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Delightful (and devilish) dozen: what to drive when styling and performance are paramount

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2015 Scion FR-S / Subaru BRZ

Base price range: $25,690-$31,860 FR-S, $26,490-$30,285 BRZ

For a focused driving experience on a budget, this shapely coupe is tough to beat. The Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ is a joint project between Toyota’s youth division, which did much of the styling, and Subaru, which oversaw most of the mechanical work. The close-coupled 2+2 keeps things simple and straightforward. A 2.0-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine produces 200-horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. It’s the way the car deals with this modest power and puts it onto the road that makes it special. The low-center-of-gravity engine is set nicely rearward in the front of the car while either a six-speed manual or a paddle-shifted six-speed automatic transmission drives the rear wheels. Although 6.8 seconds 0-60 mph won’t pin you into your seat, the relatively low power means it’s easy to drive this car at its limits without risking limb or license. That’s where the fun really begins. Cornering is sharp but, deliberately fitted with rather narrow tires, the tail is eager to come around, giving you a feel for good-old oversteer that can be managed with throttle or counter-steering. There were originally slight differences in feel between the Subaru and Scion versions, but the 2015 FR-S gets a suspension retune so it’s now almost impossible to differentiate between the two.

About Chuck Giametta

This nationally recognized, award-winning writer brings to Carpreview.com two decades of automotive testing and reporting for newspapers, books, magazines, and the Internet. The former Executive Auto Editor of Consumer Guide, Chuck has covered cars for HowStuffWorks.com, Collectible Automobile magazine, and the Publications International Ltd. automotive book series. This ex-newspaper reporter has also appeared as an automotive expert on network television and radio. He’s a charter member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, the president of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Media association, and a juror for the annual Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year awards. Chuck writes from Colorado Springs, Colo. If you have a question for Chuck, write to him at [email protected]