Now before you go screaming that one's a coupe and the other a convertible, take a few commonalities into account. Roofs aside, both feature a 2.0-liter four mounted up front, driving the rear wheels through a six-speed manual transmission. Both are made by Japanese automakers and cost around $25-30k, give or take. Both produce around the same amount of torque, and while the Subaru may be more powerful, the Mazda's considerably lighter. To create a more even contest, then, you'd have to line a BRZ up against a Scion FR-S, or the MX-5 against the upcoming Fiat version of the same.
Of course, being that close on paper doesn't mean that it's a draw. One has to come out on top. And after taking both along country roads and the Streets of Willow racing circuit, our friends at MT have picked one over the other. You'll want to watch the 22-minute video above (or at least skip ahead to the end) to see which came out on top, but if you're as enthused by a purist driver's car as we are, you'll enjoy every minute of it.