At its introduction as a 2013 model, the tiny BRZ sport coupe was the brand's first car without four driven wheels since the 1990s and remains the only one that lacks Subaru's "symmetrical" AWD system.
Whether you consider the BRZ to be among Subaru's sportiest cars depends on how much horsepower a car needs to be considered sporty: There are a handful of updates to the BRZ for 2018, but more power for its 2.0L four-cylinder engine is not one of them.
That engine makes 205 hp and 156 lb-ft of torque with the six-speed manual standard in most trims. An optional six-speed automatic gearbox comes with slightly less output, rated at 200 hp and 151 lb-ft.
There are two new trims at the top of the BRZ's lineup. One is the Sport-tech RS, which builds on the Sport-tech model carried over from last year, adding performance-oriented suspension and brakes, trim-specific 17-inch gunmetal grey wheels and fitted exclusively with the manual transmission. The standard Sport-tech model comes with the automatic transmission, heated front seats trimmed in black leather and Alcantara, dual-zone climate control, LED fog lights and passive keyless entry.
Slotting in above the Sport-tech RS is a new tS trim that Subaru says boasts "impressive levels of responsiveness" realized through the installation of an adjustable carbon fibre rear spoiler.
At the entry level is a base model that gains a new 7.0-inch infotainment system with navigation and support for the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration platforms. Other standard kit includes an amplified eight-speaker stereo, satellite radio, air conditioning, tilt-and-telescopic steering, power windows, heated side mirrors and locks with keyless entry, backup camera, 17-inch wheels and automatic LED headlights.
The BRZ is a charming little coupe, but while we certainly wouldn't complain about a bit more power, Subaru has as much as said we're never going to get it because the car's platform won't allow the addition of turbocharging, which is used to great effect in the WRX.
Daily driving is feasible in this car, but we find the Mazda MX-5 a bit easier to live with thanks to a more compliant suspension. However, the BRZ has an advantage in its larger interior and a stiffer structure.
Subaru's fuel consumption estimates are 9.7/7.2 L/100 km (city/highway) with the automatic transmission, and 11.2/8.1 with the stickshift.