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  • 3/4 Front Glamour 2018 Subaru BRZ
  • Rear Profile  2018 Subaru BRZ
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Expert's Rating

3.15Good | Details

MPG

21 City / 29 Highway
Automotive Editor -

These days, any buyer with a penchant for performance will find a cavalcade of sports cars on the market that are ready to devour road courses and crush the quarter-mile. But a quick look at the window stickers of these road machines and the old trope rings true: Speed costs money - how fast do you want to go?

Luckily with the Subaru BRZ, there's no exorbitant entry fee. Starting at well under $30,000, the cheap and cheerful BRZ puts a smile on the face through the age-old trick of combining light weight, rear-wheel-drive balance, and a willing chassis. Fun and affordable, the BRZ is a breath of fresh air in a market where most sports cars run for a respectable yearly salary.

What's New for 2018

The biggest news for 2018 is the new tS package, which will be limited to only 500 units. Short for "tuned by STI," the tS includes a number of suspension tweaks, such as specially tuned coil springs and dampers, along with stiffeners for the front subframe and chassis. Under the hood, buyers will find a V-brace for additional rigidity, and an upgraded brake system handles stopping duty. To visually differentiate the tS, exclusive lightweight 18-inch wheels and a number of cosmetic touches are also accounted for, including a manually-adjustable carbon fiber wing that provides downforce as well as stylistic panache.

ALl 2018 BRZs now have a one-touch signal stalk, heated mirrors and a 'Track' mode that will banish the traction control and stability control systems unless the need for their intervention is dire. On the top two trims the Subaru Starlink infotainment and navigation system, which includes Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, is now standard.

Subaru BRZ Front Quarter

Choosing Your Subaru BRZ

All BRZs - even the new tS - make do with a naturally aspirated, 2.0-liter four-cylinder boxer-style engine. With the standard six-speed manual transmission, this motor makes 205 horsepower and 156 lb-ft of torque. Match up the boxer-four with the available six-speed automatic, however, and power output falls by five horsepower and five lb-ft of torque - another reason to stick with the three-pedal, short throw gearbox. While the power output may sound underwhelming, it is important to remember that the rear-wheel-drive BRZ weighs a scant 2800 pounds. That gives the car a lithe and tossable quality that larger and heavier cars lack - even those with significantly more power.

EPA-estimated fuel economy varies for each of the three available trims, but buyers can expect up to 24 miles per gallon city and 33 highway with the auto transmission and 21/29 with the stick shift.

A smattering of exterior hues are available, including the Subaru classic WR Blue Pearl (you're out of luck on the gold wheels, though). The interior follows the old Henry Ford mantra - any color you like, as long as it's black.

Premium

The Premium represents the entry-level BRZ, with a starting price of $26,455 (including destination). Unsurprising for a base trim of an already cheap sports car, the list of standard features is decidedly sparse.

Buyers can expect LED headlights, a trunk spoiler, two-speed intermittent wipers, cloth seats, a six-way manually-adjustable driver's seat and four-way manually-adjustable passenger seat, a leather-wrapped steering-wheel and shifter knob, Bluetooth, and a manually-adjustable tilt and telescoping wheel. The infotainment unit is a 6.2-inch touchscreen affair. It utilizes eight speakers and offers features like Pandora radio, a USB connection, smartphone integration, SiriusXM and HD radio.

There are no available options on the Premium.

Limited

For those looking for a few more creature comforts, the $29,305 Limited is available. Additional standard features include keyless access, push-button start, automatic dual-zone climate control, LED fog lights, heated front seats, leather-and-Alcantara-trimmed upholstery, illuminated vanity mirrors, and dual USB ports. The infotainment unit is upgraded to a seven-inch touchscreen that offers navigation, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

Another upgrade over the Premium is the digital sport gauges, which offer the enthusiast driver the ability to review their driving performance through car-measured performance metrics such as lap times or g-forces.

The Limited offers two options: the $1,100 automatic transmission and the $1,195 Performance Package, which includes special dampers, a Brembo braking system, and 17-inch wheels.

tS

The performance-focused, limited edition model costs $34,355. Comfort and convenience features match that of the Limited, and minor aesthetic differences include red-accented interior trimmings and STI exterior bits. See the "What's New for 2018" section for a rundown on the specific performance upgrades.

CarsDirect Tip

It should be noted that Toyota sells a carbon copy of the BRZ, called 86. The two cars are wholly identical but for a few comfort and convenience features and badging, so it may be worth it to cross-shop the 86 and see if a better deal can be brokered at the Toyota dealership. The few dollars saved by getting the 86 could fund that first set of autocross wheels and tires that you'll be sure to want after spending some time in this low-buck, lots-of-fun sports car.

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