1. The engine of the 2017 Subaru BRZ has been thoroughly overhauled
Slight power gains of 5 hp and 5 lb-ft of torque are overshadowed by significant mechanical changes done to the BRZ’s flat-four engine for 2017. An aluminum intake manifold replaces the plastic one, a redesigned air intake system reduces resistance by 30%, and the camshaft journals are now coated with a lower-friction finish. The aluminum engine block is more rigid, and inside are strengthened piston heads. Rocker arm pivots have been redesigned, as has the fuel pump, and a larger diameter exhaust manifold now leads to a reshaped collector.
2. The chassis is a bit stiffer, the suspension a bit different
The chassis receives thicker brackets behind the strut towers, a thicker transmission cross-member plate, and added reinforcements in the rear wheelhouses. The suspension receives slightly stiffer front springs, 10% softer rear springs, a thicker rear anti-roll bar, and revised dampers said to “improve comfort while retaining handling characteristics.” Opting for the Performance Pack adds Sachs ZF dampers, which further increase stability and comfort, according to Subaru.
3. BRZ Performance Pack adds STI-like brakes
Opting for the Performance Pack not only adds four-piston Brembo brake calipers up front and two-piston calipers in the rear, it also upsizes the rotors. The front rotors are 12.8-in wide and 1.18-in thick, and the rears are 12.4-in wide and 0.79-in thick—same as the WRX STI. (For comparison, the stock BRZ has front rotors that are 11.6-in wide and 0.95-in thick and rear rotors that are 11.4-in wide and 0.71-in thick.) Larger brakes necessitated the use of a 0.5-in thicker wheel.
4. New digital display provides performance data
Nestled in the bottom right corner of the 2017 BRZ’s gauge cluster is a new 4.2-inch color display that shows typical trip computer data (fuel economy, range, average speed, distance, etc.) plus temperature and voltage, lateral Gs, steering angle, braking force, throttle angle, torque curve (graphically illustrating the BRZ’s mid-range torque dip), and it can also function as a stopwatch.
5. The BRZ leads the industry in manual take rate
83% of BRZ buyers opt for a manual transmission. Only half of people buying the similar Toyota 86 decide to shift themselves, which is still a dramatic improvement over the car’s days as the Scion FR-S, when just 27% opted for the stick.
6. BRZ buyers are some of the youngest in the market
With a median buyer age of 36, the BRZ has the third-youngest customer in the market. (First place is held by the Subaru WRX (32) and second by the WRX STI (34).)