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Subaru BRZ vs. Subaru WRX: The Tale of Two Titans Explored

In the world of high-performance vehicles, the 2023 Subaru BRZ and WRX are both popular and powerful options. 

Each model possesses unique features without compromising Subaru’s reputation for safety, value, and quality.

The 2023 Subaru BRZ and WRX are budget-friendly sports cars that balance power and performance. With rear-wheel drive and lower curb weight, the BRZ two-door coupe focuses on handling and control. The slightly more powerful WRX sedan boasts all-wheel drive performance and a turbocharged engine. The interior layout and design reflect each model’s distinctive character, with the BRZ’s driver-focused cockpit versus the WRX’s functional and performance-oriented cabin.

In this article, we’ll highlight the key differences between the Subaru BRZ and WRX, including engine specifications, acceleration, handling, aesthetics, interior features, safety, reliability, and overall value for money.

Performance Comparisons

A blue Subaru WRX on the road.

Engine Specifications

The 2023 Subaru BRZ is equipped with a 2.4-liter SUBARU BOXER engine that delivers 228 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. 

The 2023 Subaru WRX features a 2.4-liter direct-injection turbocharged SUBARU BOXER engine, generating 271 horsepower/258 lb-ft of torque.

Each model comes standard with a fully synchronized 6-speed manual transmission, but both the BRZ and the WRX are available in multiple trims.

The BRZ has two trim options, whereas Subaru offers four for the WRZ.  

The BRZ trims can be purchased with a limited automatic, 6-speed transmission at either level.

The top-tier WRX GT boasts a Subaru Performance Transmission, incorporating an eight-speed manual mode, paddle shifters, and Subaru’s Auto Vehicle Hold. 

Acceleration and Top Speed

When it comes to acceleration, the Subaru WRX is generally quicker than the BRZ. 

The WRX can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph (0 to 97 km/h) in around 5 seconds, while the BRZ takes approximately 6 seconds to reach the same speed.

Top speeds are fairly close, with the BRZ maxing out at around 140 mph (225 km/h) and the WRX slightly edging it out at around 145 mph (233 km/h).

Handling and Braking

The Subaru BRZ and WRX are known for their impressive handling characteristics, featuring cutting-edge traction control systems that help ensure maximum grip and optimum handling.

The BRZ has a slight edge in this department – its rear-wheel-drive setup and lower curb weight give it a more agile and nimble feel on the road, not to mention it comes standard with Vehicle Stability Control with Track Mode. 

The WRX holds its own, though. Its all-wheel drive offers superior traction and stability, especially in adverse weather conditions. 

Both models have well-designed braking systems, including Brake Assist technology and a brake override system to ensure safety and provide confident stopping power.

Design and Aesthetics

Exterior Design

The Subaru BRZ showcases a sleek, sporty design appealing to driving enthusiasts. Its low stance, long hood, and fastback roofline catch the eye. 

On the other hand, the Subaru WRX has a more aggressive look, featuring a prominent front grille, flared fenders, and an unmistakable hood scoop for intercooler air intake.

The BRZ’s rear-wheel drive layout gives it a distinctive athletic profile. Furthermore, its LED headlights and taillights complement the overall visual appeal. 

In contrast, the WRX adopts a rally-inspired look, displaying bold details like quad exhaust outlets and an optional rear wing spoiler.

Interior Features

The Subaru BRZ is designed with a driver-focused cockpit.

It offers sport seats with ample bolstering, a flat-bottom steering wheel for enhanced maneuverability, and a customizable interior design for that personalized touch.

While sharing some similarities with the BRZ, the WRX interior – such as sport seats and customizable interiors – leans more toward functionality, incorporating an all-wheel drive layout and an instrument panel displaying crucial performance data.

Both models’ standard Subaru STARLINK Multimedia system features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, wireless Bluetooth pairing, and hands-free smartphone operation. 

However, the WRX takes a slight edge with its larger 11.6-inch (30 cm) touchscreen. 


The BRZ is a two-door coupe with a cozy interior and tight rear seats, ideal for solo drives or outings with a single passenger.

As a four-door sedan, the WRX offers far more passenger space, accommodating up to five people comfortably. 

In addition, the WRX’s trunk capacity is larger than the BRZ’s, offering more cargo space.

Safety and Reliability

A blue Subaru WRX on the road.

Safety Features

The Subaru BRZ and Subaru WRX offer many safety features to protect drivers and passengers, including an extensive set of airbags to prevent collisions and minimize injury when an accident is unavoidable. 

Furthermore, both cars come with Subaru’s advanced EyeSight Driver Assist Technology Package, which offers features like adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, and lane-keep assist. 

This package significantly enhances vehicle safety and takes driver confidence to the next level.

Reliability Ratings

Reliability is essential when purchasing a vehicle, and Subaru has consistently earned high scores in this area.

The BRZ and the WRX are no exceptions, with each model receiving praise for their long-lasting performance and overall dependability. 

While specific ratings may vary slightly between model years, these two Subaru models generally maintain a solid reputation for their build quality and support.

Routine maintenance and timely repairs play a significant role in ensuring the vehicles’ reliability. 

Subaru owners should follow the suggested maintenance schedule and use genuine Subaru parts when replacing components to maintain optimal performance and preserve the vehicles’ longevity. 

Pricing and Value for Money

Base Price Comparison

The Subaru BRZ has a base price of about $29,000, while the Subaru WRX starts at around $30,000. 

Budget-conscious buyers will want to factor in each vehicle’s features and performance capabilities when deciding which sports car offers better value for money. 

The BRZ is a lightweight, rear-wheel-drive coupe known for its precise handling and engaging driving experience. It gets about 30/21 miles per gallon (highway vs. city).

Meanwhile, the WRX is a sporty, all-wheel-drive sedan boasting superior traction and suited for various driving conditions; however, it averages 26/19 mpg, making it slightly less fuel efficient. 

Maintenance Costs

The BRZ and WRX have differing maintenance costs due to engine types and drivetrain layouts. 

With its turbocharged engine, the WRX may require more frequent servicing and specific maintenance procedures.

Additionally, the all-wheel-drive system in the WRX can increase wear and tear on tires and suspension components compared to the BRZ’s rear-wheel-drive configuration.

In general, Subaru vehicles are known for their reliability and longevity. However, prospective buyers should consider maintenance while comparing the BRZ and WRX for overall value for money.


The Subaru BRZ and Subaru WRX are excellent choices for those seeking an affordable and reliable sports car. Each has its unique charms, depending on the preferences and needs of the driver.

Performance: The WRX offers more horsepower and torque than the BRZ.

This results in higher overall performance and faster acceleration. On the other hand, the BRZ is lighter and excels in handling and cornering abilities.

Price: Both cars are priced similarly, providing great value for their respective segments. However, the BRZ is slightly more affordable, particularly in the used car market.

Daily Driving: The WRX comes with all-wheel drive, making it a more practical and versatile choice for various weather conditions.

In contrast, the BRZ features rear-wheel drive, offering a more engaging driving experience at the expense of some practicality.

Both models come with Subaru’s reputation for safety and quality and offer an excellent driving experience without breaking the bank.