2017 Subaru BRZ Gets Small Changes, Makes a Big Difference
I know what you're hoping to read here, and the answer is no, Subaru did not finally stuff the STi's 310-horsepower EJ257 under the hood of the BRZ. It's unlikely for that to ever happen either, because Subaru has made it very clear that power is not what the BRZ is about. Instead of adding more muscle to the BRZ, Subaru has chosen to further improve the dexterity of the already nimble car. The springs and dampers have been updated, a larger rear stabilizer bar added, and further reinforcements to the chassis include modifications to the strut-tower braces, transmission cross-member plate and rear wheel housings, all in the name of increasing rigidity. Drivers should be able to further enjoy the newfound rigidity, as the limitations of the stability control system have been raised. The change in attitude must have been pretty drastic as "sport" mode has been upped to "track" mode, and you know Subaru engineers are hardly the kind to overreact. RELATED: See Photos of the 2015 Subaru BRZ STI Performance Concept
Power for the 2017 model has gone up to—wait for it— 205 horsepower and 156 lb-ft of torque, which is basically Subaru saying, "we know what we're doing, just let us keep refining this machine our way." Yes, that's a very small increase, but it should make the BRZ feel much quicker, especially with the new 4.3:1 final drive ratio in the 6-speed manual.
The minimal rise in power comes courtesy of new valves, camshaft, and cylinder heads, as well as a new aluminum intake manifold, and redesigned exhaust manifold. The BRZ has never been, and will never be, a car for stoplight heroics, but if you know what you're doing on winding roads, you don't need anything more than what the BRZ offers.
If all those improvements aren't enough, there's a new Performance Package available solely on the Limited model with the 6-speed manual. The package includes Brembo calipers, larger front and rear rotors, SACHS performance shock absorbers, and black 17 x 7.5 alloy wheels. Pricing on the Performance Package hasn't been announced, but I can't imagine it'd be astronomical, probably falling in the $1,200-$1,600 range.
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Appearance-wise, not a whole lot has been changed. The only noticeable difference being a revised front bumper, and upgraded "Kono-Ji" style LED headlights, which offer improved light output, and reduced power consumption. The standout change, though, comes on the inside.
Gone is the spilt '6 'o clock' spoke, and the flat hand rests on either side. The steering wheel mounted controls look like some of the best Subaru has ever done, cleanly integrated into either side instead of carelessly tacked on last minute. Both the Limited and Premium model offer excellent interior value, including standard items such as heated seats with alcantara inserts, and Subaru's drastically improved STARLINK infotainment system.
If a shoddy interior was the main thing turning you off to the idea of driving a BRZ, it looks as though Subaru has done a good job of addressing that issue. The BRZ Limited also comes standard with keyless access and push button start, so that's something you can hold over the heads of your friends with vastly more expensive sports cars.
Hey, they might loose you on a straightaway, but you'll have every bit as much fun as they are in the twisties, and still have money left over for plenty of modifications. The 2017 BRZ arrives in dealerships this September, followed by the Performance Package equipped Limited models early winter 2017.
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