The anticipation exploded when they were launched locally as our inner drifter racing drivers were unleashed by these beautifully designed, lightweight rear-wheel machines.
While for most the 154kW and 205Nm of torque is more than adequate from this naturally aspirated 2.0-litre boxer engine, there were those individuals who craved more - enter Rob Green Motorsport (RGM).
Situated in Randburg, these guys are the undisputed experts in supercharging vehicles and in collaboration with Subaru, they gave the BRZ a few extra horses under its hood.
The increased power came courtesy of the Vortech bolt-on centrifugal supercharger, specifically designed to fit on the Scooby’s boxer motor. The kit is imported from the USA and once fitted, the performance figures spike to an entertaining 220kW of power and 315Nm of torque.
Throw into the mix a UniChip auxiliary engine management computer to remap the vehicle, along with a bigger air box so the Scooby can breathe better and what you have is a naughty hoodlum, not shy to wag its tail around corners.
The added power makes a fun car even more entertaining. Picture your little nephew, now add a sugar high and that’s exactly what it’s like being behind the wheel of the RGM BRZ.
Thankfully the power delivery is predictable, but having tested the automatic guise of the tuned BRZ (the kit is also available for the manual derivative) the car feels sluggish and off the mark and the six-speed auto box is clumsy. I would definitely opt for the manual version as it allows better interaction between the car and driver.
But despite being slow off the mark, the added power allows the car to stretch its legs to a top speed of around 250km/h, some 50km/h faster than standard spec.
The added power coupled with the rear-wheel-drive handling means you’re in for a good time. But to set this Scooby apart from the rest, Subaru has thrown in some nice extras including WRX wheels and body kit, as well as upgraded WRX brakes to handle the additional power.
It’s assuring to know that RGM has done well over 30 of these conversions already, with a kit costing in the region of R75 000.
But this is the problem… the Subaru BRZ already has a price tag of R399 990 for the manual and R409 000 for the auto. Now throw in an added R75 000 and the BRZ edges towards hot-hatch territory. And as we well know, South African petrol heads are hot-hatch crazy and the latest offerings from VW, Audi and Opel are better than ever before.
That said, mating the RGM supercharger to your BRZ will also mean your Subaru SA warranty and maintenance plan will be lost, but you do get an RGM six-month/20 000km warranty on your supercharger, as well as maintaining the three-year/ 75 000km service plan from Subaru.
It’s a costly bit of kit, but it does radically improve the ‘fun factor’ of the BRZ and sets it apart from the other BRZ/86 clan.