By on May 4, 2012
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Motor Trend had Randy Pobst take the Ford Mustang V6 and the Subaru BRZ out on track. With predictable results.

I’ve yet to drive the BRZ, but I have driven all versions of the Mustang. I love the look, the sound and the performance, but I’ve never been entirely comfortable driving them at speed. It’s more likely a reflection of my own limitations and biases than the car’s capabilities, but I the Mustang’s steering feel and overall heft never really gelled with me on track, though the power has always been there. I feel far more comfortable behind the wheel of a Hyundai Genesis or BMW 3-Series in those environments. That said, the Mustang is far and away my favorite pony car. A V6 Mustang, despite its quantitative superiority over many similarly-priced cars, would never make my list of “must haves” but add two cylinders, and the extra expense, fuel consumption and weight over the front tires suddenly becomes worth it just for the sound alone.

 

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52 Comments on “Motor Trend Pits Ford Mustang V6 Versus Subaru BRZ...”


  • avatar
    lzaffuto

    Everyone talks about how the Toyobaru’s Prius-sourced tires make it more fun to drive (hello, mild oversteer) but probably hold it back in the handling department. What kind of tires come on the Mustang and Genesis? Are they comparable or better?

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      This Mustang has Pirelli PZero 255/40/ZR19 (track pack equipped). The BRZ has a summer tire in a 215/45/17 that is offered on the Japanese performance package Prius (Michelin Primacy HP). I’ll have to look them up on Tirerack and compare, but most things I’ve read indicate that the Pirelli is much more aggressive.

      edit: Tire rack says Goodyear Eagle F1… dunno who is right.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Well it looked good on paper.

      More Japanese car hype?

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Ford needs to really think hard which way they’re gonna take the next gen Mustang, keep the same size and weight or lose both weight and girth and work on making the suspension more like the Toyosub or keep it the way it is.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      They’ve already said it would be smaller and lighter. How small and how light?–Who knows–but given the performance of the current model and the looks of the Evos design concept I think the next one will be very, very good.

  • avatar

    I’m excited to test drive the BRZ and FRS. Even though I drive big sedans, I – along with my uncles REBUILD and TURBOCHARGE Ford Capris for racing purposes using import parts from Australia and Germany. I’m wondering if these cars have what it takes to be the next Toyota Supras.

  • avatar
    rentonben

    I’m glad that this Toyota/Subaru exists, but it reminds me of all the praise the Mitsubishi Zero got: Other than getting it’s pilots killed in large numbers, the Zero is an excellent and ballanced plane.

    Other than going slowly around the racetrack and getting beaten to the lane-merge by a Buick Regal, the Toyota is an excellent and balanced car.

    • 0 avatar
      Amendment X

      It’s not all about the numbers. The auto industry has been chasing them for decades and all we’ve gotten is more of everything except driver feedback.

      It’s a shock that Toyota, of all, decided to go the minimalist route but I praise them for it.

      • 0 avatar

        I second that.

      • 0 avatar
        MeaCulpa

        That’s some damn fine reasoning. Most family sedans already delivers speed and acceleration that’s far beyond beyond the limits of what an average driver could safely explore on public roads. The point of a sports car should be driving for sport, not ultimate performance, more feedback, less weight and smaller engines should be the way forward for sportscars and hot hatches. A late model BMW 330 probably beats the snot out of an MKI VW GTI or Pug 205 Gti, in every measurable metric except weight. But is it more fun on a twisty road? Hell no!
        The Toybaru seems like a proper sports car that’s acceptable for everyday use and priced at a point that’s make’s it attainable for “regular folks”, I hope that it gets more competitors than the Miata.

      • 0 avatar
        sastexan

        +1

    • 0 avatar
      Brian E

      That Regal GS might theoretically have more power, but you’ll look like an ass if you’re trying to use it all the time on the street. The thing I like about my TSX is that I can enjoy using all of the car’s power and ability at reasonable speeds on real roads. I still don’t know what I’d do with more power other than end up in a tree or with a suspended license. To me, the BRZ sounds just about perfect and I’m really looking forward to driving one.

  • avatar
    grzydj

    The only quantifiable internet bench racing metric you can apply to win a race on the internet is HP. Internet bench racers all across the intertubes will “win” every race as they squabble for internet bench racing supremacy.

    And since this is the internet and all, the BRZ is a complete and utter failure in every measurable aspect, simply because it doesn’t have enough HP.

    Right?

    Full disclosure: I haven’t driven either car, but I have driven a Mustang in GT4 so I know what I am talking about.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      If we’re going with games than I’ve driven a Toyota FRSBRZ and a V8 Premium Mustang in GT5, the Mustang felt a tad slow but in the corners the FRS excels.

  • avatar
    rochskier

    The Mustang is begging for IRS and tighter tuning while the Subaru cries out for a turbocharger.

    151 lbs-ft of torque makes me LOL. NA Mitsubishi 4G63s were making around that figure in 1991. My turbo’d Eagle Talon Tsi AWD made 190 lb-ft.

    Finally, I agree with the author there is nothing like the sound of 8-cylinder Detroit iron under the hood, particularly when you’re looking to storm an on-ramp and barrel down the highway.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      The 1991 2 liter DOHC 16-valve naturally aspirated Eclipse made 125 lbs/ft at 3,000 rpm. At its 6,000 rpm 135 horsepower peak, the 4G63 was producing 118 ft-lbs. The BRZ is still making 150 ft-lbs at 7,000 rpm, explaining the 48% power increase over the Mitsubishi.

    • 0 avatar
      wmba

      My 1990 Talon AWD turbo had 195 hp and 203 lb-ft of torque. It weighed 3350 lb (there was iron girderwork under that thing) and has a gearshift I despised, clonk bang grind. I keep copies of tests from C/D for all my cars, and the BRZ has almost identical acceleration and top speed numbers, but a gearshift to praise, better seats etc.

      That car cost me $25K plus tax in 1990, the Subaru is $29K and has no turbo or AWD.

      Nevertheless, progress has been made. V6 Mustangs interest me not one whit.

      • 0 avatar
        Detroit-Iron

        25k in 1990 dollars? That is roughly $45k in 2012 according to Tom’s inflation calculator. $45k gets you into a whole different class of cars, not even counting air bags, abs, and traction control.

      • 0 avatar
        rochskier

        The Talon should’ve weighed a little over 3100 lbs and cost you $20k + tax. There is a complete weight breakdown over at DSM Tuners.

        Agreed about the Talon long-throw shift and clutch arm combined with the super short engagement window. You had to be a pro to drive that thing smoothly. I liked the Talon seats and haven’t sat in the BRZ, so I can’t speak to that.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        I was selling against Talons back then, I don’t remember any of them going for $25K (in 1991 dollars). They were a worthy competitor to the Celicas we sold. IIRC, the AWD Turbo Celica-4 was close to $25, but that was a rare bird, indeed.

      • 0 avatar
        wmba

        Sorry, $25k was the Canadian price, I see the US price was $20k or bit more if you got the joke called a sunroof. 3100 lbs was registered weight (1406) kg it says here. Usually way light for minimizing annual registration fees. Add all fluids and a tank of gas at the very least.

      • 0 avatar
        rochskier

        One more thing I forgot, the Chrysler/Eagle print adverts of the day compared the top spec Talon to the similarly performing, much more expensive Porsche 944. There used to be a scan of this over at the now defunct DSM.org. I also had a copy, but I seem to have thrown it out.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    1.5 seconds slower around the track than a car with an optional track package and 100 more hp. Not bad at all.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      1.5 seconds could be in the tires.

    • 0 avatar
      stryker1

      … with a driver who is trying to narrate while driving, for a publication that knows which side of the narrative its bread is buttered on (the fanbois aren’t interested in hearing about how the mustang is faster than their new jesus-car).

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        Look, someone thinks he is Jack Baruth. If they really wanted to get the page clicks they’d have sandbagged the Mustang with a non-trackpack version so the BRZ would be faster.

      • 0 avatar
        stryker1

        If thought I was Jack Baruth I’d have kicked it off with some made up stories about my latest sexual conquests.

  • avatar
    Advance_92

    It’s a different design philosophy requiring different driving techniques. Much like the difference between a Zero and a P40.

  • avatar
    jeremy1001

    Having that Subaru would be great, but I think if I were going to drive it and use it everyday I would probably get the mustang.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Very cool, and informative. I’m a guy where esthetics,mean a lot. While I’m not crazy about the 2013 Mustang looks,IMHO it beats the Subie in that department.

    I own a 2008 4 litre Mustang,and I love it. That being said, I don’t think it has the “driving dynamics” of my the 2000 3.8 Firebird that it replaced.

    However the automotive world has changed, and that Subie sounds like a real “drivers” car. The Subie could probably wipe the floor against both cars. Wouldn’t it be sweet with a drop top?

    Though, this old guy is going to keep his Mustang.

  • avatar
    mitchw

    Is there another car on the ‘tubes getting as much chatter as this 86? Standing ovation for the marketing department.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Holy high belt line Batman. The bottom of the driver’s window is at his shoulder!

  • avatar
    daveainchina

    @Derek

    I’m not one to usually complain about typos. I know I make quite a few but sometimes I come across one I find rather jarring.

    “but I the Mustang’s steering feel and overall”

    Think you could take a look at that and fix it Derek?

    Interesting, I think that if I was to buy one of these 2 cars, I’d have to decide based on which one I sat in and felt more comfortable. IE which one fit me better and less about which one drives better as I think they are both great cars for the money.

  • avatar
    vanpressburg

    BRZ seems to be a great car, but does it have enough space inside?
    G37 coupe is 182 cm wide, but surprisingly very small inside.
    (Much smaller than G37 sedan)
    BRZ is 177cm wide, how much space (width) does it have inside?

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      Yes. I sat in one at the New York show. I’m 6’2″ 280 lbs with my height bias toward my torso and the toyobaru was pretty roomy. Foot box space was good as well. My only complaint was the leading edge of the roof was a bit like pulling a ball cap down Headroom was less than the Mustang but better than the current Camaro.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    In a way I’m glad to see the Mustang getting some internet love, but it doesn’t appear to be the best candidate. I’d think that the Camaro w/V6 (and the IRS setup) would be functionally closer to the BRZ mobile. Just as it was 25-30 years ago, the live axle in the Mustang causes handling deficits. Granted, the Camaro is heavier and the Mustang V6 is probably much closer in curb weight to the BRZ.

    I tend to think that both cars reflect the sets of priorities that was established for the cars. As it is now, the vast majority of my driving is commuting, so neither one of these cars really is on my radar. It would be fun to find out which one I liked better.

    I’m glad we have this level of choice. Who’d thought that a V6 Mustang would be worthy of all of the comparisons it gets just 5 years ago?

  • avatar
    msquare

    First, the Japanese felt early in the war that speed, range and maneuverability were more important in a fighter plane than the ability to take a hit. Made sense against the far weaker air forces they were facing before they tangled with us. Adapting combat tactics to the strengths of our planes (better armor protection, faster dive speed) forced the Japanese to change their minds and later models of the Zero were stouter.

    Still, Allied pilots knew better than to get into a low-speed dogfight with a Zero.

    But they were also obsolete by then. Better fighter designs were in production but constant Allied bombing slowed deliveries to a trickle. So Zeros had to carry on. Also, American turbocharging technology gave all our aircraft, especially bombers, far superior high-altitude performance.

    But that was 70 years ago. As the philosophies apply to cars, Carroll Shelby says to the present day that he prefers the 289 Cobra over the 427. The 427 is faster outright, but the 289 is better balanced and no slouch itself in terms of performance. The BRZ/FR-S would be in a different racing class than any Mustang, but could still give them a run for their money.

    You really can’t go wrong either way, but you certainly should expect to see completely different approaches to achieving similar criteria.

  • avatar
    raph

    Will be interesting to see how things ahake out in C&D’s Lightning Lap. If the Mustang and Toyobaru mix it up again since they break VIR down into sectors.

    Also can’t wait to see the bigger is better tire crowd get ahold of the twins. IMO part of the crisp steering response comes from the dainty tires and slapping on bigger rollers dulls that.

  • avatar
    panzerfaust

    You know if you’re going to use aviation metaphors, maybe it should be the Kawanishi N1K-J Shiden (Violet Lightening) vs. the P-51D eh…. Mustang?

    • 0 avatar
      jetcal1

      Far better to let people think they are superior. Few people realize how good some Axis aircraft were. Even today
      I see it in my industry with engineers mocking Chinese or Russian designs. They fail to account for different design philosophies. But like the Big 3, some folks just cannot recognize a worthy competitor…. Because the design philosophy is different.

      Good way to lose a war, or market share.

      • 0 avatar
        rochskier

        I’m an engineer and I agree 110% jetcal1. There are many smart folks all over the globe with different, effective solutions to the same problems.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    On the plus side I like the colors of both vehicles.

    I said it once (a few months ago) and I’ll say it again, anyone shopping in the $20,000 to $30,000 price range is really spoiled for choice…

  • avatar
    roadscholar

    As is usual with American car or motorcycle magazines, an exercise in stating the obvious. I’m 48-years-old. I’ll buy the ‘Stang and leave the BRZ for the 20-year-olds (physical or mental age).

  • avatar
    amca

    Just watch for the next Mustang. Ford engineering has had a good run lately, and with a brief to throughly modernize the Mustang, I’m expecting good things. If they just watch weight, which if the CAdillac ATS is any indication, Detroit is learning to do, it’ll have a shot at being brilliant.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      I’m expecting great things from the next gen Mustang. I really like the Evos design language and we’re all aware of the performance gains. Ford has also said the next car will be smaller and lighter. Throw in a better and interior and methinks good things are coming.


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