WRX vs BRZ

 

Planet's Executive summary:

If the BRZ is a surgical instrument designed for carving corners, the WRX is a sledgehammer that pounds the twisty stuff into submission.  Sculptural in appearance, featherlight at only 2747 pounds, and mind-readingly precise on winding roads, the BRZ excels at the qualitative driving experience.  WRX impresses you quantitatively...more boost, faster acceleration and top speed, and more g's on the skidpad.    

The WRX generates performance so close to a super car that it's hard to find a stretch of road where you can begin to explore its capabilities without driving recklessly.  In a straight line, the WRX's 268hp force-inducted engine races to redline so quickly that you barely have a moment to enjoy the whack in your back before you have to shift again.  With a more stately 205hp, the BRZ's naturally aspirated engine lets you wind it out and you can enjoy the mechanical symphony without losing your license. 

With four doors, big trunk, functional back seat, 
and all wheel drive, the WRX is more practical, especially for New Englanders. People don't buy BRZ's to schlep to Costco.  

For less than $30,000, either car offers thrills aplenty.  If you want to blow the doors off of nearly everything on the road, you'll prefer the WRX.  Go for the BRZ if you prefer the slinky coupe with perfect manners. 

(One more thing about the 
BRZ:  it shares a platform with the Scion FR-S (now Toyota 86).  Subaru and Toyota developed the cars jointly, which explains their mechanical and styling similarities.  They are almost twins, but the Subaru costs more and offers more standard equipment). 

What are the differences?

Subaru WRX

Subaru BRZ

Rear view
We started here because this is the most common view of a sporty Subaru!
Front End
WRX looks similar to the Impreza that gave it life. BRZ looks like a shark ready to bite your head off.
Engines and Power
Both use four-cylinder Boxer engines with direct fuel injection and Subaru Dual Active Valve Control System. Turbocharged WRX achieves maximum torque at a freakishly low 2,000 RPM for rail-gun acceleration in every gear.

2.0 liter
268 horsepower
258 lb.-ft torque


2.0 liter
205 horsepower
156 lb.-ft torque


Drivetrain
It's hard to beat the cat-like reflexes of an all-wheel drive vehicle, especially in rain and other slippery road conditions.

Symmetrical All Wheel Drive with Active Torque Vectoring

Rear wheel drive with limited slip differential
Manual Transmission
Most people prefer the silky snick-snick in the BRZ.

Six Speed

Six Speed

Automatic Tranmission
Fanboys look down their noses at pulley transmissions but the automotive press has been really impressed with the sporty "high torque" CVT that Subaru installs in the WRX. The more traditional six gear auto in the BRZ feels so crisp that Subaru sells 30% of BRZs with an automatic transmission.

Sport Lineartronic CVT with stepped manual and automatic shift modes controlled with steering wheel paddle switches.

Comes with Subaru Intelligent Drive (SI-DRIVE), a throttle management system that allows driver to choose from among three selectable modes: "Intelligent," "Sport" and "Sport Sharp."

Six speed with steering wheel paddle switches

0-60 Time and Top Speed

This looks like a blowout victory for the WRX but it's a little deceiving because the BRZ's rev limiter cuts second gear off at 59.2 mph, requiring a time-consuming shift into third. WRX goes like a scalded cat in every gear. (Don't worry, we love cats.)

Manual: 5.2 Seconds
Automatic: 5.7 seconds
Top Speed: 155 mph

Manual: 6.4 seconds
Automatic: 7.7 seconds
Top Speed: 143 mph

Wheels and Tires
Both wear summer shoes so you'll want to invest in snow tires for the winter.

WRX's Dunlops stick like bubble gum on your shoe. They generate higher absolute cornering forces than the BRZ's skins but require more skill at the limit.

(Note: pictured is a Hankook; we were experimenting with different tires. If you had a fleet of high performance Subarus and an eighteen bay shop, you'd have some fun too!)

BRZ's Michelins howl at you in the corners and finally break free progressively and predictably.

Suspension
Both get stabilizer bars front and rear. WRX understeers mildly in most every type of corner, including weird off-camber stuff. BRZ's rear wheel drive allows you to steer a little with the throttle through sharp turns.

REAR:
Double Wishbone with lateral link pillow-ball joint bushing

FRONT:
Strut-type with aluminum lower L-arm with pillow-ball joint bushing


REAR:
Double wishbone

FRONT:
Strut-type with lower L-arm

Trunk
Rear seats can fold down in both cars to accommodate longer items. BRZ trunk is surprisingly capacious for a little coupe, but the opening is narrower than in the WRX. Meet our greeter, Blue, in the WRX, and his little buddy, Pabst, in the BRZ. (You would guess that our third Greeter dog would be named "Ribbon," but it's actually "Milo.")
Rear Seat
WRX swallows up six footers and lots of krap. BRZ grudgingly accepts kids if they have skinny legs.
Front Seats
Both cars offer lateral support galore. BRZ sits very low and requires healthy knees for ingress and egress.
Instruments
WRX looks more whiz-bang, like the cockpit in a video game. BRZ instruments are laid out like a race car with a big tach at dead center.
Pricing

WRX starts at $28,395
See pricing and models.

BRZ starts at $29,745
See pricing and models.

Dynamic Brochures
Video, glossy photos, and spec listings worthy of an eye chart.

WRX

BRZ




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From rally drivers to weekend enthusiasts, lovers of the BRZ and WRX come to Planet Subaru from Boston, Cambridge, Brockton, and Watertown.
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