The 2019 Subaru BRZ Premium; a fanboi’s perspective

WE’VE reviewed Premium edition of the Subaru BRZ before. But this time, we wanted to do something a little different when we were handed the keys to the 2019 Subaru BRZ Premium.

So we gave the shiny Japanese sports car to photographer and dead-set platform fanboi Neoklis Bloukos. We told him to go away and review it as if he owned it. 

What we got is a story that captures the passion of an automotive obsession for one particular vehicle (two if you count the Toyota 86 as its twin), a fanboi perspective, if you will, of the Subaru BRZ.

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IF it weren’t for cars like the Subaru BRZ (Toyota 86), we would all be languishing in motoring oblivion. As you read these words right now, a car, with an engine in the front and rear-wheel drive, is being made with passion.

That engine is soulful, willing, and it rumbles and sings when worked hard, it has a heartbeat that you can actually feel, and steering that is virtually telepathic, and one of best ergonomically designed cockpits of any vehicle on the road.

It’s a car that other manufacturers could only be jealous of, especially at this price point. We should all thank Subaru and Toyota for bringing the vision of Tetsuya Tada and his brilliant team to life, and for building such an amazing car.

It will be remembered in the pantheons of motoring, long after many models have come and gone, and I hope that this is only the beginning. And while the 2019 Subaru BRZ Premium is not perfect, it’s getting closer to perfection.

Technically, from the time the twins were born in the Gunma plant in Japan back in 2012, even the infant base model Subaru BRZ got slightly better treatment than its base sibling the Toyota 86. You might say this twin was born with a silver spoon in its mouth.

It has a naturally aspirated 2.0-litre boxer engine with port and direct injection, producing 200 horses under the bonnet, that’s 100 horses per litre, which is phenomenal engineering, and it’s pretty economical to boot (around 8 to 10-litres/100km).

For those into numbers, the BRZ Premium in manual form produces 152kW of power and 212Nm of torque. It’s able to achieve the run to 100km/h in just under 8.0 seconds.

Now just imagine what this sublime chassis could achieve with a factory-fitted 2.4-litre turbocharged boxer engine.

As standard the 2019 Subaru BRZ Premium comes with a full-size alloy spare, Apple Play and Android Auto, satellite navigation, and Siri (depending on your device) is thrown in the mix too.

Cruise control is on hand for those long trips, and there’s a reversing camera with the distance markings included too. A leather steering wheel and gear shift, seat height adjustment and push button start all feature.

There are some other goodies too, including dual zone climate control air conditioning, which is great for the summer heat, and heated seats for those cold days. That’s a big tick too.

Lights, there’s lots of those. LED daytime running lights, fog lights and self-leveling headlights too. There’s even a dusk sensing setting.

I’m a fan, so I will sing its highs and give you the lows. I’m hoping somewhere out there someone wise will read these words, and understand that this car has the makings of a classic, but like any child or infant, it still needs attention. So here goes.

The highs

  • So fun to drive, The steering is virtually telepathic (very accurate).
  • Track mode. Oh my goodness this car gives so much leeway, and allows you to drive reasonably hard, without too much nannying or interference. It’s so much fun, and still within a degree of safety.
  • The engine. Oh what a soundtrack. The naturally smooth goodness of the boxer rumble, that catchy growl, every time you press the loud pedal.
  • It’s a two door coupe, with classic 2+2 styling, which is ageless and made with love in Japan.
  • A 5-star ANCAP safety rating, and the extra rigid body, with extra welding spots, helps greatly with the handling.
  • You can buy it with a manual gearbox.
  • It has a real handbrake, which is not electronically operated, so it can be used as a proper emergency brake.

The lows

  • The ride is my first and biggest gripe. Any BRZ should come with better, adjustable shock absorbers. It’s too damn hard as an everyday driver. This setup is more for track than road.
  • It’s not particularly suited to bigger drivers. The front Alcantara seats should have wider cushions.
  • The notchy shifting mechanism. Someone please fix this, it’s a sports car that demands a snick, snick style gearbox.
  • Letting out the clutch too hard can really jerk the car. An organic clutch would be great, not only for smoother takeoffs, but a better track day experience.
  • Accessing the rear seat is painful. Never mind the fact it’s naturally low as a sports car, there’s literally no rear leg room. No space for adults, unless you want to sit up against the steering wheel, or throw your front seat passenger against the dash.

It does have a boot though, that’s a bonus, but don’t expect to fit much in. It is a sports car, but you might just get four track tyres in there, maybe. There’s always the back seats if you’re stuck for room.

In a perfect world, I’d have a wish list, and I do.

It needs more power, but we all know that. But what if that power was put into developing a more mature body shape, a shooting brake for example, or a sports wagon, something to suit the more mature driver.

A more livable suspension setup, manually or electronically controlled, would go a long way, and yes, four doors please. It wouldn’t be the first time a manufacturer had successfully turned a classic sports cars into a four-door version.

Some decent speakers too. The sound system’s not bad, but the speakers are average. And a set of decent tyres. We’re talking Michelin Pilot Sport 4 or 4 S here. It would make the handling offered by this brilliant chassis, shine.

I know it’s a tuner car, but some people just do not want to go through this, some people like to take a car off the showroom floor, and never tinker with it ever. But if it was already tuned up, shall we say, then that would be legendary.

Whoever builds the next generation Subaru BRZ or Toyota 86, I truly hope they read this review, and consider my wish list.

Our 2019 Subaru BRZ Premium was provided by Subaru Australia. To find out more, contact your local Subaru dealer.


Driving experience
Exterior styling
Interior look and feel
Technology and connectivity
Family friendliness
Value for money


Pros - virtually telepathic steering; driver ergonomics; that Boxer rumble engine note.
Cons - ride is way too firm; notchy gearbox; no room in the back seats.
News Desk
News Desk
The News Desk is the hub of Exhaust Notes Australia. It's from here that our team of writers journalists and photographers bring you the latest happenings from the world of motoring.


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<strong>Pros -</strong> virtually telepathic steering; driver ergonomics; that Boxer rumble engine note.<br> <strong>Cons -</strong> ride is way too firm; notchy gearbox; no room in the back seats.The 2019 Subaru BRZ Premium; a fanboi's perspective