It’s been less than three hours since I was rocketing through the canyons of Malibu in the electric blue sports coupe you seen pictured above and I’m still trying to find the words to appropriately express how I feel having driven this amazing automobile. To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure I can convey the emotions with the written word but I feel the need to try because if I don’t I’m just going to have this stupid grin on my face for who knows how long.
Since I first laid eyes on the BRZ last year I’ve been dying to get behind the wheel of one. My first instinct was to head to a dealership and take one out for a test drive( as I often will with cars I’m interested in) but something held me back from my usual game of deceit that often ended with a grumpy salesman. The months went on, the press bestowed honor upon honor on the BRZ, I waited patiently for my opportunity but none arose. I almost took one out for a spin when a friend purchased a new Impreza but it was an automatic and there was just no point in having a halfassed driving experience. I did sit in it on the showroom floor that day and after feeling the comfort of the seats, the perfectly positioned steering wheel and shifter I was more determined than ever to take one out for a proper drive.
Fast forward five months and I’m finishing up working with an E92 M3(not a bad ride either) and I get the word, BRZ is on the docket for Thursday, a mere 48 hours away. I’m giddy with excitement, I start thinking about where to drive it, what will the weather be, how many GoPros can I get my hands on, what song will I listen to first?! When I climb into the drivers seat all the questions and concerns fade away. I move the seat to an engaged driving position, the clutch feels perfect, the gearbox isn’t as tough as my aftermarket WRX but that’s ok, it doesn’t need to be. The 200hp BRZ is a work of art, a brilliant masterpiece created by Fuji Heavy Industries with a little bit of help from Toyota( a LITTLE bit). It is balanced, poised, ready to dance on the canyon roads of Malibu, the only question is, which one do I head to first? My time is limited and I have to chose carefully. Each canyon offers something different, a few of my favorites might be too far for my time frame, I have to make the right decision. Then it hits me, it’s 70 degrees, not a cloud in the sky and I’m in the drivers seat of one of my most lusted after cars, FUCK IT! Any canyon road will do, this is the BRZ for christs sake, a true drivers car, happy to eat up any pavement you throw at it. I turn off traction control, throw it into reverse and execute a perfect 180 on the loose gravel before catching first gear at 3,500 rpm which sends the ass left, right then left again before I straighten out. A few hikers and day campers give me dirty looks, some smile, one or two claps. I’m grinning ear to ear when I pull out onto Malibu Canyon Road and head for Piuma Rd.
I think I subconsciously chose Piuma because it was the first canyon road I drove when I moved to Southern California five years ago. Ever since that first cruise when my WRX was sandwiched between a 700+HP Saleen Mustang and a 400+HP STI I’ve been in love with canyon cruises. I try to make it to a Subaru cruise at least once a month and being that I often work in Calabasas I’m able to hit many of these fun roads regularly. Early in the morning is the best time to be out there, the sun behind you, hardly anyone on the roads, virtually no law enforcement presence. However I had no say in the timing of the BRZ experience so I had to make due with the circumstances and I’d say I made out pretty damn good. Hell one of the three CHP I passed will on my ascent of Piuma might say I even made out like a bandit(unlike the dipshit motorcyclists I stay in my lane which apparently gets you a pass). I quickly realize the BRZ is even better than I could have ever imagined. The balance and the poise is unreal! I downshift, the boxer growls, I point the nose where I want it to go and the ass rotates around the corner with ease. All those years of dicking around in ski area parking lots on snow have paid off. It doesn’t matter that the BRZ isn’t all wheel drive, it’s still a Subaru and damnit, I know how to drive Subarus.
I get to the top of Piuma way to fast. I want to do it over and over again. My heart is racing, I simply can’t understand how a car can be this good. I mean my WRX is no slouch and I’ve driven a handful of other cars in the past nine months that are certainly worthy of a write up such as this but this BRZ is something truly unique. I hop out and snap some photos at an overlook. The breeze is warm and steady, a cyclist whizzes by on his descent, he looks back over his shoulder, even those guys can’t ignore the styling. I take a minute to really look at the car. There are a few things I’d change were it mine(spoiler delete, diamond mesh grille insert) but other than that it’s perfect as is. I would of course put some wider wheels and tires on it as well but the stock look has grown on me since I first saw it online. It’s one of those cars that is just so much better looking in person which is crazy because it looks damn good on camera. I snap out of the moment when a guy in a Mini Cooper S pulls up and shouts “Hey, that one of them Scion FR-S?”. I shake my head and inform him that it’s a Subaru. He looks confused at first, then nods approvingly before lurching off down the road. Until then I’d banished the FR-S from my mind. I know they share the same DNA but the BRZ is a totally different car. It’s in the subtle styling cues and the interior appointments. I never thought the day would come when I was singing Subaru’s praises when it comes to an interior but other than the low budget nav system(I’d pull the damn thing right out if I bought a BRZ) the cockpit is as on point as the rest of the car. The seats are as comfortable while engaged in a hairpin turn as they were that day on the showroom floor. The gauges are simple and easy to read, with a big center mounted tach letting you know when to shift(as if the engine note would let you forget). Some people might complain about the lack of audio controls on the steering wheel. To them I say, quit yer bitchin! Enjoy the sweet music courtesy of your right foot and four horizontally opposed pistons. I made it through only half of “Black Dog” before shutting the stereo off and just enjoying the roar of the motor with the windows down.
Time was running short and I had to get back. I didn’t want the moment to end. I was just getting to know my new friend and we were about to be torn from one another like two kids on the playground whose parents know they’ll get into trouble if left alone for too long. Maybe it’s for the best that my first encounter with the BRZ was rather brief though I feel like I could spend weeks, months, even years with this car and not get bored with it. I will admit that prior to this I had not driven a RWD sports coupe, only a 2013 Porsche Boxster convertible(which is admittedly insanely fun too) and so maybe it’s just “first time syndrome” but I really believe the BRZ is just that good. My descent of Piuma was quick and efficient. I’m always more cautious going down the canyon roads but the BRZ isn’t a car that needs to be pushed to it’s limits to maximize it’s fun factor. It just enjoys being on the road whether you’re in 3rd at 6,500rpm exiting a corner or 5th at 2,000rpm just cruising on a easy straightaway. I pull over one more time to snap a couple more photos in the shade of a big ol gnarly looking tree. When I’m done I stare at the BRZ taking in it’s curves and aura one more time. It’s like it’s staring right back at me, like it has a soul, one that’s wildly curious, longs for adventure yet enjoys the comfort of a routine. Then it dawns on me, I see a-lot of myself in this car. The product of a marriage between two very different entities, stylish in most aspects but not without a few faults. I really relate to this thing, I think I’m having an automotive moment of zen. I rack my brain and realize I’ve read pieces by others, some ex-race car drivers, some professional journalists and some just owners having the same kind of zen like moment. I catch myself with that stupid grin on my face again and get back in the BRZ. As I drive back to drop it off I’m at peace with the fact that I probably won’t be behind the wheel of one again in the near future. I’m ok with that because when I am once again behind the wheel it’ll be permanent because someday, when the time is right, I will
own care for a BRZ and that will be a nice ride indeed.