Apparently worried it would be seen as a one-trick pony with its all-AWD lineup of sedans, hatchbacks and crossovers, Subaru in 2013 launched the rear-drive BRZ sports coupe.
Now in its seventh year on the market, the BRZ gets yet another round of incremental changes: outside, there are new aero fins at the rear wheel arches and a retuned rear suspension, while the cabin gets the brand's latest infotainment system, operated via a touchscreen, which Subaru says offers smoother and faster operation and boasts a better refresh rate.
For the BRZ, Subaru teamed up with Toyota, whose designers did the styling while Subaru's engineers drew up the BRZ's dirty bits. Toyota's version of this car started out as the Scion FR-S and later became the Toyota 86 after the Scion brand was, well, eighty-sixed.
With fundamentals unchanged from last year, the BRZ retains a 2.0L horizontally-opposed four-cylinder engine that makes 205 hp and 156 lb-ft of torque. The standard transmission is a six-speed manual, and a six-speed automatic is the option.
Subaru could have done more to appeal to hardcore sports car fans by making the BRZ more powerful, but we like it fine the way it is, with modest power output making it fun to drive flat out without automatically breaking speed limits.
Direct competition is scarce: the Mazda MX-5 is the obvious alternative here, but we could argue the Ford Mustang Ecoboost is a fair comparison. The Mustang is more powerful, but it's also heavier, and we'd bet not even the Ford's optional handling package would make it as quick around a challenging racetrack.
The BRZ is offered in three trims for 2019: base, Sport-tech and RS. Gone this year is a limited-run tS introduced last year with its adjustable carbon fibre rear spoiler.
Standard kit in the base trim includes the manual transmission, mechanical limited slip differential, 17-inch alloy wheels, LED head- and taillights, navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, Bluetooth connectivity with streaming audio and satellite radio.
Sport-tech models come with the automatic transmission, passive keyless entry and push-button start, black leather/Alcantara upholstery, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control and LED fog lights.
Finally, the Sport-tech RS package reverts to the stickshift and adds Sachs suspension dampers, Brembo brakes and gunmetal grey alloy 17-inch wheels.
Subaru's fuel consumption estimates for the BRZ are 11.2/8.3 L/100 km (city/highway) with the manual transmission, and 9.7/7.2 with the automatic.