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.