The 2017 Subaru BRZ has been given the most significant update since it was first released four years ago. This update includes a moderate boost in power, revised manual transmission gearing and suspension tuning, new styling, automatic LED headlights, a standard hill-start assist system, and an optional Performance package with bigger Brembo brakes and a refreshed interior gauge cluster.
These changes provide the BRZ with a more modern and stylish look and feel, while also allowing for improved performance. The increased power and revised manual transmission gearing make the car more responsive and agile, while the suspension tuning provides a smoother and more comfortable ride. The addition of the hill-start assist system ensures a safer driving experience, and the Performance package adds extra stopping power with the bigger Brembo brakes. Finally, the updated interior gauge cluster adds a touch of sophistication to the cabin.
The 2017 BRZ is equipped with rear-wheel drive and a 2.0-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine. Depending on the transmission you choose, the power output will differ. The BRZ Limited comes with a standard six-speed manual transmission, and an optional six-speed automatic with shift paddles and rev-matched downshifts. With the manual transmission, you'll get 205 horsepower and 156 pound-feet of torque. For those who opt for the automatic, the BRZ is limited to 200 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque.
Subaru has recently made some changes to the manual transmission of the 2017 BRZ, claiming that it will improve acceleration. However, we have yet to test it for ourselves. We estimate that the manual transmission will be able to reach 0-60 mph in the low to mid-6-second range, while the automatic transmission is expected to take a bit longer at around 8 seconds. Unfortunately, most of its competitors are still quicker.
Drivers looking for a fuel-efficient vehicle should consider the EPA-estimated fuel economy of this model. With the manual transmission, drivers can get 25 mpg combined (21 city/29 highway). If they opt for the automatic transmission, they can get 27 mpg combined (24 city/33 highway). This is a great choice for drivers looking for a vehicle that won't break the bank at the gas pump.
Subaru invited us to the renowned Fuji Speedway to sample the 2017 BRZ sports coupe, a vehicle that has undergone its own set of changes. This enthusiast-oriented car has been a favorite of many, and it's no surprise that it resides in the garages of former video game champions. Most owners would agree that the BRZ could use a bit more power, so it's likely that Subaru chose Fuji and its long front straight to showcase the engine upgrade that has been made in response to the demands of the public. Unfortunately, the small increase in power is overshadowed by the high speeds of the Fuji Speedway.
We made the long journey to get our hands on the new BRZ, and Subaru's engineers had to work hard to get an extra 5 horsepower and 5 lb-ft of torque, resulting in 205 hp and 156 lb-ft. These increases may seem small, but Subaru assured us that it wasn't an easy feat to achieve with the already established naturally aspirated engine. The 2.0-liter flat-four engine has been upgraded with an aluminum intake system and an updated airbox. The intake tubes have been increased by 3.0 millimeters and paired with more efficient exhaust manifolds. The camshaft and valve surfaces have been polished to reduce friction, while the direct-fuel-injection pump has been tuned to further reduce drag. Additionally, the pistons have been shot-peened for increased strength, and the crankshaft bearings have been reinforced.
The Subaru BRZ is a nimble car, and keeping the revs up high is a key element of its quickness. Its torque curve peaks at 6400 rpm, but the bottom end of the curve is notably wider at lower revs. However, there is still a dip in torque between 3500 and 4800 rpm, so it's important to stay above this soft spot to maximize the BRZ's performance.
Our six-speed manual gearbox is the only one available with this engine, boasting a sturdier top gear for increased longevity. While the power boost is barely perceptible, the final drive ratio has been changed from 4.10:1 to 4.30:1, allowing the driver to keep the RPMs in the ideal range.
Those opting for an automatic transmission will need to make do with the previous 200-hp engine and 4.10:1 final drive; engineers have informed us that the new engine could not meet pass-by noise regulations during downshifts when paired with an automatic transmission. To the human ear, the two engines sound virtually the same.
The 2017 Subaru BRZ has received some major improvements to its chassis and suspension. Reinforcement of the strut-tower brace, transmission, and rear struts has increased the car's structural integrity. The suspension has been retuned with a larger rear anti-roll bar and revised spring rates, making the front stiffer and the rear softer.
Having the chance to drive the new 2017 model back to back with the outgoing model, the differences were immediately noticeable. The new chassis feels more precise and the body motions are better controlled. The improved front end provides a more direct turn-in to corners, while the retuned electric power-steering system provides a more linear response from the center to full lock.
The 2017 BRZ is sure to make a strong impression with its improved chassis and suspension.
The 2017 Subaru BRZ has undergone a major change to its stability control system, known as VSC. The new default mode allows drivers to enjoy the car's drifting characteristics before the system intervenes, which is a much more liberal setting than the former Sport mode. This allows drivers to enjoy the BRZ's performance without the system constantly intervening, while still providing the safety net of the VSC.
At Fuji Speedway, a blanket of fog lowered to asphalt level, providing an excellent opportunity to test the new car. Compared to the previous model, the new VSC programming allows for a much smoother and less intrusive intervention. After Track mode is activated, the VSC will only step in if it senses an imminent spin. This allows drivers to drift with more control and confidence.
The 2017 BRZs equipped with the Limited trim level and manual transmission now have the option of a Performance package. This package, which costs $1195, includes Sachs dampers, Brembo four-piston front calipers with two-pot fixed clamps in the back, larger 12.8-inch front and 12.4-inch rear brake rotors, and 0.5-inch-wider wheels with the same tires to accommodate the bigger brakes.
The optional dampers significantly improved body control through the speedway's fast corners, and the steering was both predictable and sharp. When entering the high-speed braking zone, the Brembos with their better pedal feel and reduced fade were clearly superior to the standard brakes. The car still retains its original Michelin Primacy HP tires, which can be prone to sliding in certain conditions. This can lead to the brakes being overwhelmed by the available grip, resulting in early ABS activation. As before, if you plan to take your BRZ to the track, it is highly recommended to invest in higher performance tires.
The newly upgraded BRZ has been tested on the smooth surfaces of Fuji, and the results are promising. However, the real test will come when it hits the streets. We have previously driven BRZs and found that the ride is quite firm and the cabin can be quite noisy. Unfortunately, the changes made to the 2017 model are unlikely to address this issue. But, the trade-off is a car that offers great agility and a great driving experience for a price tag of less than $30,000. This makes it one of the best value cars on the market.
The 2017 Subaru BRZ saw a number of updates, both inside and out. On the exterior, the car features a wider front fascia, full-LED headlamps and LED taillamps, and a functional trunk-mounted aluminum wing that comes standard on all trim levels. Inside, the new steering wheel is the highlight. It is slightly smaller in diameter and wrapped in leather, and comes with updated controls for the audio and Bluetooth systems. Limited models have faux carbon-fiber trim and leather sport seats with faux-suede inserts and red stitching. All of these updates combine to make the 2017 BRZ a stylish and modern car. The updated instrument cluster now includes a 4.2-inch performance display. Drivers can use this readout to monitor fluid temperatures, as well as horsepower and torque curves. This is particularly useful for those looking to stay within the powerband. With this new feature, drivers can ensure they get the most out of their vehicles.
Subaru has remained true to its promise of bringing an STI-tuned BRZ tS to the United States. But the company is also looking to the future and plans for a second-generation car – with or without Toyota as a partner – are in the works. This could result in a BRZ that is vastly different from the current model, just as the modern 16-turn Fuji Speedway circuit is a far cry from the eight-turn circuit of 1982.
This illustrates how even small changes can be effective. Fuji Speedway is a great example of this, having evolved from an eight-turn circuit to one with 10 turns. The same could be true for the BRZ, and Subaru is inviting us to consider the potential for a dramatic transformation.
The 2017 Subaru BRZ has been manually tested and is expected to come with a turbocharged version of the company's 2.0-liter flat-four FA engine, similar to the one that produces 268 horsepower in its WRX sedan. After four years of stagnation, the BRZ was in danger of becoming forgotten in the world of sports coupes. With the introduction of the turbocharged engine, the BRZ is sure to make a comeback and become a force to be reckoned with.
Subaru had to do something about the potential-laden coupe that was due for a refresh. The dilemma was this: engineer a solution to the packaging problem that prevents fitting the turbocharged FA engine in the BRZ’s nose, or revise its naturally aspirated engine to make more power? Subaru representatives said the main priorities are a low center of gravity, balanced handling, and low cost, which make fitting the turbocharged engine difficult. However, many people, including us, would be willing to pay more for a boosted BRZ with wider tires and a stiffer suspension due to the car's need for more power and its ability to be a giant-killer.
Subaru has been fitting turbo engines into small engine bays for more than two decades with great success, so it should not be too difficult for them to make it work for the BRZ. Adding a turbo would solve two of the car's biggest issues: its lack of low-end torque and the need to spin the engine up to 7000 rpm to get adequate power. This would also reduce noise and harshness at higher revs. Overall, it seems like a turbo engine would be an ideal fit for the BRZ.
The 2017 Subaru BRZ has been heavily revised with a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter flat-four engine. It comes equipped with new intake and exhaust manifolds, cylinder heads, cams, and valves, resulting in a power increase from 200 to 205 horsepower and a peak torque increase of 5 lb-ft to 156 lb-ft. These gains are so high in the rev range that they are barely noticeable in everyday driving. The torque valley that has been a problem in the BRZ’s midrange between 3300 and 4600 rpm has been slightly mitigated, but it still remains and continues to affect the car’s personality. Despite this, the Subaru BRZ still has plenty of promise.
The BRZ with the six-speed manual transmission has seen an increase in both horsepower and torque. It now offers 200 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque, compared to the same rating from last year. This is thanks to a shorter final-drive ratio of 4.30:1, which gives the engine more power over the tires. On the other hand, the six-speed-automatic BRZ retains the same 200 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque rating as last year.
The 2017 version of the Subaru BRZ saw a 5-hp gain and slightly shorter gearing, but these changes had little effect on its performance. When tested, the car hit 60 mph in 6.2 seconds and completed the quarter-mile in 14.8 seconds, both improvements of 0.1 second compared to the 2016 model with the same manual transmission. Its top speed remained the same at 95 mph.
However, the 2017 BRZ's fuel economy was not as good as its predecessor's, with the EPA rating it at 21 mpg city and 28 mpg highway, compared to the 22/30 mpg rating of the 2016 model. We weren't able to record a real-world figure for this BRZ, but a similar 2017 Toyota 86 we tested at the same time had an average of 23 mpg.
The Subaru BRZ has seen some subtle improvements to its performance, with stiffened front strut and rear damper mounts, retuned spring rates, and a larger rear anti-roll bar. However, these changes may be hard to detect for the average driver, even when pushing the car to its limits. Yet, the BRZ's steering response, overall balance, and compact design make it a great choice for those looking for a fun driving experience.
The BRZ's grip is nothing to write home about, with 0.90 g on the skidpad. This is likely due to the 215/45R-17 Michelin Primacy HP rubber, rather than the chassis itself, which appears to have untapped potential. All in all, the BRZ offers an exciting driving experience at an accessible price point, making it a great option for those looking for a sporty coupe.
Our test car was missing the Performance package, which costs $1195. This package includes Brembo four-piston front and two-piston rear calipers, as well as larger rotors at both ends. Without this package, the standard brakes were able to stop the car from 70 mph in 164 feet, a distance that was almost the same as the previous BRZ.
Subaru has made a few changes to the BRZ, but they don't offer any meaningful performance improvements. The base price of the car has gone up by $125, but the Limited trim model comes with a few extra features. These include upgraded seats and interior trim, dual-zone automatic climate control, and remote keyless entry with a proximity key. Our test car was a Limited trim model with no options. All in all, it's a slight price increase for a few extra features, but the performance remains the same. Although the price of the car stays below the $30,000 mark, it may not be the best choice for those seeking an entertaining ride. Chevy's Camaro V-6 and Ford's EcoBoosted Mustang are both quicker, and they can be had for around the same price. This makes them quite tempting options for those looking for a fun ride.
It looks like the Subaru BRZ and its twin, the Toyota 86, may be heading down the same road as the beloved Nissan 240SX. Despite its fantastic chassis, the Nissan was discontinued due to poor sales numbers. Adding a turbocharged engine to the BRZ could be a game-changer for driving enthusiasts and for the car's longevity. Subaru, are you listening? It could be a win-win for everyone.