If you’ve been on the fence about buying a new Subaru BRZ or Toyota 86, this just might be the small nudge that gets you to jump off that fence and dive into the cool waters of FT86 ownership — Subaru has taken the wraps off of their “newly redesigned” BRZ. Let’s take a closer look at some of the new details, shall we?
The overall body and chassis of the 2017 “kouki” car remains fairly similar to the 2013-2016 “zenki” model (sorry I’m going to borrow from the JDM nomenclature here) with the most obvious visual changes being:
- a different front bumper design (primarily changes to the side “air scoops” which based on the photos I’ve seen, I’m going to presume is non-functional just like on the zenki bumper design)
- redesigned headlights, which incorporate a different LED running light (and which seems to mean that the lower LED running lights that were a feature on the zenki are now gone)
- redesigned tail lights that resemble some of the aftermarket options that have come out for the zenki models
- a different rear spoiler design with more pronounced end pieces
- the standard wheels sport a new design as well.
Inside the car the interior has received a few changes too, with some nicer looking materials on the dash and door panels, and the steering wheel has now sprouted some new controls, presumably for the entertainment system and perhaps the new functionality of the updated instrument cluster. There is a new available 4.2″ LCD multi-function display integrated into the instrument cluster, incorporating driver information like a digital G-force meter and lap time display.
The performance aspects of the motor and the transmission have been tweaked too, giving 5 additional hp and 5 ft-lb of torque and revised gear ratios will help improve the acceleration even more. That may not sound like much but word on the street is that power under the curve is noticeably better and the driving experience may be significantly better than the previous version. We will have to wait and see though.
Perhaps most exciting for driving enthusiasts, there will also be a Performance package offered, featuring a Brembo brake system with red calipers and a set of wider 17×7.5-inch alloy wheels. Admittedly a 7.5” wide wheel still doesn’t sound all that impressive compared with what is available on the aftermarket, but it’s still a move in the right direction and means wider tires are probably offered as well. The suspension also sees some adjustment, with different calibrations and Sachs dampers that should give the BRZ better control while cornering. A re-calibrated vehicle stability control system features a ‘Track’ mode that is said to have less intrusive nannies to let you get your drift/hoon on. Again we’ll have to wait and see just how aggressive this new feature is, and whether hard core track enthusiasts will still prefer to do the “pedal dance” to completely remove the stability control nannies. The Performance Package won’t be available until “Winter 2017” however.
Last but not least, the Subaru site drops a not so subtle hint that they are going to make another interesting announcement on June 12. The accompanying photo shows the BRZ’s rear in a distinctive yellow color that has never been offered before on the BRZ — could it be the same Yuzu Yellow from the Release Series 1.0 FRS? We’re not sure if it will be another limited edition BRZ like the Series.Blue or the BRZ tS by STI variant that was available only in Japan. I’m not going to hold my breath for a turbo or supercharged version from the factory, but I guess we will find out in a few weeks…
So all in all, some exciting changes to the BRZ (and we will likely see much of the same for the Toyota 86 as well) that seem to make the car even more sharply focused on performance and driving pleasure! I think these are for the most part welcome changes and helps further strengthen the potential of this platform for enthusiasts everywhere. Let us know in the comments below if you agree, or if there are other things you wish the car had (or didn’t have) from the factory.