BRZ STI is Coming: Will it Be Enough to Sway You from the S2000?

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The BRZ STI is finally coming, but will it be enough?

Subaru of America has teased images of an STI variant of the BRZ sports coupe. After 5 years, a hotter version of the BRZ is coming, and it’s not a moment too soon.

At the present time, the BRZ, along with the new Miata, have unofficially taken up where the S2000 left off in 2009 for a lot of enthusiasts. These cars tick a lot of the same boxes: lightweight, rear-wheel drive, and naturally aspirated engines that rev and rev and rev. While the Miata exchanges power for absolute lightness over the S2K, the BRZ plays the middle ground. At 2700lbs, it’s quite light, but with (an optimistic) 205 horsepower, and 156 lb-ft of torque, acceleration isn’t stellar.

It’s not all about the power figures, as I’ve gone on the record saying over and over again. With it’s low curb weight, that amount of power paired to 6-speed manual should have the BRZ hustling well enough. However, it never seemed to be the case. Why? Well, it’s a combination of the engine being a bit overrated, and the torque curve being terrible.

I will let me from the past explain what me from the present is talking about:

“The much maligned, Subaru-built FA20 flat-four engine is the Achilles Heel for the twins. On paper, the FA20 sounds pretty reasonable, with 205 horsepower and 156 lb-ft of torque and a 7,500RPM redline. A few years ago, those power figures would have been right there with the old Honda K20 engine. For a lightweight sports car weighing 2,700lbs, those power figures seem reasonable enough.

However, the stats say one thing,  the real world shows another. It seems that once strapped to a dyno, the twins leave the showroom floor a bit over-advertised with those power figures. A better guess is that in stock form, an 86 or BRZ is making closer to 190 horsepower, and 140 lb-ft of torque, doing some rough math from wheel horsepower to crank horsepower. Additionally, there is a massive dip in torque in the midrange, making that already soft torque figure even softer between 3,500 to 5,500RPM. The aftermarket can remedy this infamous torque dip, but unless you’re willing to drop over $1000 on some headers and an ECU tune that void your warranty, it’s an inescapable character flaw of the car.” [via]

Okay, so the engine is a flop, but the driving dynamics have always been good once the roads got twisty. So, when Subaru of America announced via their Facebook page: “Stay tuned…6/8/17. #STI” enthusiast ears perked back up. The BRZ is a good platform with which to build upon. If Subaru can finally step up to the plate and build a more hardcore BRZ, it would save enthusiasts many thousands of dollars, and busted knuckles trying to “fix” the car from the factory.

If should be noted that for the 2017 model year we have already seen changes made to the standard car, with 5 more horsepower and lb-ft, along with several chassis tweaks. Interestingly, a track performance package was made available, with larger brakes, better dampers and wider wheels and tires. Sounds like the basics have been beefed up to handle more power.

If, and that’s a big if, Subaru delivers a more high strung FA20 engine, making, say 230 horsepower, and has the chassis tweaks to match, would you buy one?

Let’s see if Subaru pulls through and delivers. Subaru BRZ STI


Jake Stumph is the lead Content Editor for S2KI and several other Internet Brands Automotive websites. He enjoys track days, drifting, and autocross, at least, when his cars are running right.

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