2013 Subaru BRZ vs. 2013 Nissan 370Z Coupe

By Emme Hall.

Today’s comparo might seem a little unfair. We’re taking a look at the 2013 Subaru BRZ and the 2013 Nissan 370Z Coupe. I can hear the complaining now…”But the Z has so much more power than the BRZ! This isn’t fair!” You can’t argue with the specs but the little Subie has a few tricks in its tires that make these two more comparable than the specs would indicate.

The BRZ is a rear wheel drive 4 seater (although the back is not suitable for adults, or kids, or dogs, or anything more than your groceries) with a 2.0L horizontally opposed boxer 4 cylinder engine. This little guy pumps out 200 horsepower and 151 lb/ft of torque. A six-speed manual is standard but for those of you willing to commit sports car sacrilege, an automatic is available. The manual gets you to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds, the automatic in 7.9. EPA fuel ratings are 22 mpg in the city, 30 mpg on the highway and 25 mpg combined with the manual and 25/34/28 with the automatic.

2013 Subaru BRZ

The BRZ comes in two trim levels: Premium and Limited. The Premium gets you 17” wheels rolling on summer tires, keyless entry, power accessories, cruise control, air conditioning, a nifty height adjustable driver’s seat, navigation with real time traffic, Bluetooth, satellite radio, and iPod connectivity. Most importantly, the Premium trim level gives you a limited-slip rear differential. The Limited trim adds a few touches like heated front seats, a rear spoiler, keyless ignition, faux suede and leather upholstery, and foglamps.

The 2013 Subaru BRZ is an incredibly rewarding car to drive. The engine is placed in the car for effective weight distribution, and at only 2700 pounds, the car is light enough to toss around corners with gleeful abandon. Unlike its sister the FR-S, the BRZ’s suspension is tuned a bit more stoically, so it’s less likely to step out on you. Steering is very communicative telling you exactly how much grip your tires have. It’s quick, responsive, and exhilarating.

The BRZ is not a drag strip demon. It’s a car that is made for the twisties. The Torsen limited-slip is the same found in the high performance STI. This keeps you on your line when tearing through a corner, while enhancing your comfort and stability. This is a must for any sports car and Subaru was right to include it as standard.

2014 Nissan 370Z

The 2013 Nissan 370Z is also a rear wheel drive coupe, although Nissan left out the useless backseats, so this is a two seater only. You’ll get a 3.7L V6 engine producing 332 horsepower and 270 lb/ft of torque. A six speed manual transmission is standard, although you can still get a seven speed automatic if that’s your bag. With the Sport package the 2013 Nissan 370Z coupe scoots to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds, much quicker than the BRZ. EPA fuel ratings are 18 mpg in the city, 26 mpg on the highways, and 21 mpg with the manual. The automatic returns 19/26/22. There is a 370Z Roadster available returning a slightly higher 0-60 time and a slightly worse fuel rating.

The 370Z is available in two different trim lines. A 370Z Nismo is also available, but is not included in this comparo. The base 370Z comes with 18” wheels, keyless entry and ignition, cruise control, automatic climate control, an 8 way adjustable driver’s seat, and leather wrapped steering wheel.

The Touring trim level adds heated seats, Bluetooth, satellite radio, leather and faux suede upholstery, and an 8-speaker Bose sound system. You can add a Navigation package to the Touring, which gets you a touchscreen NAV system with real time traffic and weather, iPod connectivity, and a rear view camera.

You can add the Sport package to either trim line, adding 19” wheels, upgraded brakes and suspension, front and rear spoilers, a SynchroRev Match manual transmission, and a limited-slip differential.

2013 Subaru BRZ

While the 2013 Subaru BRZ puts all its eggs in one corner carver basket, the 370Z can handle the twisties and the straight lines. The 5.1-second 0-60 time puts it on a par with larger muscle cars, yet it still has that nimble quality that makes you want to take it to the limit on an autocross course. Steering is very quick and precise and the rev matching will impress any potential dates you might have in the passenger seat. “Are you a race car driver? Because your rev matching is impeccable!”

The 370Z also comes with a limited-slip rear differential. The difference here is that you’ll be paying mucho more money for it. The Premium BRZ, where the LSD is standard, starts at $25,495. The Limited trim at $27,495. The 370Z base starts at $33,120, Touring at $37,820. Want the LSD? The Base + Sport starts at $36,150 and Touring + Sport at $40,850.

2014 Nissan 370Z

I’m not arguing that the BRZ is a better car here. The 2013 Nissan 370Z coupe mops the floor with it when it comes to straight-line performance. But get them on Mulholland drive and they are pretty equal. In terms of value, the BRZ is the winner. For $8655 less, the BRZ is just as tossable, just as fun in the curves as the 370Z. And you even have room for your groceries.

(Note: All vehicles provided by manufacturers for comparison test purposes. Photos provided by Nissan and Subaru.)