A product of Subaru's joint venture with Toyota, the low-slung, four-passenger BRZ coupe sticks tenaciously to classic sports car virtues: namely low weight, petite dimensions, and rear-wheel drive. It’s a refreshing—even charming—formula that places agility and driving joy above brute force.
When the BRZ debuted for 2013, Toyota’s Scion brand offered a nearly-identical FR-S. Now, for 2017, the Scion brand is history but Toyota has renamed its version of this sport coupe the 86.
What's New for 2017
In addition to revised styling, the 2017 BRZ gets a number of modifications that aim to improve handling and performance. Engine output with manual shift is now 205 horsepower and 156 pound-feet of torque (each figure up by 5). The final drive ratio on manual-shift models has been lowered to quicken acceleration. A new $1,195 Performance Package for the manual-shift Limited includes Brembo front/rear brake calipers and bigger rotors, SACHS performance shock absorbers, and 17-inch black alloy wheels.
Front bumpers have been redesigned, below full-LED C-shaped headlights. A new pedestal-style rear spoiler is standard. Springs and dampers have changed, with more chassis reinforcement added. New 17-inch alloy wheels are standard, as is Incline Start Assist. Only 500 examples of a new Series.Yellow model, priced at $29,695, will be produced.
Choosing Your Subaru BRZ
Every BRZ carries a 2-liter four-cylinder engine, now producing 205 horsepower, paired with a six-speed manual transmission. Limited-trim models have the option of a six-speed automatic. The BRZ can travel from 0 to 60 mph noticeably faster with manual shift, but the automatic boosts fuel-efficiency—from 25 mpg combined to 28 mpg. To bolster handling, you get a limited-slip rear differential and summer performance tires on 17-inch alloy wheels.
The trunk is predictably puny, but cargo space really opens up when you fold down the rear seat. That’s no great loss, since it’s too small for average-size passengers anyway.
The BRZ is available in three trim levels this year:
As usual, Subaru offers no factory options for the BRZ, except for the Performance Package. Numerous dealer-installed accessories are available.
The automatic transmission interferes with performance more than we expected. The manual is a better choice unless fuel economy is your chief concern. Note that Series.HyperBlue production is limited to 500 units, so don't hesitate if you can't live without its striking looks.
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