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BRZ a walk on the wild side


I HATE the fact that I’m going to make a cultural reference to Taylor Swift, but most of you are likely to know her hit single I knew you were trouble when you walked in.

It’s another one of her “my-boyfriend-left-me-so-now-I’m-writing-a-sad-song-about-it” songs. It also includes a few seconds of this so-called dubstep nonsense, which makes me hate it even more.

Still, it perfectly explains how I felt about the Subaru BRZ this morning. You see, Subaru’s coming to take it away in a few minutes and I can’t help but be mortified at the thought of not having it around anymore. I feel like Taylor Swift - abandoned and alone. I thought the BRZ and I had something special, but now it’s left me to see to the needs of some other random motoring hack.

I should have known. After the Toyota 86 came for a visit, I seriously considered buying one. I just couldn’t imagine a future where it wasn’t at my every beck and call. It took quite a lot of persuasion, but my wife finally convinced me that what I was feeling was nothing more than a crush that would go away if I gave it enough time.

My infatuation eventually died down and I’ve been careful not to reignite it by staying away from the 86. But when the BRZ rocked up I just couldn’t help myself. I should have known it was trouble when it drove in. I’m back where I began, doing sums on my deskpad…

The hardest part is, though, deciding which one to go for - Toyota or Subaru? Both manufacturers offer arguments as to why their product is superior, but if there’s any discerning reason to buy one over the other, I couldn’t find it.

The Subaru uses the same low-mounted 2.0-litre boxer engine that produces 147kW and 250Nm of torque. It’s mated to a slick six-speed manual that sends the power to the rear wheels.

All of this makes it about as fast as a diesel Corolla. Yup, you read that correctly. An oil-burning family sedan would embarrass both these cars in a drag race. This might put you off, or you could merely accept the fact that a car’s 0-100km/h acceleration figure is utterly irrelevant.

On paper, the BRZ and 86 are outclassed by every hot hatch on the market. Cars like the Focus ST, Megane RS, Golf GTI and Astra OPC are faster, more spacious and easier to justify to your significant other. In every scientifically measurable way, these cars are better.

Honestly, I couldn’t care less about all that. Both these cars are all about fun, which is something that can’t be objectively and scientifically measured. Why is the BRZ so much fun? My answer is the same as when I wrote about the 86.

I could write some impressive sounding hooey about the sporty suspension and low centre of gravity, but that would be a lie. I love the BRZ because it makes me feel like a driving hero, able to do a powerslide even Ken Block would be proud of. I know it’s stupid, but I’m a male and we like to do senseless things that boost our egos.

There’s no doubt in my mind that the BRZ is a magnificent machine, but there’s no denying the fact that a high-spec 86 is R40 000 cheaper. That extra R40 000 does buy a whole lot extra though. The BRZ comes with a few unique features, like a performance exhaust and an attention-grabbing rear spoiler. Also included in the price is a full 5-year/105 000km maintenance plan.

Subaru also has exclusivity on its side. Toyota‘s monthly sales of the 86 currently stand at 70 units. You’ll also have to wait half a year to get one. Scooby can (currently) get you a BRZ a lot sooner.

So which one to go for? I guess personal preference plays a big role. My assistant editor has stated that he’d go for the Subaru in a heartbeat, while I kind of like the idea of owning a performance Toyota.

At the end of the day it comes down to how much money the customer would be willing to spend. If you only have R300 000, buy the entry-level 86 and live happily ever after. If you can stretch the budget to R390 000, it’s worth paying for the added benefits and exclusivity that comes as standard on the Subaru BRZ.

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