The Subaru BRZ is focused on providing driving fun.

We see how it matches up to the Mazda MX-5
Subaru is famous for two things: turbos and four-wheel drive. So the brand’s faithful followers were shocked to learn that its latest sports car – the BRZ – features neither of those traditional selling points.

Instead, this 2+2 coupe attempts to go back to basics and deliver what Subaru calls ‘pure handling delight’ through a lightweight rear-wheel-drive chassis powered by a high-revving, naturally aspirated 2.0-litre engine.

It was developed in tandem with the Toyota GT 86, which has already grabbed a significant group-test victory by beating accomplished rivals like the Audi TT and Nissan 370Z in our previous group test. To emerge from its twin’s shadow, the Subaru faces a very different challenge.

Until now, the Mazda MX-5 has been the default choice for anyone looking for an affordable and exciting sports car. In Roadster Coupe form, it’s surprisingly close to the new Subaru on price and performance. So can the untried BRZ overcome its legendary rival?

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Subaru BRZ vs MX-5

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