Subaru has finally unveiled the Subaru BRZ tS, a performance-focused version of its popular rear-wheel-drive sports coupe. The tS, "tuned by STI," is not a full-fledged STI model but rather a trim level that adds exclusive features and upgrades to the BRZ. But is it enough to satisfy the fans who have been clamoring for more power and performance from the BRZ? Or is it just a tease that falls short of its potential? Let'sLet's find out.
What'sWhat's New for 2024?
The Subaru BRZ tS is based on the second-generation BRZ that debuted last year. It shares the same 2.4-liter flat-four engine that produces 228 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, a significant improvement over the previous 2.0-liter engine that made 205 hp and 156 lb-ft. The engine can be paired with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission, both of which send power to the rear wheels.
The tS also inherits the new platform, bodywork, and interior of the regular BRZ, which are lighter, stiffer, and more aerodynamic than before. The tS adds some subtle cosmetic touches, such as gloss black side mirrors and shark fin antenna, gold-painted Brembo brakes, and dark gray 18-inch wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires. The tS also gets a unique front bumper with a lower lip spoiler, a rear diffuser, and a large rear wing that is manually adjustable.
Inside, the tS features black leather and Alcantara upholstery with red stitching and accents and tS logos on the headrests, steering wheel, and dashboard. The tS also has a 7-inch digital instrument cluster, an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and Subaru's EyeSight driver-assist suite (only on automatic models).
What'sWhat's Different About the tS?
The main difference between the tS and the regular BRZ is the suspension. The tS gets specially tuned Hitachi dampers that are stiffer and more responsive than the standard ones. The dampers are also adjustable, allowing drivers to fine-tune the ride and handling characteristics according to their preferences and driving conditions. The tS also gets stiffer coil springs, larger front, and rear stabilizer bars, and reinforced chassis braces and mounts.
The result is a BRZ that is more agile, stable, and fun to drive than ever before. The tS feels sharper and more responsive in corners, with less body roll and more grip. The steering is precise and communicative, while the brakes are strong and fade-resistant. The tS also benefits from the lower center of gravity, wider track, and improved weight distribution of the new BRZ platform.
The engine, however, remains unchanged from the regular BRZ. While it is more powerful and torquey than before, it still lacks the punch and excitement that some enthusiasts crave from a sports car. The engine sounds raspy and coarse at high revs and suffers from some lag and flat spots in the mid-range. The manual transmission is smooth and satisfying to use, but the automatic transmission can sometimes be slow and hesitant to shift.
How Does It Compare to the Competition?
The 2024 Subaru BRZ tS faces some tough competition in the affordable sports car segment. Its closest rival is the Toyota GR86, which is essentially identical to the BRZ, except for some minor styling differences. The Toyota GR86 also offers a performance package that adds Brembo brakes, Sachs dampers, and 18-inch wheels with Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires, but it does not have the same level of suspension tuning or cosmetic enhancements as the tS.
Another competitor is the Mazda MX-5 Miata, which is lighter, cheaper, and more fun to drive than the BRZ in some ways. The Miata has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 181 hp and 151 lb-ft of torque, which is less than the BRZ but enough for its low weight. The Miata also has a slick six-speed manual or an optional six-speed automatic transmission, both of which are more responsive than the BRZ's. The Miata also offers a convertible option for those who want more open-air thrills.
The Hyundai Veloster N is a third competitor, which is more powerful, practical, and customizable than the BRZ. The Veloster N has a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 275 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque (or 250 hp and 260 lb-ft with the standard transmission), which is much more than the BRZ. The Veloster N also has an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (or a six-speed manual) that is quick and smooth to shift. The Veloster N also has a unique three-door hatchback design, offering more cargo space and versatility than the BRZ. The Veloster N also has a range of performance modes and features that can be adjusted via a touchscreen or steering wheel buttons, such as the exhaust sound, suspension stiffness, steering weight, and throttle response.
Is It Worth It?
The 2024 Subaru BRZ tS starts at $33,495 for the manual model and $34,995 for the automatic model, which is $3,880 and $2,380 more than the regular BRZ Limited. The tS is also $900 and $1,400 more than the Toyota GR86 with the performance package. The tS is cheaper than the Hyundai Veloster N, which starts at $35,745 for the automatic model and $33,245 for the manual model, but more expensive than the Mazda MX-5 Miata, which starts at $29,215 for the manual model and $30,715 for the automatic model.
The 2024 Subaru BRZ tS is a great choice for those who want a more focused and refined version of the BRZ with improved handling, braking, and styling. The tS is also a rare and exclusive model that will appeal to Subaru fans and collectors. However, the tS is not a significant upgrade in terms of power or performance, and it may not satisfy those who are looking for more excitement or versatility from their sports car. The tS is also more expensive than some of its competitors, which may offer more value or fun for the money.
The Subaru BRZ tS is the ultimate BRZ for some but just a tease for others. It depends on what you want in a sports car and how much you will pay. The tS is a fine example of Subaru's engineering and tuning prowess, but it may not be enough to quench the thirst of those who want more from their BRZ.