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2018 Subaru BRZ tS track review

By Scott Newman, 18 Jul 2018 Best Value Performance Cars

BFYB calculator isn’t kind to the gripped-up boxer, but the numbers add up for judges

2018 Subaru BRZ tS review

Keen students will know the new Subaru BRZ tS wears the same mechanical modifications as the Toyota 86 Performance Pack, namely larger Brembo brakes and retuned Sachs dampers.

This track review was carried out in conjunction with MOTOR's Bang For Your Bucks 2018

Why bring two of essentially the same car? Apart from giving each manufacturer a chance, the Subaru has one extra mod, the fitment of Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres.

The Toybaru ethos has always been about removing tyre grip to ensure accessible thrills and on the road the BRZ tS is certainly more tied down than any example before it. On track it’s a different story. At Winton the Subaru is a gem, retaining the playful attitude that makes these cars so enjoyable at the limit, but with a more stable base.

It could be difficult to predict just how far the Toyota would slide, its tyres checking out once their lateral grip limits had been exceeded, whereas the Subaru’s Michelins refused to give up completely, always allowing the driver some control, even when looking out the side windows.

For track work, the grip-to-grunt ratio of the BRZ tS is spot-on in terms of driving enjoyment, as evidenced by its third-placed judges’ ranking.

Against the clock, however, it was a different story. The benefit of those tyres is evident by the fact that the Subaru was 1.6sec quicker around Winton than the otherwise identical Toyota and it stopped more than six metres shorter, too. Nonetheless, a 1:41.20sec lap isn’t anything to get excited about when the event’s fastest machines were more than five seconds up the road.

Unfortunately, the extra traction wasn’t welcome either, as the 86 and BRZ often need a fair bit of wheelspin to keep their torque-lite boxer fours singing off the line. According to Luffy, the Subaru’s engine also felt tight, which meant the best it could manage was a lackadaisical 7.48sec to 100km/h and a 15.37sec quarter mile at 151.24km/h. Only the Suzuki was slower in a straight line.

Tie these figures to a relatively high $39,894 price tag and the BRZ tS was always going to struggle to make an impact on the BFYB formula. The similarly priced Hyundai i30 N and VW Golf GTI Original simply operated on a different performance plane thanks to their turbocharged engines.

However, while the Toybaru recipe isn’t one that’s going to be met with BFYB success, they’re never going to struggle to secure an invite, as there are few more enjoyable cars to fang around a racetrack. The BRZ and 86 can literally be thrashed all day without a hint of engine exertion or brake fade – they don’t even wear their tyres out!

That said, the BRZ tS is so composed a few pounds of boost wouldn’t hurt and might just vault it a few places higher up the order.

Fun need not come at a price with Bang For Your Bucks 2018

Subaru BRZ tS BFYB 2018 Results - 12th place

0-100km/h: 7.48sec (14th)
0-400m: 15.37sec @ 151.24km/h (14th)

Lap Time: 1:41.20sec (11th)

Price: $39,894

Bang Index: 103.1

Bucks Index: 125.9

BFYB Index: 113.3

Judges' Comments

Warren Luff - 4th
“It’s interesting when you compare it to the 86, the primary difference being the tyres, as you’re talking nearly two seconds worth of lap time. The tS takes the great platform and improves the grip level by 20 per cent so it doesn’t numb too many of the playful chassis’ characteristics. You can carry more rolling speed into a corner and know that mid-to-exit understeer that you potentially would normally get isn’t going to be there.”

David Morley - 6th
“Works even better than 86 thanks to grippier hoops”

Dylan Campbell - 3rd
“Better tyres make these cars better. The most fun car here”

Scott Newman - 4th
“Turns out giving a Toybaru grip doesn’t kill the fun”

Louis Cordony - 3rd
“Extra grip enhances Subaru’s driving deity and doesn’t smother its playful nature”

FAST FACTS 
2018 Subaru BRZ tS 

BODY: 2-door, 4-seat coupe
DRIVE:
 rear-wheel
ENGINE: 1998cc boxer-4, DOHC, 16v
BORE/STROKE: 86.0mm x 86.0mm
COMPRESSION RATIO: 12.5:1
POWER: 152kW @ 7000rpm
TORQUE: 212Nm @ 6400-6800rpm
WEIGHT: 1295kg
POWER-TO-WEIGHT: 117kW/tonne
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed manual
SUSPENSION: struts, coil springs, dampers, anti-roll bar (f); A-arms, coil springs, dampers, anti-roll bar (r)
BRAKES: 326mm ventilated discs, 4-piston calipers (f); 316mm ventilated discs, 2-piston calipers (r)
WHEELS: 18.0 x 7.5-inch (f/r)
TYRES: Michelin Pilot Sport 4 215/40 R18 85Y (f/r)
PRICE: $39,894

Bang For Your Bucks 2018

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