2018 Subaru BRZ ts First Review
The 2018 BRZ tS is a limited-edition performance variant of Subaru’s sports car platform, with the “tS” moniker standing for “tuned by STI.” If you’ve ever driven a BRZ, you’ll find more of what you enjoy about the car, with the its elephant-in-the-room issue unresolved.
The biggest knock on the BRZ has long been a perceived lack of power and low-end torque. There’s more of the same with the BRZ tS: the 205-horsepower produced by its 2.0-liter boxer engine is reached at 7,000 rpm and the 156 lb-ft of peak torque at 6,400 rpm.
Chassis is the star
The chassis has always been the star player of the BRZ, and in the tS it shines brighter than ever. Upgrades include SACHS dampers and tuned coil springs that stiffen both front and rear ends (more front than rear) while reducing body roll and pitch. A flexible draw stiffener (read: fancy strut tower brace) links the front suspension crossmember with the front subframe and applies a pre-load, shortening the delay between steering input and chassis response. Underneath, a proprietary flexible V-bar adds a pillow ball to each cowl bar and increases rigidity while reducing transmitted vibration. Outside, a carbon fiber rear wing and front, side, and rear spoilers contribute downforce.
The cherry on top of the BRZ tS sundae is its 215/40 R18 Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires, and they make all the difference, allowing you to grab every last angle with confidence. Turn-in is awesome, and there’s grip all day long. It’s almost absurdly easy in nearly every situation to keep the balance between understeer and oversteer, and to favor one over the other at will. Yes, you can get sideways in the BRZ tS as desired—just keep in mind you’ll be using the brakes to do so. Subaru pays lip-service to the BRZ’s lack of low-end torque with a very sensitive throttle, but you still need to go north of 6,000 rpm to find useful pull.
We’d love a more linear throttle curve or—obviously—a turbocharger, but at this point in the car’s life the latter just isn’t going to happen. But if you love the Subaru BRZ, the 2018 tS gives you more of what you love in a package as close to race-trim from the factory as we’re ever likely to see. Limited to a production run of us 500 and starting at $34,355, it’s a friendly track day star disguised as an easy-going sports car.