The 2017 Subaru BRZ benefits from modest, yet meaningful enhancements that include more visual edge and more power. This enthusiast-focused 2+2 rear-drive coupe also boasts structural reinforcements, a retuned suspension and a revised stability control setup as well as a new Performance Package option.

The new BRZ’s exterior runs from nose to tail. Up front, it has a lower, wider and more aerodynamically optimized fascia framed by new C-shaped LED headlamps with integrated DRLs while the available fog lamps also receive an LED upgrade. Out back, the BRZ is fitted with a new pedestal-style aluminum rear spoiler flanked by full-LED taillamps. Both the BRZ Premium and Limited ride on new 17-inch alloy wheels with a black and machine-turned finish. The focused tweaking continues inside, where both trims get a leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel with more finger-friendly controls while the Limited sports revised trim with a new 4.2-inch LCD display next to the tach and new shift paddles on versions with the 6-speed automatic transmission.

More dynamic personality

In the drivetrain arena, the BRZ’s 2.0-liter flat-4 engine benefits from a long list of revisions that start with a reduction in internal friction thanks to redesigned valve gear, camshafts and cylinder heads. Revamped intake/exhaust manifolds also help breathing. While output carries over at 200 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque on auto-shifted models, pairing it with the 6-speed manual bumps those figures to 205 and 156, respectively. Opting to shift for the manual also nets a lower 4.3:1 final drive ratio in place of the 4.1:1 rear differential which improves acceleration. All versions of the BRZ now have Start Assist hill-holder circuitry that prevents the vehicle from rolling backwards when starting on an incline.

Also: Class of 2017 – New Cars Ready to Roll

On the handling front, the 2017 model promises to be more precise and responsive. Reinforcements to the chassis include beefed-up strut tower braces and rear wheel housings as well as a stiffer transmission cross-member plate, all of which contribute to a stiffer structure that takes advantage of the BRZ’s retuned springs/shocks and larger-diameter rear stabilizer bar. Rounding out the mix is more aggressively biased stability control programming that shifts its character enough to have Subaru rename the “Sport” mode as “Track”. Buyers can also opt for a new Performance Package available only on the Limited model with a manual gearbox. This upgrade adds larger Brembo brakes and Sachs Performance shocks as well as unique 17-inch black-finish alloy wheels.

Also: Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Awards of 2016

The 2017 Subaru BRZ Premium and Limited are slated to arrive in dealers this September with the Limited with Performance Package making its appearance in several months later. Pricing for all will be announced closer to their on-sale dates.

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