Subaru is giving the black sheep of its lineup a refresh: The BRZ gets more performance, a better interior, and feels more refined.

But letís address the elephant in the room. Power has not been significantly increased. Manual transmission models get a five horsepower nudge, for a total of 205 ponies and 156 lb-ft of torque. And while this car gets new internals to support that extra juice, Subaru insists that the more durable and beefier engine components are standard operating procedure when refining a motor, and that the upgrades havenít been made to prepare for the high-horsepower STI model that enthusiasts are dreaming of.

These changes deliver a slight change to the engineís sound ó it sounds like it just cleared its throat after being choked up and nervous the first few years of its life. The BRZ is an awkward fit in the Subaru lineup, featuring rear-wheel drive instead of all-wheel drive and a less-than-practical two-door setup, whereas the rest of Subaruís offerings are far friendlier for those looking for a daily driver. Fortunately, thereís still a tangible need for the BRZ. Itís an honest sports car in a world full of heavy, high-tech, turbocharged, point-and-shoot cars. This rear-wheel-drive coupe still weighs in at well under 3,000 pounds, has a responsive naturally aspirated engine, and begs to be revved out and shifted often (at redline.)
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