If you want to have fun in the winter, the rear-wheel-drive Subaru BRZ is the perfect car to do it in.
At least, according to Jalopnik’s Alanis King. She recently went to Subaru’s winter training camp, the Subaru Winter Experience, in Eagle River Wisconsin. There, on frozen Dollar Lake, she found out what many Subaru BRZ owners already knew: their car is great fun in the winter.
Let’s back up. Much like Sweden’s Speed Weekend On Ice, the Subaru Experience involves a bunch of high-powered cars on a frozen lake. A course is then plowed out for drivers to get behind the wheel of said high-powered vehicles so they can learn to drive them safely. The only real difference is that the Wisconsin event is more corporate, so there won’t be any maniacs in a rocket-powered snowmobile.
But even without rocket-powered death mobiles, there’s still plenty of sideways experiences to be had. Subaru provides their three most exciting cars: the BRZ, the WRX, and the WRX STI, and then gives participants trained rally car racers from FlatOut Sweden and DirtFish to teach you how to drive on ice.
The cars come with all manner of transmission, from manual to automatic to CVTs, with the BRZ in RWD and the WRX and STI in AWD. All cars come with studded tires to give you more grip than you’d normally have on your winter-ready Toyota Corolla.
Each of the three has their charms. The BRZ provides great power-to-weight while also being low slung, and with the car being front-engined and RWD, it has a tendency to slip itself sideways with just the slightest hint of extra power. The WRX STI, on the other hand, is AWD and according to King, "gripped snow like it was no different than asphalt."
The regular WRX is a good in-between point for learners and those who’ve never driven off-road before. Or on the ice, as the case may be.
But it was the RWD BRZ that King enjoyed most. "It wasn’t until after I drove the BRZ on a course that I realized how much more freedom RWD gives a person who casually wants to have a little fun in the snow,” she wrote.
The Subaru Experience is already over, but they’re hoping to make it an annual event. Admission is $1,450 a head, so keep an eye on the website to see when they’ll take reservations again.