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Old 04-10-2019, 08:23 PM   #1
imprezive
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Am I blinded by infatuation?

Cliff notes: I really want a BRZ, but it may not be the most practical choice for me. Anybody buy one against their better judgement? Happy with the decision? Regrets?

Long Version: I bought my first car when I was 17. I saved up $4000 of my own money (Actual work, not allowance or anything like). It was a 2000 Subaru Impreza 2.5RS. I modified it pretty heavily. I did a lot of stupid things to it and learned a lot in the process. As I started to figure things out I started to AutoX it. I had a lot of good times in that car and really loved it. I later "upgraded" to a 2005 Saab 9-2x Aero. It was already modified by the previous owner. It was fast, but more supple. Leather, smoother ride, etc. I enjoyed that car too, but only owned if for about a year. It was getting too expensive for me. My life was changing. I wanted to buy a house and focus on more "mature" things.

I sold it and bought a Toyota Corolla. I've been driving it for the past 10 years. About year ago I started to get the itch to get something sportier. I've become infatuated with the BRZ. I think it is one of the most beautiful affordable cars in decades. I love the focus on making a lightweight RWD "driver's car". I love the focus on a low center of gravity and handling. I love it all! Until I drove it......the torque dip I've been reading about for months is very very real. It was shocked at how neutered the engine felt...(my stock MY2000 2.5RS had more torque!)...despite this, I still really want the BRZ. My true budget is closer to $35k, so I know I can sufficiently modify it to bring the engine to life....but should I?

I drive about 25k miles a year. 90% of the driving is on straight Florida highways. If I buy the BRZ, I'll probably AutoX it 2-4 times a year. Not to be competitive,just for fun. I might take it up to GA/NC maybe once a year. Besides on-ramps, I'll rarely get to enjoy the handling prowess that makes it such a special vehicle.

Maybe it is time for more of a "highway cruiser"? The Toyota Camry XSE and Lexus IS350 F Sport are also on my radar. The latter would have to be used and they are hard to come by. I also considered the WRX and even test drove one. The engine is certainly a high point, but they've become so bloated they just feel heavy to me. (My 2.5RS only weighed 2800 lbs)

Do I relive my youth and spend my $$$ on tuning a beautiful car I will rarely get to utilize in its natural habitat (mountain roads and racetracks) or do I just embrace driving a "cruiser" with some more ponies under the hood?

Thoughts and experiences welcome!
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Old 04-10-2019, 08:35 PM   #2
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Buy it!


I, like you, do a lot of commuting and kind of thought I might regret getting my 86. I absolutely do not, it makes my commute fun even on what was previously boring long freeway shots it is just a really engaging car. I have also started autoxing it and plan to do so a few times a year like you. It's really great for autox and while you can mod the crap out of it if you want to, it's also great totally stock (just replace the tires).


I've owned an IS350 F Sport before (2 years/40k miles from new) and while it's a comfy car for the commute and in general it's a really good car, I like my 86 a lot more. It's a car that has a soul, a car you will fall in love with. A car that isn't practical, isn't comfortable, isn't quiet, has a crappy stereo, rattles and clanks and bangs, doesn't get girls, doesn't impress anyone, isn't fast, isn't fancy, but... you will not care one bit about any of that anymore once you get one.


There is a video ad they had that i've never seen aired, but you can find on youtube were they say... it's not for picking up your mom, it's not for getting groceries... and just goes through all the things it's not for then ends as 'the toyota 86... it's not for everyone'.


This is a car that either you get or you don't get, but it sounds like you do.... give it a shot and I promise you will fall in love.
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Old 04-10-2019, 08:48 PM   #3
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Buy it!

This is a car that either you get or you don't get, but it sounds like you do.... give it a shot and I promise you will fall in love.
David, you sir, are speaking my language. You also sound like the kind of friend who encourages you to do stupid things...but those are my favorite type of friends!

I really don't care about leather and all the other amenities. I've always driven rattle-boxes. Never bothered me. I barely even listen to the radio. The "soul" of a car is hugely important! The one hang up is the power. I would like just a little more for the highway....
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Old 04-10-2019, 09:36 PM   #4
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Isnt the new generation is350 almost 4k pounds?
I actually like how the 86 cruises. I'm the type to have cruise control on at 5 over the speed limit tho.
Do header plus tune. I just did it and makes the car exciting to drive.
$35k is a lot of money. You have more options with that budget. Lightly used camaro ss? You can modify a wrx to "feel" lighter.
Other options: mustang gt, used evo, 370z, used IS-F, even the new veloster n seems cool despite fwd.
There's really no other option that is exactly like an 86. If you love everything about these cars but not the power. I recommend a supercharger.
For me, headers plus tune keeps me satisfied until I can get something else. You actually kinda get put back into your seat with just uel headers plus tune. I also felt the stock twins to be lacking in the power department but can't really talk to other twins owners about it without them getting triggered.
People on here are usually the "this car is fast if you disagree you can't drive" type.
Seems like you love the twins. I say go for it!
With some mods it really is the perfect car.
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Old 04-10-2019, 09:52 PM   #5
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Isnt the new generation is350 almost 4k pounds?
You have more options with that budget. Lightly used camaro ss? You can modify a wrx to "feel" lighter.
Other options: mustang gt, used evo, 370z, used IS-F, even the new veloster n seems cool despite fwd.
Yes the the IS350 is very heavy. Even in the F Sport trim, I don't really consider it to be a "sports sedan". With the Camry or Lexus I would be accepting them for what they are; commuter cars.

BRZ and WRX both have a lot potential with some fairly simple mods.

I basically won't buy anything that isn't a Honda, Toyota, or Subaru for reliabilty reasons. Although, my wife just had a good idea; doing a high-mileage lease on a Golf R. She's a keeper!
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Old 04-10-2019, 10:06 PM   #6
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Yes the the IS350 is very heavy. Even in the F Sport trim, I don't really consider it to be a "sports sedan". With the Camry or Lexus I would be accepting them for what they are; commuter cars.

BRZ and WRX both have a lot potential with some fairly simple mods.

I basically won't buy anything that isn't a Honda, Toyota, or Subaru for reliabilty reasons. Although, my wife just had a good idea; doing a high-mileage lease on a Golf R. She's a keeper!
Have you considered a Civic Si. Cool cars, with a bit more torque for what you'd want.

If you can live with the torque dip of the 86/BRZ.. you will never get bored of the car, especially since the aftermarket is huge.

WRX is very family car-ish, and the Golf R is kind of a blob.

But if you want to feel fast, I strongly recommend a Mustang Ecoboost. Literally more than double the torque of a twin.
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Old 04-10-2019, 10:06 PM   #7
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Yes the the IS350 is very heavy. Even in the F Sport trim, I don't really consider it to be a "sports sedan". With the Camry or Lexus I would be accepting them for what they are; commuter cars.

BRZ and WRX both have a lot potential with some fairly simple mods.

I basically won't buy anything that isn't a Honda, Toyota, or Subaru for reliabilty reasons. Although, my wife just had a good idea; doing a high-mileage lease on a Golf R. She's a keeper!
I wouldn't believe what you hear about reliability for other brands. American cars can be reliable too. Every automaker has good and bad cars. Did you know toyota has a bad wrap for head gaskets for Tacoma and 4runners in 2005. They arent helping owners out with the bill either even though they know it is a problem.
I understand where you are coming from though. Whenever I tell my parents how I want something that isn't Japanese (mustang gt) they tell me about the bad stories from back in the day about American cars.
I love wrx's. Have always wanted one. I especially like the previous generation ones even though they have issues with the ej25. It's a type of car you know has issues but you love anyways lol
I dont think you can go wrong with either the 86 or the wrx. You got the money to drop on mods so they will both be perfect no matter what in my opinion.
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Old 04-10-2019, 10:24 PM   #8
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Have you considered a Civic Si. Cool cars, with a bit more torque for what you'd want.

If you can live with the torque dip of the 86/BRZ.. you will never get bored of the car, especially since the aftermarket is huge.

WRX is very family car-ish, and the Golf R is kind of a blob.

But if you want to feel fast, I strongly recommend a Mustang Ecoboost. Literally more than double the torque of a twin.
The look of the current generation of Hondas makes me . Just my personal opinion. Would also like to avoid FWD, if possible.

The Golf R is kinda blob-ish, but it has a blend of power, not FWD, DD comfort, and "maturity" I appreciate.

The Ecoboost Mustangs are very nice. I'm not defending this as logical, I just can't own a Ford. Too many negative personal experiences.

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I wouldn't believe what you hear about reliability for other brands. American cars can be reliable too. Every automaker has good and bad cars. Did you know toyota has a bad wrap for head gaskets for Tacoma and 4runners in 2005. They arent helping owners out with the bill either even though they know it is a problem.
I understand where you are coming from though.

I dont think you can go wrong with either the 86 or the wrx. You got the money to drop on mods so they will both be perfect no matter what in my opinion.
I always research to make sure that a "good" company's car isn't a bad apple, cause they do happen on occasion. I know anecdotal evidence isn't the same as empirical and every company produces some cars that are excellent. I've just had too many personal (or family/friends) negative experiences with American cars and a nearly perfect history with Toyota/Subaru.

I appreciate your opinion. I agree that I can't go wrong with the BRZ or WRX, I'm just little scared about how underwhelmed I was with my first impression of the BRZ engine.
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Old 04-10-2019, 10:34 PM   #9
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I appreciate your opinion. I agree that I can't go wrong with the BRZ or WRX, I'm just little scared about how underwhelmed I was with my first impression of the BRZ engine.
I personally think you should get a more powerful car within the price bracket. Unless you're okay with modifying the car to have more power/torque, you'll also have to accept the possibility reduced reliability or introduction of other variables you may not have had to worry about on an otherwise stock vehicle.

Edit: or drive it again, and hopefully, drive it a lot harder... 4.5k+ RPM.
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Old 04-10-2019, 10:52 PM   #10
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Drive it again with the driver aids off (hold TC for 5secs) and focus more on the turns. Also, test drive the manual. AT has longer gearing from the IS250.
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Old 04-10-2019, 11:22 PM   #11
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I've been toying with the idea of trading in my brz, but everytime I go to even look at other cars, I don't even feel like test driving them. The only reason I can think of to trade it in is to get a different color...maybe a special edition or something like one with the PP pack just for giggles. Its been the best car I've ever had I think. And while I can't fit many people in it, its been super practical for me...two weeks ago, went to home depot and brought home 6 bags of mulch, some tools, several plants, and some bags of pond pebbles with not problem...that and since I have the hitch, I carry my bikes to the trails and sometimes take a friend too. Heck, I've even taken my daughter up to her college with pretty much her entire dorm room necessities/clothes/etc...(no furniture though) but I could have probably taken that if I used the hitch if it had been necessary :P

REally wish they'd bring that green edition with the caramel leather, PP pack and AT all together. I'd sooo trade in mine for that!
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Old 04-10-2019, 11:30 PM   #12
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I personally think you should get a more powerful car within the price bracket. Unless you're okay with modifying the car to have more power/torque, you'll also have to accept the possibility reduced reliability or introduction of other variables you may not have had to worry about on an otherwise stock vehicle.

Edit: or drive it again, and hopefully, drive it a lot harder... 4.5k+ RPM.
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Drive it again with the driver aids off (hold TC for 5secs) and focus more on the turns. Also, test drive the manual. AT has longer gearing from the IS250.
I will drive it again and I'm looking to find somebody local who has a modified one and would be willing to take me for a spin. I drove a manual and took it to 7k RPM 1st-3rd gear about 3 times, but there were no real turns on the test drive route. And since I'm not really comfortable with the car yet, I didn't want to give the poor sales guys a heart attack by trying to break the tail loose in a corner. Lol.

If I get the BRZ the whole point is to modify it. That's part of fun! I accept that this involves a certain level of compromise and even unpredictability, but I'd like to maintain some DD reliability and comfort.
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Old 04-10-2019, 11:31 PM   #13
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You can modify these cars to fill in the midrange torque dip (specifically e85 and the right header), but why not buy a Miata RF instead? It has a better torque to weight ratio, and the chassis is similarly lightweight, balanced and RWD. If that doesn't have enough midrange punch for you, you can also consider the turbocharged Fiat 124 abarth.

If you like the lightweight RWD formula, I'd consider either of those before jumping weight classes to a 370z or heavier (Mustang, etc.)
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Old 04-10-2019, 11:40 PM   #14
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You can modify these cars to fill in the midrange torque dip (specifically e85 and the right header), but why not buy a Miata RF instead? It has a better torque to weight ratio, and the chassis is similarly lightweight, balanced and RWD. If that doesn't have enough midrange punch for you, you can also consider the turbocharged Fiat 124 abarth.

If you like the lightweight RWD formula, I'd consider either of those before jumping weight classes to a 370z or heavier (Mustang, etc.)
Storage space. I have to transport certain things for work and they fit comfortably in the BRZ , not so much in the Miata. And IMHO the ascetics of the BRZ is head an shoulders above the Miata.
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