The BRZ has standard whiplash protection, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the whiplash protection system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The GTI doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.
Both the BRZ and the GTI have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control and electronic stability systems to prevent skidding.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2015 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Subaru vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Subaru 19th in reliability. With 8 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 21st.
The flat cylinder configuration of the boxer engine in the BRZ lowers its center of gravity, enhancing handling stability (That’s why Porsche uses boxer engines.). The GTI doesn’t offer a boxer engine configuration.
On the EPA test cycle the BRZ Auto gets better fuel mileage than the GTI Auto (25 city/34 hwy vs. 25 city/33 hwy).
The BRZ’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs standard on the GTI are solid, not vented.
The Subaru BRZ may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 200 pounds less than the Volkswagen GTI.
With its coupe body style, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the BRZ offers cargo security. The GTI’s hatchback body style, non-lockable folding seat and non-lockable remote release defeat cargo security.
The BRZ has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. When the ignition turns off, the headlights turn off after a delay timed to allow you to securely get to your front door. The GTI has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the SE/Autobahn.
Standard Starlink for the BRZ allows the driver and passengers access to select programs on their smartphones, including reading text messages aloud, playing internet radio stations, tagging songs to buy them later and other connected activities without taking their eyes off the road or their hands from the wheel. The GTI doesn’t offer factory integrated smartphone program access.
The Subaru BRZ won the Most Fuel Efficient award in Kiplinger’s 2014 car issue.