2024 Subaru BRZ tS: A Pure Sports Car

Strong points
  • Strong, fade-free brakes
  • Ideal driving position
  • Engine is a good match
Weak points
  • Tight interior
  • Needs Recaro seats like those in the WRX RS
Full report

Shannonville, Ontario—Much like sedans, sports cars are losing momentum—and fast. Sure, they’ve never been better or more powerful, but their popularity has dropped significantly. Blame SUVs and crossovers once again.

In the past few months we’ve had to bid farewell to the Audi R8, Audi TTS, Chevrolet Camaro, Dodge Challenger, Kia Stinger and more. Fortunately, there are still some fantastic options out there for sporty driving enthusiasts, including the Subaru BRZ. Fun fact: this little coupe has so far outsold the Toyota GR 86, its non-identical twin, by approximately 2.6 to 1.

Some people continue to seek thrills behind the wheel, and the BRZ is more than happy to oblige. For 2024, Subaru took the car a step further with the introduction of a tS model (short for “tuned by STI”), similar to what the company did with the first generation.

Photo: Vincent Aubé

What’s So Special About the BRZ tS?

The latest Subaru BRZ tS benefits from various performance-enhancing upgrades and is tailored to drivers who love to spend time on a track. Not everyone can afford a Porsche 911 or a Chevrolet Corvette to do some hot laps, you know, especially when you factor in maintenance such as tire and brake replacement.

The key upgrade here is the set of Brembo brakes with beefier discs and pads, as well as four-piston front and dual-piston rear calipers, providing extra stopping power and better fade-free performance. Also in an effort to improve handling on a track, the BRZ tS gets Hitachi Astemo dampers for the front suspension.

Photo: Vincent Aubé

Beyond these technical changes, the car receives 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels in unique dark grey finish. The 215/40R18 Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires are the same found on the Sport-tech model. Special badging is applied at both ends, while “BRZ” lettering can be found on the headlights. Inside, there’s tS-only contrasting blue stitching all over the place, plus an STI-branded start-stop button and red accents on the instrument cluster.

On the Track

Shannonville is neither the slickest nor the most challenging race track in Canada. Some sections of the 4.03-km long circuit have more bumps than others. It’s still twisty enough to put a car like the Subaru BRZ to the test and have fun with it.

Photo: Vincent Aubé

Rain from the previous day had left water in a few spots, but the track was completely dry for the most part—at least early in the day. That meant we could push the Japanese coupe to the limit.

The BRZ tS uses the same naturally aspirated 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine as other second-generation models, delivering 228 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. The six-speed manual transmission and Torsen limited-slip differential are familiar units, too.  

The larger and stronger brakes wasted no time showcasing their skills at the end of the long straightaway where cars can easily reach speeds of 150 km/h. The pedal is firmer and braking distances are definitely shorter. This BRZ is able to stay on the track for longer periods of time, which is something that matters a lot to driving enthusiasts.

The new shocks are designed to combine the best of both worlds—daily use and occasional track stints. The most demanding drivers will probably work on the suspension to make it even stiffer, but they’ll inevitably pay the price in terms of ride quality.

Photo: Vincent Aubé

Steering is remarkably precise, and the small size of the steering wheel further adds to the sporty driving experience. Pedal placement is perfect for heel-toe shifting, while manipulating the shifter ahead of tight corners is just short of orgasmic.

Mother Nature made things more difficult later in the day, as driving on a rain-soaked track with all electronic aids turned off can be pretty tricky. Thankfully, the rear-wheel-drive sports coupe boasts near-perfect weight distribution and a highly rigid chassis, so you can play it cool no matter what.

Where’s the Competition?

Let’s face it: the 2024 Subaru BRZ tS has no direct competitor other than the TRUENO Edition of the Toyota GR 86, which benefits from similar technical enhancements. Sure, the freshly improved 2024 Mazda MX-5 is highly attractive with quicker steering and new asymmetric limited-slip differential, but it’s smaller and, well, not a coupe.

The Ford Mustang EcoBoost has a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, but it’s much larger and definitely not aimed at the same crowd. Similarly, the Nissan Z is in a different class along with the Toyota GR Supra.

Watch: The Car Guide Test Drives the 2024 Subaru BRZ tS

Share on Facebook