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    Two Zoomy Coupes for the Winter Blues

    1-PHOTO-Philip RuthBy Philip Ruth

    “Tell me something good.” That’s what I text one of my classic-car buddies after we’ve vented about the daily updates regarding our president-elect. We both work alone, and it’s easy for us to feel burdened by the barrage of ominous portents for LGBTQ people in 2017.

    So at the end of the day, I ask him to tell me something good about the cars he’s working on. Last time, I sensed the smile spreading across his face as he texted me a photo of the pristine 1955 Cadillac in his driveway. When it was my turn, I thought about these two coupes I had recently tested: the Lexus RC-F and Subaru BRZ.

    When looking for a coupe, many buyers default to American muscle cars. Examples include the Chevy Camaro, Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger. Each covers a wide span of performance and prices.



    In comparison, the Lexus RC-F and Subaru BRZ are niche players, and the lower sales numbers of the Lexus and Subaru coupes afford them a relative uniqueness, which is prized by some of the style-conscious buyers who are looking for fewer than four doors.

    The RC-F and BRZ are aimed at different buyers within the coupe market’s price range. A Lexus badge would clue you into the RC-F having a premium price tag, and it does—the base price on my 2016 test car was $62,805, and a passel of options swelled that figure to just less than $77K. You don’t have to spend that much to enjoy an RC, with the Turbo trim coming in at about $41K.

    The BRZ lists for less, with the “Series.Hyperblue” special edition priced at $28,485, with no options. That special series went away for 2017, which is a shame, as its unique color grabbed eyes left and right, and that’s a value-add in a coupe that’s been on our roads since model year 2013.

    Sitting at the top of the RC chain, the RC-F thumps with 467 horsepower from its 5.0-liter V8. Eight cylinders mean you have none of the lag that can affect smaller engines boosted by turbos. Launching through San Francisco’s intersections lends a feeling of utter confidence. There’s more there than you need, whenever you need it.

    You could say the BRZ does more with less, as its 200-horsepower four-cylinder keeps it feeling lively. A knock against the BRZ (and its twin, the former Scion and now Toyota FR-S) has been its middling power for a sport coupe, particularly when there are Honda Accord V6s running around that could shut down the BRZ in seconds. But the key
    with the BRZ is engagement, with that familiar thrummy Subaru boxer engine keeping you dialed in to how the car is feeling.

    The most remarkable aspect of these two coupes is that manual transmissions aren’t missed here. Both offer automatics with fast-acting paddle shifters. The good feelings are all there, and that’s a sentiment we’ll appreciate as we LGBTQ enter this challenging period of our nation’s history.

    Philip Ruth is a Castro-based automotive photojournalist and consultant at Check out his automotive staging service at