The Subaru BRZ has been one of the hottest sports cars to come to the dealerships in the last decade. The car uses the simple formula that the Mazda Miata followed in the ‘90s. Create a good looking sports car with a small four-cylinder engine, manual transmission, rear-wheel drive and lightweight chassis. It is a simple recipe, but few get it right. Buyers have been looking for a hotter version of the BRZ ever since the introduction of the first car. The second generation cars were introduced in 2021, and now Subaru has provided a more performance focused version of the BRZ and it is called the tS which stands for tuned by STI.

The center piece of the BRZ tS is the addition of Hitachi dampers to improve its handling, resulting in greater precision and better control and stability. We did not have a regular BRZ model for comparison but the tS was a serious handling machine, and it chewed up corners wherever it went. But despite that, the ride was not at all harsh. The tS is not perfect, but it is a fun car to drive and there are not many cars like this left on the market.

A high-performance Brembo braking system, including gold-painted four-piston front calipers, gold-painted two-piston rear calipers and larger pads and rotors, enhances stopping power, fade resistance and pedal feel on the tS. The BRZ tS also comes with 18-inch wheels mounted with 215/40 R18 Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires for superior grip. The tires are not as sticky as the Pilot Sport Cup tires found on high end sports cars, but that is not a bad thing. They provide just enough grip to go fast but slide gently at the limit enough to make the car fun to drive.

What is a little disappointing about the tS is that the engine is no more powerful than the standard models. The BRZ tS is powered by the same 2.4-liter 228-horsepower engine paired with a six-speed close-ratio manual transmission. All enthusiasts were hoping for more power. On the other hand, the engine feels strong and revs freely to redline. The gear ratios in the transmission are well calibrated and the car is always eager to play. Helping things along is a Torsen limited slip differential that works well at minimizing wheel spin in tight corners. One item that bothered us is that you cannot fully disable the stability control. While the car does allow you to get it sideways by a large margin, it cuts down the party just when things get interesting. That is acceptable for a regular car, but not being able to turn it off on such a hardcore sports car is disappointing.

The standard BRZ prices start out at just over $30,000. The tS starts at $35,345 and comes with everything. Usually, manufacturers inflate the prices of their special models and try to squeeze more money from you. But in this case, the extra $5,000 or so is a great deal. If you were going to do the same modifications yourself, you would spend more than that. Plus you get the better resale value of a special model and get a full factory warranty.

The BRZ is one of the rare driver-focused cars that still remains available, and the fact that it is affordable, makes it even better.


Engine: 2.4-liter DOHC boxer four-cylinder
Horsepower: 227@ 7,000 rpm
Torque: 184pound-feet @ 3,700 rpm
Front Suspension: McPherson strut
Rear Suspension: Multilink strut
Transmission: Six-speed manual
Axle Ratio: 4.1:1
Curb Weight: 2,835 lbs.
Base MSRP: $35,345
Image courtesy of Subaru

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