So I’m not usually fickle. In fact, I’m about as loyal as it gets. But when I saw the slinky 2015 Subaru BRZ Aozora, in sparkling white pearl with drop-dead black on black alloy wheels, I was pretty much a goner.
Now, your basic BRZ is already the sexiest Subaru you’ve ever seen. But this was one of only 200 special limited edition “Aozora” editions. And not to throw more letters out there, but it also had an STI body kit. Sort of like a haute-couture BRZ, as opposed to an off-the-rack BRZ. Ooo, mama. Wasn’t I going to be travelling in very high style?!
Still, as I slithered into the blue and black driver’s seat, I felt a little guilty. Almost like I was cheating on the Miata. I mean, was it morally acceptable to covet another car when I had promised my heart to the Mazda roadster?
And earlier in the year, I’d had a Toyota Scion FRS. (there’s another bunch of letters for you) The FRS and the BRZ are essentially the same car, known by auto wags as the “Toyobaru.” Since Toyota owns 17% of Fuji, Subaru’s parent company, a team of designers from both shops huddled around a couple of computers and came up with one of the most brilliant small sportscar designs since, well, the Miata.
But I’d had the Scion at the beginning of March, and gotten stuck in a snowstorm. Already, the Subaru had an advantage – better weather, and a limited edition STI kit. Okay, so it was STI in cosmetic terms only, but STILL. It had to be the most provocative set of wheels I’d seen in a while. Glossy white, with a pouty lower lip in front and back, and a blithe low profile spoiler atop the trunk.
Inside, the seats were blue leather with black Alcantara (kinda like Ultrasuede, but flame retardant), and blue stitching. That included the steering wheel – which was blue and black, and nicely devoid of any trappings. In a car like this, you don’t want to be overwhelmed by technology, which detracts from the singular pleasure of driving. So although there was a small touchscreen for navigation, audio and bluetooth, the tech was, thank goodness, minimal.
And the Subaru needed little urging to leap forward – the short-throw six-speed manual shifter felt like an extension of my arm. Giddy-up! As the car surged forward, a ripple of joy shimmied down to my belly. Gears switched in harmony with every breath I took, and I fluttered and exhaled my way down the road. The synchronicity was almost indecent, and every time the car coiled around a curve, a tremulous rush enveloped me.
Completely infatuated, I couldn’t stop driving the Subaru. Even when it was parked in my underground, I made up excuses to take the garbage and recycling downstairs every day. Sometimes, more than once. I couldn’t stop taking pictures of it. I ran out of room on my iPhone. It was almost embarrassing.
Then, a completely unexpected announcement from Sirius. They were launching a Barbra Streisand channel to coincide with the release of her new CD. I have been an unstoppable Streisand freak since the age of 12, and to think that I could drive in this heavenly machine, with non-stop Streisand on the sound system, well, blew what was left of my besotted brain.
And one day, after I had met all my deadlines, I got in the Subaru, turned on the Streisand channel, and drove. For eight hours, I just drove. There, out on the Niagara Escarpment, Streisand surrounded me, accompanied by the smoothly revving engine. This was not just bliss, it was something more. It was a crescendo of machine, song and spirit, climbing into the clouds – an intoxication of happiness. I didn’t want it to end. I didn’t care that I was cheating on the Miata, and that the Scion FRS had never even stood a chance. Twisting into hairpin turns, clambering up hillocks and racing past farmers fields, it was impossible to stay level-headed. Adrenalin buzzed down my spine, and flexed into my arms.
As the sun went down, I coaxed myself and the BRZ into a U-turn, and headed east. Not quite into the sunset, but homeward, where a bottle of strong Zubrowka vodka waited for me.
From Aozora to Zubrowka, it was one hell of a car.
And one day, we will meet again.
Maybe … in a March snowstorm, so I can REALLY compare it with its Toyota cousin.