Posted Wednesday, November 17, 2021 at 11:20pm
Every hero has a weakness, and the original Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S (later Toyota 86) had two: power delivery and grip. The rear-wheel-drive chassis was sublime, but the tires offered all the traction of bowling shoes, and the 2.0-liter flat-four had a torque curve with a death valley at about 3000 rpm. But, as the new Toyobaru twins’ presence on this list should tell you, they fixed it. In a big way.
We figured they’d slap on a turbocharger and call it day. Instead, the Japanese siblings stuck with a naturally aspirated flat-four and upped its displacement. Subaru’s 2.4-liter makes 228 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. The new engine transforms the car’s personality while staying true to its roots. It’s rev happy—peak horsepower arrives at a fizzy 7000 rpm—but now there’s plenty of midrange gumption, too, vastly improving the everyday driving experience. That newfound muscle is deployed though optional Michelin Pilot Sport 4 summer rubber. This is still a benign sliding machine, but no longer does it feel like you’re always driving on a wet skidpad.