It’s not so long since we witnessed the arrival of Toyota–Subaru twins, an almost identical rear-wheel drive sport coupe that is lightweight, well balanced, fun to drive, and quite simple. It’s been five years, and we’re still big fans of the 2018 Subaru BRZ. And after two consecutive years of upgrades, it’s now easy to say that it’s more interesting than its twin.
If you are considering the cheapest basic version of the twins, they are almost identical. But if you are looking for extra performance and equipment, the 2018 Subaru BRZ is the right choice. For convenience, the BRZ Limited adds push start buttons, dual-zone climate control, heated seats and a new 7-inch touch screen equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. You can also add the Performance packages, which include upgraded Sachs dampers and Brembo high-performance brakes for superior driving dynamics that the Toyota 86 cannot match.
The hottest is the new BRZ tS. It is limited to 500 units and adds various chassis reinforcement components, further tuned suspensions, and special exterior and interior designs. And since it was tuned by the Subaru STI, the carbon-fiber pedestal wing is were cast for a good size.
Trim and Features
The 2018 Subaru BRZ is a two-door sport coupe available in three trim levels: Premium, Limited and limited production tS.
Standard features on the Premium includes summer performance tires, 17-inch wheels, a trunk spoiler, LED headlights, heated mirrors, a leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel, a height-adjustable driver seat, a folding rear seatback, cloth upholstery, Bluetooth connectivity, a 6.2-inch touchscreen, a variety of smartphone-streaming audio apps, a USB port, and an eight-speaker sound system with a CD player, a media player interface, satellite radio and an auxiliary audio jack.
The 2018 Subaru BRZ Limited adds keyless ignition and entry, LED foglights, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, simulated-suede upholstery with outer seat portions in black leather, a second USB port, an enhanced trip computer display, a 7-inch touchscreen with integrated TomTom navigation, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
The Limited optional Performance package adds gray-painted alloy wheels, Brembo high-performance brakes and Sachs performance dampers.
The new BRZ tS which production run of just 500 features special tuning by Subaru STI performance arm. It adds several body-stiffening elements, Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires, black 18-inch STI wheels, different STI-tuned Sachs dampers, the Brembo high-performance brakes, underbody spoilers, a pedestal-style carbon-fiber trunk spoiler, special Cherry Blossom Red accents exterior accents, special black finishings on various exterior components, and matching red leather on those seat portions that are black in the Limited. It lacks the Limited LED foglights.
The 2018 Subaru BRZ is backed by a 2.0-liter horizontally opposed (boxer) four-cylinder engine. Power output depends on which transmission you choose. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, while a six-speed automatic with shift paddles and rev-matched downshifts is optional for the Limited trim. With the manual, it generates 205 horsepower and 156 pound-feet of torque. The automatic is limited to 200 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque.
According to Subaru, the manual transmission has revised gearing that will theoretically improve acceleration. In performance testing, the 2018 Subaru BRZ tS with manual transmission accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds. EPA estimated fuel economy at 27 mpg combine (24 city/33 highway) for automatic and 24 mpg combined (21 city/29 highway) for manual transmission. The tS model rated at (23/20/27).
Although not full of upscale or luxurious pieces, the 2018 Subaru BRZ has a pleasant interior. The cabin is simple and friendly laid out with a blend of Toyota and Subaru materials. Typical for performance cars, some tech features come standard, such as rearview camera, HD radio navigation, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity. The Limited model also comes with a new gauge cluster that can display performance and additional engine information.
One of the best features from the 2018 Subaru BRZ is front seat. They are firm, good shape and very supportive for enthusiastic driving but still quite comfortable for long trips. People of any size will find a pleasant driving position, and thanks to a low profile hood, there is a great view of the road ahead.
The back seat is not nearly as good. Forcing an adult to sit in the back seat requires the front seats be shifted significantly, and leg room is very limited. The headroom is also tight, most adults will touch their heads to the rear window glass. Moreover, the central tunnel blocks the hiproom so there is not much room to stretch. The trunk space is also small at 6.9 cubic feet, but folding the rear seat expands the cargo capacity.
Release Date and Price
The 2018 Subaru BRZ is on sale and arriving now at dealers nationwide. The Premium trim starts at $25,595. The Limited manual at $28,445 and Limited automatic starts at $29,545. Key competitors include the Mazda MX-5 Miata, Toyota 86 and Honda Civic Coupe.
Limited to only 500 units, the 2018 BRZ tS will arrive at dealerships this Spring 2018. Pricing is set at US$33,495 (include $860 destination and delivery fee).