for that. It's such a brilliant driver's car. The steering with beautiful feel, weight and feedback; the corner composure where the car gives the right amount of roll to load up the camber; the resultant logarithmic grip that just keeps building as you progressively feed it in (as opposed to snapping at the steering wheel); brake feel that needs a good push as opposed to the false security of over-assistance (looking at you SUVs) and now of course the power. It all comes together so brilliantly to put a smile on the dial.
The negatives? A few. The standard BRZ throttle map is ridiculously sensitive. Even after fiddling with the fuel map during the tune, it's just too touchy. What feels like 10% throttle travel equates to 100% at the engine, making casual driving and smooth gear changing a challenge in itself. A $300 Pedal Commander will fix this, but it's more unnecessary cost. The factory clutch take up point is way too high as well, which exacerbates the throttle issue. Thankfully it took me 10 minutes to physically adjust this (thanks Google). The seats are an acquired taste, proving too tight in the shoulders and resulting in your back not sitting flush against the seatback. MY17 models don't come with the MY18's Apple CarPlay/Android Auto; the simplest of commands such as a phone call goes through three different sequential voice menu prompts, yet my MY15 Outback only requires one! On top of that, you cannot speed it up by touching the screen to skip the voice confirmation delays (like my Outback). Very poor. For those looking at upgrading their exhaust, don't use the Invidia N1 or N2. It's so stupidly loud and drones horribly. My N2 was only temporary due to nil stock of the Invdia Q300 at the time.
As a 34 year old, my insurance (through Shannons) increased $600 per annum. Oh and fuel economy? Before, I averaged 7 litres per 100 kilometres around town, with 5-6L's on my last Adelaide to Sydney drive at 110km/h GPS. Now? Minimum of 8L's freeway driving with anything from 9-12L's urban. Not bad for an extra 80kW at the wheels, really. As for reliability, I haven't had any dramas so far. However, I do have concerns for the clutch, as 300hp is supposedly the safe limit for the standard unit. Preemptively I have already set aside $1500 for a new (stronger) flywheel and clutch pack.
Overall, despite the few flaws, I absolutely love this car. I totally get why Toyota/Subaru made it the way it is, however there was no chance I was ever going to accept the engine the way it was. If you're willing to take the risk of forced induction, so long as it stays in one piece, I guarantee you won't regret it. Be prepared though for the cost. So far it's set me back $12,000 for all the mods, with the clutch another potential cost. Too much you think? Drive one before you cast criticism.