The History of the Subaru BRZ Sports Car

The Subaru BRZ is a relative newcomer to the sports-car class. It first arrived on the scene in 2013, a wildly different offering in the Subaru lineup. The BRZ was, and is, the only rear-wheel drive car that Subaru produced, and the only coupe. It was one of the most affordable coupes available at the time, and the Subaru BRZ price is still one of the most competitive among compact sports cars. Read on to learn all about the Subaru BRZ’s history. 

Where the BRZ began

The Subaru BRZ was the product of a unique Toyota/Scion partnership—the reason why this coupe was so unlike its siblings. The 2+2 sports car (two seats in the front, two squashed in the rear) was created in this dual partnership to bring a rear-wheel drive sports car to the greater public. The BRZ, along with its identical triplets the Toyota 86 and the Scion FR-S, compete with models like the Mazda MX-5 Miata.

The Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ are still in production; the Scion FR-S met the same unfortunate demise as the rest of the Scions lineup.

2013 Subaru BRZ

Red 2013 Subaru BRZ at an auto show; the BRZ history started with this model year
2013 Subaru BRZ | Kathryn Scott Osler/The Denver Post via Getty Images

The 2013 Subaru BRZ marked the beginning of the first generation of this model The differences between the BRZ and Toyota GR86 were subtle, but enough to give the two models unique fan bases. The BRZ stormed onto the scene as a front-engine, rear-wheel drive vehicle equipped with a 200-horsepower four-cylinder engine. It offered a six-speed manual or automatic transmission, as it still does today.

2014 Subaru BRZ

Other than a $100 price increase, there were no notable changes for the 2014 BRZ. This is not surprising—automakers rarely make major changes to a model the year after it’s released. Subaru BRZ owners rated this model a 4.6 out of 5, according to Cars.com.

2015 Subaru BRZ

There were some minor changes for the 2015 model year. The BRZ received an updated suspension and the very first Subaru BRZ Series.Blue edition. Other specs and performance features stayed the same for the 2015 BRZ. Even with few changes, the 2015 model played an important part in the Subaru BRZ’s history.

2016 Subaru BRZ

The BRZ brought a few cool new additions for the 2016 model year. The coupe added a standard backup camera and a new standard touchscreen infotainment system. Subaru also released the 2016 BRZ Series.HyperBlue this year. The 2016 model also saw a slight price decrease, to $25,395 starting.

2017 Subaru BRZ

White 2017 Subaru BRZ sports car at an auto show; the Subaru BRZ's history is full of cool features
2017 Subaru BRZ | Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images

Updates to the 2017 BRZ included some minor styling changes, including a standard rear spoiler, and additional tweaks to the suspension to improve handling. LED headlights and daytime running lights (DRL) were added as new standard features. The 2017 Subaru BRZ also saw a small performance boost for the manual model, from 200 horsepower to 205 and 151 lb-ft of torque to 156.

2018 Subaru BRZ

2018 was the year of tech upgrades for the BRZ. For the first time, Subaru’s two-door sports car offered both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as available features through the standard touchscreen infotainment system. Subaru also introduced a new Performance Package and the first-ever 2018 BRZ tS, a limited-production model.

2019 Subaru BRZ

This year introduced the sharp new 2019 Subaru BRZ Series.Gray model, which didn’t stray from the tried-and-true performance of the previous year’s coupe but sure looked sleek. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto continued to only be available as accessory options.

2020 Subaru BRZ

The 2020 BRZ model was (and still is) one of the best first sports cars for drivers to buy. This year, smartphone connectivity systems were offered standard for the BRZ. A updated Performance Package was available on the BRZ Limited. For this model only, the BRZ Premium trim was dropped. The most notable update was the limited-edition 2020 BRZ tS, which—while not the fastest Subaru STI car—offered a spicier style of performance. 

2021 Subaru BRZ?

Psych. There was no Subaru BRZ produced for the 2021 model year. Fans were scared that Subaru would discontinue the two-door sports car. However, the brand simply took a break. The company extended sales of the 2020 model into the following year and then released the next model year slightly earlier than usual.

2022 Subaru BRZ

Silver 2022 Subaru BRZ two-door sports car drifting on a curved road with gorgeous mountains in the backdrop. This model is a big step in the Subaru BRZ's history
All-new 2022 Subaru BRZ | Subaru

This model was worth the wait. The 2022 BRZ marked the beginning of the coupe’s long-awaited second generation. For a brand that typically redesigns their cars every 5-6 years, waiting nearly a full decade to make changes was agony. Subaru fully redesigned the BRZ for 2022, offering a higher-powered engine (227 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque) and improved performance overall. The 2022 Subaru BRZ sold out fast, and hopeful shoppers will need to hunt for available affordable sports cars at their local dealership.

Where it’s going next: the 2023 Subaru BRZ coupe

So, what’s up next? So far, the only changes we can expect to see in the 2023 Subaru BRZ include a higher price tag, upgraded rain-sensing wipers, and adaptive control and steering wheel paddle-shift controls.

They’re appreciated changes, though mild. Again, it’s rare for automakers to introduce drastic updates or upgrades to the second year of a new generation. Still, even with a price boost, it’s a bargain for under $30,000

I can’t wait to see the next chapter in the Subaru BRZ’s history.

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