SAFETY ORIENTED: Sporting lines of the new Subaru BRZ work well and have proven to have more safety features than previous models.

By EWAN KENNEDY, Marque Motoring

IN a time when gas-guzzling pickup trucks and SUVs are dominating sales in Australia, Subaru has introduced the next generation of its neat little BRZ coupe.

It proves itself to be a proper sports machine due to being driven by the back wheels instead of the front.

The original design initially gained a large amount of success, therefore Subaru has stuck to a similar shape.

The new model not only looks great but is also more aerodynamic.

All the vents, fins, and spoilers are functional, working to reduce turbulence.

Cabin storage is rather limited due to its apparent small size.

There’s only a single drink holder in the manual model due to tight space on the console and room which is taken up by the gear lever.

Automatic models have two centre console drink holders.

There are small bottle holders in each door.

A split-folding centre console box houses a 12V outlet, while USB ports are under the climate functions.

The boot volume is just 201 litres as measured by Verband der Automobilindustrie (VDA) standards.

This standard is generally regarded as more accurate than the SAE measurements used by most car makers.

The Subaru BRZ has an 8.0-inch multimedia touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and built-in sat-nav.

The speakers provide good quality sound during normal driving but can be drowned out when on rough roads and on concrete motorways.

The Subaru flat-four boxer engine is a 2.4-litre unit, up by 20 per cent in capacity over the previous model.

The result is 174kW of power and up to 250Nm of torque.

Transmissions are a six-speed torque converter automatic or six-speed manual.

Both have been revised from their predecessors, to not only handle the extra power and torque, but also to provide smoother shifts.

Drive is sent to the rear wheels via a Torsen limited-slip differential.

This is the only Subaru which does not have all-wheel-drive, which is a major selling point of the company.

The Subaru stereo-camera-based EyeSight safety is now in the BRZ.

Active safety functions are automatic emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and reverse emergency braking.

The BRZ has no fewer than seven airbags; front, side, and head, plus driver’s knee.

The official fuel consumption is 9.5L/100km for the manual and 8.8L/100km for the automatic.

We averaged 10.0 litres per hundred in the manual and 9.3 in the auto.

It needs to run on premium unleaded 98 RON petrol which is often sold at 15 to 20 cents more per litre than Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

Unusually the BRZ has a full-size spare wheel.

Pretty handy if considering track days and need to carry extra spares.

The two rear seats are all but useless for adults.

It is hardly a complaint considering this is a small sports coupe.

Kids can travel in them but if you’re planning to do so frequently make sure to take them along on your test drive before deciding to buy a BRZ.

If you’re considering buying a BRZ to drive on track days there’s a further problem when wearing a crash helmet.

As I’ve said before, try before you buy and don’t forget the skid lid.

The salespeople at the dealership may find it odd when you turn up for a test drive – or perhaps will see it as a compliment to their car.

The front bucket seats provide comfort for normal day to day use and have good lateral support for hard driving.

Even driving the BRZ on sealed country road it feels nice and solid.

One bumpy dirt roads it’s perhaps stiffer than passengers would like.

The driver has the steering wheel to help support them and it’s better.

The larger engine has consistent torque through the rev range and this helps to provide a notable jump in responsiveness.

The engine’s smooth and quiet at in normal driving speeds, only when you get up to higher revs does it have the definite beat of a boxer engine.

Tyre noise is low on smooth roads but can become quite noisy when the roads are moderately rough, acceptable for a sporty car.

Subaru BRZ is something out of the ordinary these days – which is good to see in these times gas guzzling pickups and SUVs.

It has excellent handling plenty of poke from the engine, particularly when it has a manual gearbox sitting behind it.