The Subaru BRZ — and its twin, the Toyota 86 (née Scion FR-S) — zoomed onto the scene in 2013, giving budget-minded fanatics a easy, rear-wheel-drive sport coupe. With wonderful dealing with and aggressive attractiveness, the BRZ is a daily at weekend autocross occasions and monitor days throughout America. It is one among our favourite little sports activities automobiles.
Along with its mainstream Premium and Restricted trims, the BRZ has seen a lot of particular version fashions over its lifespan, the latest of which is the uber-limited-production BRZ tS. It isn’t fairly the full-on STI model some fanatics have been asking for, but it surely’s undoubtedly essentially the most hardcore BRZ but.
‘Tuned by STI’
This is not only a trim-and-tape job. The chassis is stiffer, because of the usage of high-tensile metal, and two versatile V-braces are added to the engine bay, ostensibly to mitigate total ranges of powertrain vibration and harshness. Sachs dampers are fitted in any respect 4 corners, which lessens total ranges of pitch and physique roll. The automotive’s springs are 15 p.c stiffer on the entrance and three p.c stiffer out again, and stopping responsibility is dealt with by a set of Brembo brakes, with rotors measuring 12.eight inches up entrance and 12.Four inches out again. Sticky Michelin Pilot Sport Four tires wrap every 18-inch wheel, and aerodynamics are improved. owing to aero spoilers up entrance and that massive, two-stage, adjustable carbon-fiber wing out again.
Does all of it work? You’d higher imagine it.
Along with all its aero goodies, the BRZ tS will get purple accents all through. As a result of, purple = sporty.
On a day drive via the again hills of Northern California, the BRZ tS proves its mettle by by no means, ever getting out of kinds. Even with the traction and stability management programs turned to Monitor mode, I am solely capable of get the rear finish to step out ever so barely, and solely as soon as. The BRZ tS is planted, and the tires supply a ton of grip with none chirps.
With no monitor at my disposal, I am unable to inform you how this automotive drives at its absolute restrict. Fortunately, fellow editor Jon Wong was capable of full just a few scorching laps of The Thermal Membership’s monitor earlier this 12 months.
However this is the factor: the BRZ has at all times been a great-handling automotive, even in base kind. With all this added poise, it solely jogs my memory that this automotive might actually profit from some additional energy.
The BRZ tS makes 205 horsepower from its 2.Zero-liter flat-Four engine, in addition to 156 pound-feet of torque. And although it is at all times extra enjoyable to drive a gradual automotive quick than a quick automotive gradual, a bit extra torque would actually be good. Accelerating as much as about Four,000 rpm, I can really feel the BRZ wanting to provide me… one thing. However as a result of the torque would not totally come on till 6,400 rpm, there is a slim band by which to make use of it earlier than it’s important to upshift.
On spirited runs via the canyons, this implies you are downshifting into second gear and listening to the engine howl, or simply leaving it in third and never having a whole lot of energy upon exit. No less than the six-speed handbook transmission is a pleasure to make use of, with tight gearbox motion and pedals completely positioned for heel-and-toe shifting, even with my dainty girl toes. The BRZ tS is simply accessible with a handbook transmission, appropriately.
Not one of the chassis upgrades show so harsh that you simply could not stay with a BRZ tS each day. It is stiff, certain, however not jarring over damaged pavement; it is much like the highway really feel of a MX-5 Miata Membership, not practically as tough because the Mini JCW Cooper I not too long ago examined.
The EPA says the BRZ tS can obtain 20 miles per gallon within the metropolis, 27 mpg freeway and 23 mpg mixed. That is rather less than different BRZ trims, although even with all my again highway driving, I am nonetheless capable of obtain 24.7 mpg throughout every week of testing.
Spartan cabin, helpful tech
The BRZ’s inside is about as comfy as you’d anticipate for a 2+2 sport coupe. The seats are agency and properly bolstered, however the shoulder space is pretty extensive, making it semi-difficult to twist round to achieve the cup holders. Luckily, there is a bottle holder within the door that is excellent for a 20-ounce soda. There’s technically a again seat, however let’s be sincere — it might be troublesome to get a 10-year-old again there, not to mention a full-size grownup. The trunk affords 6.9 cubic toes of house, and the rear seats fold down do you have to want a bit extra room.
Subaru’s easy and efficient Starlink infotainment system is housed on a 7-inch touchscreen. It contains navigation with pinch-to-zoom performance, in addition to Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The very Subaru-appropriate eBird recognizing app, nevertheless, is nowhere to be discovered. Save that for the Outback crowd.
The cabin is small with closely bolstered seats, but it surely’s nonetheless comfy sufficient for every day driving.
As a substitute, BRZ tS house owners have entry to extra performance-based data, housed on a Four.2-inch LCD display screen subsequent to the tachometer. Right here, totally different screens show cornering G-forces, oil and water temperatures, battery voltage and real-time horsepower and torque output ranges. There’s even a stopwatch to report your lap instances.
Given the spartan nature of the hardcore BRZ tS, do not look forward to finding any superior driver’s aids. Adaptive cruise management, blind-spot monitoring and lane-keeping help aren’t accessible.
How I would spec it
Given its super-limited standing, you’ll be able to think about there aren’t too some ways to spec a BRZ tS. Solely 500 examples might be offered within the US, with pricing set at $34,355, together with $800 for vacation spot.
If the wing and aero equipment aren’t your factor, you’ll be able to at all times spring for a BRZ Restricted when the $1,195 Efficiency Package deal, which provides the Brembo brakes and Sachs dampers. That brings the overall to a extra cheap $30,500 — think about it an choice for when the US allocation of tS fashions runs out.
Subaru put the tachometer entrance and heart. Why? With a momentum automotive just like the BRZ tS, pace is not practically as necessary as revs.
Poise over energy
The BRZ competes in a reasonably small phase. Along with its brother from one other mom, the Toyota 86, you’ve got just about solely bought the Mazda MX-5 Miata (and its Fiat 124 Spider twin) for small, rear-wheel-drive enjoyable. You might think about a Ford Mustang EcoBoost or the brand new Chevy Camaro Turbo 1LE, too, if you’d like extra energy.
The tS stands out with its improved dealing with — it is probably the most fun-to-drive automobiles you should buy for beneath $35,000. And with solely 500 coming to our market, I am certain loads of Subie followers will scoop them up very quickly. When you worth dealing with over energy, the tS is an attractive choice.