Subaru Hopes BRZ Design Tweaks, Power Bump Get Buyers Hot and Bothered

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Are modest improvements in looks and power enough to revive consumer interest in the Subaru BRZ? The automaker sure hopes so.

A host of small changes were just announced for the rear-drive coupe’s 2017 model year, which sees its sister car (the Scion FR-S Toyota 86) switch identities. Every change aims to nudge the BRZ closer to what the public feels it should be — a performance car worthy of special status.

Well, looks are the first thing buyers will notice. For 2017, the BRZ’s face grows meaner, with a redesigned front fascia, wider grille and LED headlights. Exterior trim sees some minor changes, and an aluminum spoiler now comes standard on all models.

Underneath, Subaru added chassis reinforcements to boost the BRZ’s rigidity. Suspension upgrades, including a larger rear stabilizer bar, have improved handling in mind.

If you’re the type who likes to show off, the BRZ’s stability control system becomes less intrusive, with a higher threshold to cross before the electronic nannies pounce. Because of this, “sport” mode now becomes “track” mode.

A Performance Package is available for improved braking and suspension feel.

What about power, you ask? Prepare to get excited about five more horsepower and five added pounds-feet of torque, in manual transmission models only. Output now stands at 205 hp and 156 lb-ft, though a lowered final drive ratio (4.3:1, instead of 4.1:1) should help improve acceleration.

In Limited trim, a driver information display will log your BRZ’s handling data in a readout next to the tachometer. Other interior improvements include more convenient audio and display controls.

With the 2017 BRZ, it looks like Subaru took the “everything in moderation” approach to the makeover. With BRZ sales falling since its first full year on the market (2013), are the changes big enough to get consumers excited again?

[Image: Subaru of America]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Sportyaccordy Sportyaccordy on May 28, 2016

    Thinking more and more about it, I think they need to combine this with the Impreza/WRX. The big hurdle is the form factor. It's pretty much a 2 seater. If they took the Impreza platform, configured it in RWD, and punched out the BRZ's motor to 2.5L.... or better yet, just went with a 3.0L flat 6, I think a lot of people would take notice. I wouldn't be caught dead in a WRX with that ghastly wing and cheesy interior, but I'm OK with the BRZ. For ~$5K more, making it a sedan (or "4 door coupe") would make it a viable to a much wider audience without killing its ethos.

    • Hubcap Hubcap on May 28, 2016

      The normal WRX doesn't have the wing. The STI does and there's a wing delete option. Have you sat in the new WRX? I know this is partially subjective but to me the interior is much better than it was and is close to the GTI. And the WRX drives with an eagerness the GTI just can't match. You wouldn't be caught dead in a WRX because of a "cheesy" interior, yet you have no problems with a Civic or a 350Z. Funny that.

  • Jaeger Jaeger on May 30, 2016

    So they didn't fix the only thing that was wrong - weaksauce motor.

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  • 2manyvettes Tadge was at the Corvette Corral at the Rolex 24 hour sports car race at the end of January 2023. During the Q&A after his remarks someone stood up and told him "I will never buy an electric Corvette." His response? "I will never sell you an electric Corvette." Take that Fwiw.
  • Socrates77 They're pinching pennies for the investors like always, greed has turned GM into a joke of an old corporate American greed.
  • Analoggrotto looking at this takes me right back to the year when “CD-ROM” first entered public lexicon
  • Alan My comment just went into the cloud.I do believe its up to the workers and I also see some simplistic comments against unionisation. Most of these are driven by fear and insecurity, an atypical conservative trait.The US for a so called modern and wealthy country has poor industrial relation practices with little protection for the worker, so maybe unionisation will advance the US to a genuine modern nation that looks after its workers well being, standard of living, health and education.Determining pay is measured using skill level, training level and risk associated with the job. So, you can have a low skilled job with high risk and receive a good pay, or have a job with lots of training and the pay is so-so.Another issue is viability of a business. If you have a hot dog stall and want $5 a dog and people only want to pay $4 you will go broke. This is why imported vehicles are important so people can buy more affordable appliances to drive to and from work.Setting up a union is easier than setting up work conditions and pay.