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Driven by the Love of the Drive
June 1, 2012Posted by on
Enough beating around the bush, let’s see what the BRZ is like on the types of roads this thing was made for.
It’s brilliant. The end. Oh, you want more? Okay. Well, first let me illustrate that the “winding road” I went for a drive on is a horrible place to drive a car with any sort of sporting intentions. Reasons include the houses, narrowness, blind corners, and most importantly the droves of pedestrians and hikers that think it’s their right to be walking in the middle of the road. And then when you slow down to about 2mph to pass them, they still give you the sort of dirty looks that tell you you don’t belong on their *sidewalk*. Anyway, to prevent this post from becoming a full-blown rant let’s move on.
Nothing new to report here, in the brief stints in between runners I did get to get on it, the car felt exactly as it does in normal traffic, just turned up to about 8. The feeling of lightness becomes a lot more prevalent when the pace is upped. The car just simply turns in with ease, and fells almost as it’s gliding through a corner. It’s such an odd and rewarding feeling when comparing it to how the big-brute WRX felt on this same road. The one thing that has shocked me is how little this thing actually rolls in corners. Yes, there is an initial roll on turn-in, but it lasts for a split-second and then the car hunkers down and gets on with the business with turning. This low-roll feel, combined with the excellent seats means you can concentrate so much more on the corner itself. And in turn, it means you have the confidence to push harder. And the great thing about that is, even if you’re going harder, the car is never scary. I think the only other time I’ve felt this completely confident on that road was in my CRX. It’s a wonderful feeling, not having to fear driving as much due to the size/weight/power of your car. And it’s a feeling I think that many people neglect, and in turn gets them in trouble. In Joey’s perfect world, everyone would be forced to learn to drive a BRZ, FR-S, or Miata on a winding road before they’d ever be allowed to buy an STI, EVO, or GT-R.
Some other random observations:
-All modes of the traction and stability control are too intrusive in my opinion. Even VSC Sport mode, which is supposed to allow you some slip, cut in way too early most of the time. If you know a bit about proper driving technique, then the BRZ shouldn’t need any of these systems. The handling limits are so easy and approachable that if you really didn’t want the rear to step out, you’d prevent it before it ever happened. You don’t need an electric nanny telling you, violently, that it might happen. In a car that the engineers lauded for it’s simplicity, I’m really surprised this traction control system made the cut. Oh well, I guess it’s a necessary evil of the modern world. And of course, you can always turn it all off.
– Remember how I said the car’s power is adequate? Well I still stand by that fact, although I will admit that if you’re on a mountain road (read: hills), and are in the wrong gear, then you might get frustrated. But it’s just a downshift or two away from not being a problem. Honestly, the car feels perfect in 2nd and 3rd, no need to go any higher on a really tight road.
As I said before, it’s hard to push it on a road when you’re worrying if there’s an old lady walking her dog on the other side of a blind corner, so I drove if anything at 50%, maybe lower than that. I personally do not have the confidence, and gusto, to drive fast on a public road anyway, so again adequate winding-road test comments are not going to be provided today. BUT, I think it’s really telling that even at 45%, a car can make you giggle like a little school-girl because it feels like the tail wants to step out. The tail never does break into a D1 caliber slide, but it feels like it wants to do that. And in the end, isn’t that what it’s all about (on the road)?