Thursday, June 28, 2018


There’s RED as far as the eye can see, but a lot of what makes the tS different, is stuff you can’t see – but it matters a lot!

To the casual eye, this is a badge and red trim exercise – to impress your friends. But Subaru is a car company that’s very serious about performance.

This version of the BRZ (joint coupe partner with the Toyota Eight Six), has been fettled by STi – which stands for Subaru Tecnica International – but in this context I prefer to say ‘Seriously Tickled Inside’.
The STi division has a long, glorious and impressive history of taking standard Subaru Imprezas and developing them into giant-killing rally cars, and other high performance models. The engineers in this skunk works don’t mess around. If a Subaru model bears an STi badge, you know it will deliver.
Unfortunately in the case of this tS coupe, that extra power you asked for is not forthcoming – and you know what? It doesn’t matter a damn.

What this car does best is handle – really well. A lot of the under-the-skin changes are all about suspension tweaks.

What you can see is coloured red, just so you don’t forget what it was you forked out AUD$39,894 (base model BRZ is AUD$33,990). So that’s an extra AUD$5900 for the following:
  • SACHS suspension
  • Brembo brakes with red painted callipers
  • STi (red) coil springs
  • Flexible V-shaped bar
  • Flexible draw stiffener
  • Black finish 18-inch STi alloy wheels
  • Exclusive front bumper, including grille with tS badge
  • Black rear spoiler, mirrors and shark-fin roof mounted antenna
Okay, so that’s a list of extra specification items, but it’s what the STi whizz kids do with that stuff, and it’s all about making this BRZ handle with exceptional precision. You know me – I hate SUVs, but love a good sports car, and driving this BRZ very, very fast, brings a smile to your face.

Yes, it’s stiffer, but it corners flatter, and with steering precision that’s almost uncannily connected to your brain, and how fast you want to go around the corners appearing before you.

The slick six-speed manual is great to use, but I have become so used to driving quickly using ‘paddles’, I would prefer the Aisin six-speed auto with paddles.

However, maybe that would not enhance the BRZ TS’s track day performance.

There’s no doubt that the Toyota Eight Six/BRZ exercise has been a resounding success for both companies, and has delivered to enthusiasts an affordable, high performance car with high integrity credentials.

So, with the BRZ TS, look past all the red trim and enjoy the pure performance. Once you can accept the enormous tyre roar from the Michelin Speed Pilot tyres, the driving experience of the BRZ tS will be a joy.


  1. John, I love your blog and am in awe at the many incredible experiences and people you've met in your respected and illustrious career.

    But sometimes it sounds like you're just reading from a marketing brochure because it has been some time since Subaru has been serious about performance if their current crop of cars is the measure. The current WRX and STI version are now both seriously out-performed by the majority of their competitors on an objective scale, including the Focus RS and even Civic Type R. I have not driven an 86 or BRZ but the failure of Subaru to offer a turbocharged engine in this means the performance will always be "adequate" but hardly "high performance" as you claim. I'd be interested to see how my Focus ST performs up a windy country road compared to an 86 or BRZ. The ST is 188kW but 1471kg compared to the BRZ 152kW and 1264kg gives the ST a slight advantage. Anyway thanks for your blog, love it. Would love to shout you a hot chocolate if you're ever visiting Sydney with a few moments to spare, you would sure have some incredible stories to tell!

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  2. Oh I should add I'm not a Subaru-hater, a few months ago we bought a Forester and many in my family are on their fourth or fifth Subaru so they have merit but the last few years are hardly the performance masterpieces they once were.

    Perhaps if you wrote the truth about the performance Subaru wouldn't lend you cars to play with anymore? But to call the current crop of Subarus "high performance" when their competition flogs them is slightly distorted perhaps?

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