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The Subaru BRZ tS Is Great, but It's Still Not an STI

We aren’t getting a BRZ STI, stop asking. Subaru instead will happily sell you a BRZ with some STI trimmings, like bigger brakes, a better suspension, and upgraded visual cues. The BRZ tS—or, Tuned by STI—isn’t the hardcore model we’ve been begging for for more than 10 years now, but it still does the job well enough.

Under the hood is the same 2.4-liter naturally aspirated boxer engine found in every BRZ, sending 224 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual transmission. No automatic here.

Quick SpecsSubaru BRZ tS
Engine2.4-Liter Flat-Four
Output224 Horsepower / 184 Pound-Feet
0-60 MPH5.4 Seconds
Weight2,846 Pounds
Price / As Tested$36,465

Does the tS deserve more power? Of course. Even a titch of extra low-end torque would make the BRZ feel less lethargic at low rpms. Slap a turbo on there, Subaru. But the boxer engine is still a riot to rip up to its 7,000 rpm peak before slamming into second, and it’s decently speedy once you get it going. It just takes a minute.

But straight-line speed comes second to superb handling. For any of you maniacs who thought the standard BRZ was too soft, the tS has stiffer Hitachi dampers for added composure. The front dampers are variable to help keep the front of the car softer (marginally), while the fixed dampers in the rear ride roughshod over bumps and undulations. It’s all part of the charm.

2024 Subaru BRZ tS Review

The tS is magical in corners. The ride is stiff, sure, but it keeps body roll to a faint whisper and gives the car unparalleled predictability. The chassis is balanced, and the extra grip from the standard Michelin Pilot Sport 4 summer tires is more than you’ll know what to do with. The steering is top tier too, matched only by the Mazda Miata at this price in overall response, feel, and feedback.

The bigger brake rotors measure 12.8 inches up front and 12.4 inches in the rear—up 1.2 and 1.0 inches over the base model. They do a better job of bringing the BRZ back down to speed without feeling overly grabby. And the brake calipers are painted gold, a subtle nod to the wheels and accents on previous STI models.

2024 Subaru BRZ tS Review

Pros: Lovely Handling And Balance, Tons Of Fun, Still Affordable

The BRZ tS is a driver’s car through and through. But it’s not terrible as a daily, either. The ride is stiff and it is loud as hell at highway speeds, sure, but Subaru Technica International added some nicer elements to the interior to make it more livable. Extra suede accents dot the dash and door panels, blue accents line the seats, and there are STI logos aplenty (what a tease). It feels like a slight upgrade over the nicest BRZ Limited.

The sport bucket seats are hella comfy and have enough bolstering for track days as well as excellent back and butt support. They do a good job of combating the rough ride. The manual adjustments make it hard to find a perfect seating position—not unexpected for a car trying to keep things light—but they are at least heated, which is nice.

2024 Subaru BRZ tS Review 2024 Subaru BRZ tS Review

Technology isn’t the BRZ’s strong suit (not that you’ll care when ripping around a mountain pass). The 8.0-inch touchscreen is slow to respond and the infotainment graphics are outdated. Standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto mean you can avoid it altogether, but those still require a cord. The retro-tinged digital instrument cluster looks sharp and it has tS-specific STI graphics. There’s even a custom boxer graphic on startup, just for funsies.

At least the tS does have Subaru’s EyeSight driver-assist technology standard. That used to be exclusive to automatic models, but now even manual owners get things like adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, and more.

2024 Subaru BRZ tS Review

Cons: Still Sluggish At Low RPMs, Loud And Harsh, Outdated Tech

The good thing about the BRZ tS is that you won’t have to pay STI prices for one. This model starts at $36,465 with destination—just under $3,000 more than the Limited model. That’s still affordable when looking at the alternatives; a Miata RF costs $38,790 these days and a GR86 with the Performance Package is $32,415—but that’s for a base version with fewer features.

So no, the Subaru BRZ tS isn’t a full-blown STI model. As much as I wish it were. But this car is sharper, tighter, and just a touch more refined than the base BRZ. That should be enough to move the needle for most buyers.

Competitors

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2024 Subaru BRZ tS
Engine2.4-Liter Flat-Four
Output228 Horsepower / 184 Pound-Feet
TransmissionSix-Speed Manual
Drive TypeRear-Wheel Drive
Speed 0-60 MPH6.0 Seconds
Maximum speed140 Miles Per Hour
Weight2,846 Pounds
Efficiency20 City / 27 Highway / 22 Combined
Seating Capacity4
Base Price$36,465
As-Tested Price$36,465
On SaleNow

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