Purchasing any of these Misfits might require a lengthy justification to friends or family. Similarly, dumping $33,830 of modifications into a Subaru BRZ is an invitation to have your head examined. Amusingly, with an as-tested price of $63,830, Crawford Engineering's turbocharged BRZ might be the most sensible ticket into this test's funny farm.
The stock BRZ is an immensely well-rounded car. Thankfully, the Oceanside, California-based Crawford—once responsible for Subaru's factory Rally America engines—didn't ruin it. Running E85 and 28 psi of peak boost, the BRZ's 2.0-liter four suffers from less lag than a stock STI but produces a claimed 500 hp and 550 lb-ft. Third-gear wheelspin had us believing that claim—and wishing for a little less power.
Conveniently, Crawford's test car went ill after slurping some bad California gas. Company chief Quirt Crawford then detuned it for our testing, to an estimated 400 hp and 430 lb-ft of torque. The result was one of those cases where less is a lot more. The twin-scroll turbo comes on around 2000 rpm, but rather than spike to crazy boost, the detuned car pulls linearly, from 3500 rpm to 8000.
In our test configuration, the engine made just enough twist to overpower its 265-section Michelin Pilot Super Sports in first gear. Sixty mph flew by in 4.4 seconds. At the full 500 hp, that number would likely be lower but a lot more difficult to consistently achieve.
A stock BRZ is outgripped by most modern performance cars. But with sticky ties and stiff suspension, the Crawford can teach the big boys a few things. It weighs 578 pounds less then the lightest car in this test, it rotates willingly, and it's big Brembos respond as if the pads were connected directly to your toes. Somehow, Crawford even made the BRZ's nasally flat-four sound good.