The next day, memories of the TT course still fresh, we set off in the archetypal drizzle of the British Isles, clouds hanging low, shrouding the higher portions of the Isle with fog, toward some of the rally stages of the legendary Manx Rally.
If the roads of the TT course are tight, the roads deeper in the island, and especially on the rally course, are next to impossible. Barely as wide as the car, with more crests, dips, and blind turns than the Nürburgring packed into every mile, just getting to work on the Isle of Man is an event. Doing it with some spirit in a brilliantly balanced sports coupe is an escapade.
The centerpiece of the second day on the Isle of Man in the BRZ was a ride-along with Mark Higgins in a rally-prepped version of the car. Modifications include: 18x8-inch wheels wrapped in 245mm Dunlop SportMaxx tires, ProFlex dampers, stiffer springs, a louder exhaust, and a full cage, fire system, and race seats in the stripped interior, helping to bring the car's weight down to just over 2,500 pounds, about 200 pounds lighter than stock. The ride-along took place on a short section of the Manx Rally course, which you can see in the video above.
At the end of two days on the Isle of Man with the Subaru BRZ, I've come away even more impressed than I was after testing the Scion FR-S on track at Spring Mountain. The combination of ride quality (proved on the manic Manx Rally roads), handling (enabling the sublime TT experience), and affordability make this car a standout, unrivaled in its segment or even the next one up. No, it's still not all that powerful, but it's quick, and the willing little Boxer provides just enough go to highlight the fantastically tuned chassis it rides in.
There's simply no question: this is the best $25,000 an enthusiast can spend on a new car. And if you ever get the chance to drive on the Isle of Man, do it—with luck, you'll get to do it in a BRZ.