Faux aristocrats such as those who people places like TV favourite Downton Abbey don’t hold the exclusive right to dress for the occasion. Automobiles too have a long tradition of showing off what they are about.
One example of this is the BRZ, Subaru’s iconic sports coupe. Born out of a relationship with Toyota by sharing clobber with the 86 to produce a modern motoring aristocrat of its kind. Now Subaru has thrown in new equipment all round but has come up with a new range-topping tS variant.
For example, every MY18 BRZ coupe features third generation 7-inch touchscreen infotainment, including satellite navigation via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The upgraded BRZ tS has been given new sporty features which, says Subaru, offers even sharper handling and linear response, plus improved roll stability and ride comfort, thanks to major input from Subaru performance arm, Subaru Tecnica International (STI).
The test car was a six-speed manual tS, which comes to the market at $39,894, plus on-road costs.
The BRZ has always exhibited clean lines with no sharp corners or glaring show-off features. The closest the new tS comes to the latter are Brembo brakes with red painted calipers and black finish 18-inch STI alloy wheels.
The forged aluminium wheels feature 15 straight spokes. The slim rim is shaped in a spin-forging process, similar to that of a potter’s wheel, though somewhat more complex, for light weight and excellent rigidity.
Further exterior stand-outs include exclusive front bumper, including grille with tS badge; black rear spoiler, mirrors and shark-fin roof mounted antenna; tS and STI exterior badging and STI side garnish.
Inside the cabin are red highlights and tS logos added to the Alcantara seat trim. The exclusive steering wheel is black with red accent and STI logo, which can also be found on the push button starter and in the instrument panel. Red seatbelts secure the driver and passengers.
Across all variants the BRZ has a six-speaker infotainment system with a 7-inch touchscreen display, enabling Bluetooth smartphone connection and voice recognition.
Through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, all information is on view via two main screens. Easy-to-use functions provide access, the large display screen features an interface with smartphone-like features.
ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
The 2.0-litre four-cylinder horizontally-opposed engine serves up peak power of 152 kW at 7000 rpm and maximum torque of 212 Nm between 6400 and 6800 rpm put to ground through the rear wheels via either a six-speed manual or automatic.
Throughout its lifetime, Subaru BRZ has always enjoyed the premium five-star safety rating and that continues with the tS.
Vehicle Dynamic Control features electronic stability control, anti-lock braking, electronic brakeforce distribution, brake assist, traction control and hill start assist.
You don’t so much climb into the BRZ tS seats, as drop into them over generous side bolsters, which are designed to provide lateral support to occupants in spirited driving.
Strictly a 2+2, all four seats are snug and low to the ground, adding to the car’s low centre of gravity and giving occupants a feeling of speed characteristic of a performance car.
Legroom in the back is limited despite the front seats having especially thin backs.
There is no loss of driver confidence in Subaru’s to two-wheel drive, instead of four-wheel drive as is fitted to all other Subarus. BRZ’s suspension produces plenty of grip and stability.
A flexible draw stiffener links the front suspension cross-member and chassis subframe at an angle and applies a pre-load. This ensures the car responds in a broad range of driving situations, including turn-in, driving through ruts, in crosswinds and rain.
Sachs shock absorbers, tuned exclusively by STI, deliver linear steering response, while coil springs, also tuned by STI, limit body roll and provide a flat, quality feel for smooth ride comfort. The springs are painted in STI’s characteristic cherry red.
High performance Michelin Pilot Sport 4 215 / 40R18 tyres were selected by STI, following extensive testing, ensuring their suitability to the tuned suspension and body reinforcements.
On premium unleaded petrol the test car came up with consumption of 8.6 litres per 100 kilometres in a mix of suburban and highway driving.
Much pleasure is to be gained by driving the BRZ, especially the six-speed manual, with its short, sharp gearshifts at high revs to the accompaniment of the glorious deep throated growl typical of a boxer engine filling cabin.
AT A GLANCE
BRZ 6sp manual $33,990
BRZ 6sp automatic $35,990
BRZ Premium 6sp manual $35,490
BRZ Premium 6sp automatic $37,490
BRZ tS 6sp manual $39,894
BRZ tS 6sp automatic $41,894
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Subaru dealer for drive-away prices.
SPECIFICATIONS (Subaru BRZ tS 2.0-litre boxer petrol 6sp manual coupe)
Capacity: 1.998 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders horizontally opposed
Maximum Power: 152 kW @ 7000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 212 Nm @ 6400-6800 rpm
Fuel Type: Petrol 98RON
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 8.6 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 199 g/km
DRIVELINE: Six-speed manual
DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4240 mm
Wheelbase: 2570 mm
Width: 1775 mm
Height: 1320 mm
Turning Circle: 10.8 metres
Tare Mass: 1255 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 50 litres
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Ventilated disc
Three years / unlimited kilometres