2018 Subaru BRZ tS First Drive: More Than Just A Wing

– Palm Springs, California

Subaru has updated the BRZ regularly since introducing it in the U.S., with refinement, equipment, engine, and visual tweaks. But this is the version I’ve been most excited to test out: the 2018 BRZ tS. The suffix stands for “Tuned by STI,” meaning the engineers at Subaru Technica International have massaged it for even more thrilling handling.

For starters, that carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) rear wing is not just for show. Above 50 miles per hour, “we pick up a little more downforce in the front and a lot more in back,” says Todd Hill, BRZ car line manager at Subaru of America. It’s even adjustable, though not with fancy electronics; owners adjust the wing between two angles of attack simply by undoing a bolt on either side.

2018 Subaru BRZ tS

Chassis changes begin with STI-tuned coil springs that are 15-percent stiffer in front and 3-percent stiffer in back, while the Sachs dampers have a different, tS-specific tune compared to the ones employed on the regular BRZ Performance package.

A pre-loaded brace between the front suspension member and subframe is designed to keep the two from moving as much under load, while redesigned engine-bay “V-braces” further stiffen up the chassis. Gone is the not-that-grippy Michelin Primacy HP rubber in favor of Michelin Pilot Sport 4 summer tires, and they’re on 18x7.5-inch wheels – the first factory 18s offered on the BRZ in this country.

The braking package mirrors the one introduced for 2017 on the BRZ Performance pack...