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11 Best Sports Cars for 2016

2. 2016 Scion FR-S / Subaru BRZ

Base price range: $26,100-$31,405 FR-S, $26,190-$29,290 BRZ
Think of these as coupe counterpoints to the convertible-only Mazda MX-5 Miata and you’ll understand their appeal. Affordable and tossable, they’re a low-mass, modest-power homage to sports-car simplicity. FR-S (for Front-engine, Rear-wheel drive, Sport) and BRZ (Boxer, Rear-drive, Zenith) are a joint project between Toyota’s youth division, which oversaw the styling, and Subaru, which handled much of the mechanical work. They share a shapely body differentiated mainly by brand-specific grillework and wheel design. It encloses a near mirror-image cabin with two tiny back seats.

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The sole engine is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with Subaru’s center-of-gravity-friendly, boxer, or horizontally opposed, cylinder layout. Set well back in the nose, its 200 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque motivates these 2800-pound cars with sufficient urgency. Naturally, they’re best enjoyed with the six-speed manual transmission rather than the paddle-shifted six-speed automatic. FR-S and BRZ are agile, yet very deliberately fitted with rather narrow 17-inch tires. Their modest grip in hard, fast cornering can introduce classic tail-out behavior and lessons in car control you can’t get from a book. For 2016, both cars gain a standard rearview camera and new audio systems with touchscreen displays, a 7-incher in the Scion, a 6.2 in the Subaru. Each also gets a special edition – the FR-S Release Series 2.0 and the BRZ Series.HyperBlue– with individualized wheels and unique trim inside and out.

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]