What is it?
Yoshio Hirakawa – the man responsible for the development, testing and production of both coupés – was adamant throughout development that the Subaru should be the more focused of the duo, so he ensured that the BRZ received slightly sharper steering, a keener front end and better high-speed damping than the more ‘luxurious’ GT86. And in our minds, it has always been the purest distillation of what the ‘Toyobaru’ should be.
But for the majority of buyers, superior dynamics will always come second to a better-equipped cabin, a longer warranty and increased refinement, so it came as little surprise that the plusher Toyota, with the added advantage of a widespread dealership network and a slick advertising campaign, outsold its more focused sibling by roughly five to one.
However, Subaru, not one to lie down without a fight (the company did win three World Rally Championship titles, after all), is back with a comprehensive mid-life facelift that promises to build on what we already love about the current car – namely, that great chassis and characterful engine – and to rectify the poor ride quality and a distinctly spartan interior that we're not so keen on.
Therefore, on the inside, a compact 4.2in screen has been added to the old-school instrument panel, there's a new, smaller-diameter steering wheel similar to that applied to the GT86 and the interior now features Alcantara throughout. And for the first time, all BRZs now receive a 6.1in touchscreen with a Bluetooth-compatible system that acts as the single interface for everything from sat-nav (optional) to smartphones.
On the outside, the changes are less obvious: new headlights now feature different day-time running lights, the front bumper gets redesigned side vents and the bootlid gets a tacked-on rear wing. Small changes no doubt, but to these eyes at least, the overall aesthetic is distinctly sharper and more cohesive than Toyota’s effort.