When we think of sports coupes our bank balances quiver in fear. Images of stunning “mean machines” spring to mind, like Ferraris and Lamborghinis, with price tags more than a 3 bedroom house in some parts of the country.
Venturing down the scale slightly the German’s are dominant. Cars like the Mercedes CLS or the Porsche Carrera, or the BMW 6 Series. Although considerably cheaper than the Ferraris of the world, none of the German engineering marvels can be bought from new for under about £50,000. Which leaves you with a dilemma. Do I buy a 2-3 year old version or do I look beyond the “usual” contenders to see if there is an exciting sports coupes which will not break the bank. Even the very stylish Alpha Romeo C4 Spider is almost £60k, so it is not the easiest of tasks.
Finding a 2 seat sporty car is easy, the Mazda MX5, or the Lotus Elise, or even the Peugeot CRZ at a push are 3 examples you could add to the list without even thinking. As for a 4 seat hot hatch – the only one which is over £30k is the A Class Merc with all the extras. There is even a wide variety of sporty saloon cars to choose from, some even have a passing resemblance to a coupe, however a real 4 seat coupe is far harder. Having discounted the Honda CR-Z with its 1.5l hybrid engine and a 0-60 of almost 10 seconds, it is so difficult that we only have 3!
Firstly there is the Audi TT. There are no doubts in anyone’s mind that Audi make excellent cars, the Audi TT range is beautiful to look at, expertly engineered and exciting to drive. Yet, with a maximum of £30k in your back pocket, you would have to look at an entry level Audi TT 1.8. If you are looking at this sort of price tag you really want a car with a bit more get up and go than a nippy Ford Fiesta. So what are we left with? Well what is on offer is actually more exciting that you might imagine.
Subaru BRZ 2.0 SE Lux
This sexy Subaru is the main contender, with its only true rival being the Toyota GT. The paper stats on both cars are virtually identical. If one were to use an old fashioned and “non-pc” expression, there is hardly a “fag paper” between them. Their price points are almost identical too at just below £25,000 – yes that is right, under £25,000 and they are both beautiful to drive, however that is hardly surprising given that they are made in the same factory!
Subaru earned its racing stripes in the world of rally driving, where it reigned supreme for many years. The Subaru love affair faded slightly in the late 90s and early ’00 as they brought out a succession of cars which were brilliant to drive, very comfortable inside, but looks wise – well you wouldn’t cross the road for a second glance.
The BRZ has changed all that. As you can see, it is stunning but it was developed as part of a joint project with another Japanese automotive superpower – Toyota. Subaru had all the engineering knowhow and gravitas when it came to producing a classic sports car, whereas Toyota were far better at producing cars which looked appealing to the mass market audience they wanted to attract. Toyota’s designers produced their GT for the mass market, which Subaru wanted to regain its slightly more up market appeal, so too the Toyota mould and morphed it with the Porsche Cayman – which they used as their benchmark car, to create the BRZ. The styling is sensational, both inside and out.
In terms of performance and handling, well it is not a Porsche, yet is it nimble and responsive and a joy to drive. Subaru has done for “Sports Coupes” what Mazda MX5 did Roadsters and brought the fun and joy to the masses. This is the type of car to put a smile on your face without the jaw dropping price tag.