Here's a hypothetical situation. You have a bit of cash to spend on a fun car, something with 500 horsepower (373 kilowatts) that you can exercise at a track but still drive on the street. You want a two-seater, and you love the classic layout of an engine in front turning wheels at the back. If you're in the States, a Corvette probably springs to mind, or possibly a new Supra with an ECU tune. You probably aren't thinking about a Subaru BRZ.
But maybe you should.
Obviously, you're not going to meet the aforementioned criteria with a stock BRZ. It's a tossable car for sure, but with 205 hp (153 kW) in the previous generation's 2.0-liter four-cylinder, it won't set straightaways on fire. The owner of this particular BRZ, as featured in The Smoking Tire video above, tried to rectify that with turbos and superchargers. That led to an unfortunate string of failed engines that couldn't hold 400 hp, never mind 500. What does one do in such a situation? You guessed it – LS swap.
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The result is a legit wolf in sheep's clothing. From the outside, this older BRZ looks pretty darned normal. Get close enough to see inside and you'll find racing seats with a roll cage, but hey, you could have that in any BRZ. Fire it up though, and the 6.2-liter LS3 V8 definitely makes its presence known, even with the active exhaust set to quiet mode. According to the video, the engine makes 500 hp to the rear wheels on pump gas. Switch to E85 and it's even more.
The crux of this video, then, is spent deciding whether LS swapping a Subaru BRZ is better than simply buying a C7 Corvette. Of course, there's a supporting cast of upgrades to complement the V8 infusion, not the least of which being a T56 six-speed manual, upgraded suspension, upgraded brakes, and so forth. Combined in a car that's both shorter and lighter than a 'Vette, the LS-swapped BRZ makes a very strong case for itself. Apparently, it also makes a very strong smell of gasoline in the cockpit. That's a bit worrying, if we're honest.
Gallery: 2022 Subaru BRZ: First Drive
Still, the video depicts an absolute cracker of a small car with outstanding balance, exceptional driver feedback, and a powerband that rides the fine line between too much and not enough. It doesn't exactly come cheap, however, as the current owner is hoping to sell the modded BRZ for $70,000. That could get you a C7 Corvette Z06 with 650 hp and an interior that doesn't smell like fuel.
But do you really want the same car your 75-year-old neighbor keeps tucked away in the garage?