Subaru BRZ | Spotted

The lesser spotted GT86 – or Boxer, Rear-wheel drive, Zenith, officially – looks a more appealing sports car than ever

By Matt Bird / Thursday, 17 November 2022 / Loading comments

The new Subaru BRZ isn’t available to buy in the UK. Barring some kind of miracle – or paying an inflated used price – there won’t be opportunity to buy a Toyota GR86 soon, either. Which has made people, understandably, quite cross, given the significant improvements made for the new generation. They want to buy one, and can’t, which isn’t often the case for cars that cost £29,995.

Still, there’s also a certain irony that there’s such clamouring for a small, light, rear-drive, driver-focused coupe when production is limited. Because there was one of those two-doors on sale for almost a decade. It even had a similar back-to-basics interior. And although nobody would claim that old BRZ/GT86 are better sports cars than the GR, a lot of what makes the new 86 great is there in the old 86. Or BRZ, for that matter, at less than half the new Toyota’s remarkably low price tag.

The original Toyobaru twins were celebrated for being pure, simple, rewarding sports car at a time when enthusiasts were only being offered front-wheel drive, which is the same situation the GR86 finds itself in. Only with more SUVs now. The old Subaru and Toyota haven’t suddenly become less-than-stellar driver’s cars just because the latest one has shown up that, yes, the 2.0-litre boxer really was as limp as it seemed. They’ve become intriguing once again (if the appeal ever died away) because what came next is virtually unobtainable.

We’ve plumped for a BRZ here as it’s the much rarer car, with fewer than 1,000 in the UK and something like eight times as many GT86s out there, depending on which bit of the internet you read. And rarity is cool. Plus, well, it’s been fitted with Speedline Corse wheels; not only do they really elevate the BRZ look, they must be a nod to old Imprezas of way back when with similar wheels. And that’s also cool. The infamous Michelin Primacy tyres have gone, though whether a Goodyear EfficientGrip is any better remains to be seen.

Otherwise this is a standard, 2014 BRZ SE Lux, with 64,000 miles, two owners and full Subaru service history from new. More than 10 years ago, PH pitched BRZ against GT86 to establish any meaningful differences between the two. They were actually ever so slightly different to drive, but rest assured both came out of the comparison very well indeed. It’s easy to look back on BRZ and 86 now as a tad underpowered and a bit expensive, which they probably were, but as reminders of simple sports car joys they know no equal. It’s a heck of a lot easier to overlook gripes when paying less money and with the aftermarket’s treasure trove available.

Back in those sweet, innocent days of 2019, the £10k GT86 became a reality. Sadly we’re still not back there, but in the current market £13,995 is competitive for a BRZ like this. You’ll probably want to budget for a more modern infotainment system, but not much else – as might be expected for a Toyota-Subaru collaboration, the BRZ and 86 have proved pretty tough. The world is your oyster when it comes to tuning parts, too, from engine and chassis to brakes and body. In fact, you’ll probably have such a great time making this BRZ your own, the disappointment about a new one will become a distant memory…


SPECIFICATION | SUBARU BRZ

Engine: 1,998cc, flat-four
Transmission: 6-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): [email protected],000rpm
Torque (lb ft): [email protected],400-6,600rpm
MPG: 36.2 (NEDC combined)
CO2: 181g/km
First registered: 2014
Recorded mileage: 64,000
Price new: £24,995
Yours for: £13,995

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