$21,173 - $23,570

2017 Subaru BRZ Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2017 Subaru BRZ was new.


Performance: 9.1

The refreshed 2017 BRZ offers a fun overall driving experience, according to test drivers. It combines potent handling and corner-carving abilities with a zippy engine that, although underpowered compared to others in the class, makes the BRZ speedy. Improved gearing and other modifications for 2017 aim to improve acceleration off the line.

  • "This is arguably the car business' last best hope for a fun, inexpensive sports car. It puts an exclamation point on the notion that a car without a gazillion horsepower or a six-figure sticker is fun to drive." -- AutoWeek
  • "The beauty of the BRZ is that you don't need to be driving at blazing speed to enjoy or understand what it's all about. … the refreshed 2017 Subaru BRZ reassures and excites even more directly than its predecessor. And, wisely, with a pure sports-car voice that will continue to capture our attention for years to come." -- Automobile Magazine
  • “Though quick, it isn't meant to be the fastest thing on a track. Yet its balance, poise, agility and rear-wheel-drive layout make the Subaru BRZ one of the most fun cars you can buy." -- Kelley Blue Book

Acceleration and Power

The 2017 BRZ comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder boxer engine, which boasts upgraded valves, camshaft, cylinder heads, and intake and exhaust manifolds for an output of 205 horsepower and 156 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard and a six-speed automatic is optional.

According to EPA estimates, the BRZ with the standard transmission gets 21 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway – about average for the class. The automatic transmission returns 24 mpg in the city and 33 on the highway, which are above average numbers for the segment.

Critics note that the engine modifications for 2017 probably won’t make a difference for the average consumer. They also think that while the BRZ wasn’t designed to be overly fast, the power it does produce is good enough. One driver noted that the most power is achieved by keeping the RPMs on the upper end.

  • All told, the BRZ still isn't fast, and that's OK. Subaru insists the engine is stronger and more durable thanks to friction-reducing polishes for the camshaft and valves and a revised direct-injection system." -- Automobile Magazine
  • Likely, though, most buyers won't really notice the slight improvement in forward thrust. The new car gains a few pounds - 21 for Premium, 15 for Limited - and while the power-to-weight ratio still increases, it's by a scant 0.25 pounds per horse." -- Autoblog
  • While torque still peaks at 6400 rpm, the bottom end of the curve is swollen at lower revs. Still there, though, is the characteristic dip in torque between 3500 and 4800 rpm. Keeping the revs up high, above this soft spot, remains a key element of a quickly moving BRZ." -- Car and Driver

Handling and Braking

Reviewers are keen on the BRZ’s refreshed handling capabilities. They especially note the BRZ’s prowess through turns, with greater grip as you enter and more stability coming out. Optional performance upgrades like shocks and Brembo brakes further enhance cornering ability and stopping power.

  • "With the BRZ's retuned springs and dampers, as well as its larger rear stabilizer bar and chassis reinforcements, Subaru engineers managed to heighten the car's already rewarding handling virtues. Turn-in is more fluid and crisp, but what stands out most is improved body control and grip.” -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Whereas the current BRZ would bound and unsettle slightly exiting Turn 1, the updated car swept over it as if the corner had been repaved in a finger snap. Its new Track mode (previously called Sport) permits broad oversteering drifts that melt into safe, stability-controlled cornering without anything like the previous car's abrupt lasso yank." -- Motor Trend
  • "In short, Subaru has made one of the best-handling cars under $30,000 several hairs better. You can't help but have fun in a car so capable of making you feel like a cornering hero every time you make a left." -- Autoblog

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