2024 Subaru BRZ tS Track Test Review: Cranking Up the Fun Meter

Jeff Wilson
by Jeff Wilson

Photos By: Jeff Wilson

What happens when the mad scientists in Subaru’s STI performance division get ahold of the company’s purest, lightest, razor-sharp sports car? Do they add a turbo, or a bunch more power? Well, errr, no, but they still managed to make one of our favourite bargain sports cars better.

What's New: The Brembo Effect

The most significant single change to the BRZ tS is probably the addition of the Brembo braking kit. The gold calipers house a 4-piston front set-up, and a 2-piston rear, clamping down on rotors that have grown an inch in diameter out back, and just over an inch up front. The result is not only more serious stopping power, but binders that can properly stand up to track use.

A small contingent of automotive media were turned loose at Shannonville Motorsport Park, a couple hours east of Toronto during a two-day event. Video footage shared by the drivers from the first day showed the punishment endured by the test cars with smoke pouring off the brakes (this, despite a “cool-down” lap). Subaru’s team on hand hadn’t felt the need to put on fresh brakes for the second day, and indeed, a few laps in to day two, they still exhibited excellent bite, modulation and impressive power.

Exterior Style: Unique Color

Keen-eyed Subaru fans will be able to pick out the tS from fifty yards, spotting tS badges on the grille and trunk lid, the red headlight accent, or the black side mirrors, wheels and shark fin antenna, or of course those bright gold brake calipers. The new Sapphire Blue Pearl paint is a more obvious giveaway since it’s only available on the tS within the BRZ lineup.

Powertrain: Familiar Friend

The tS continues with the same naturally-aspirated 2.4 L, four-cylinder Boxer engine, doling out 228 horses and 184 lb-ft of torque. Along Shannonville’s back straight, the BRZ needs a couple of gear changes to eke out the most speed, but it’s so rewarding to swing that tach needle past 7,000 rpms and actually work for the speed in an era where turbos and electrification have dulled the experience and made everything from family sedans to 3-row SUVs silly-quick.

The six-speed manual transmission is the only gearbox offered on the tS, and in both the US and Canada, roughly 80% of the BRZ’s customers skip the slushbox. It’s a bit notchy, but the throws are nice and short, and while the efficiency and emission control demands diminish the free-revving nature somewhat, it’s still tremendous fun drive the BRZ everywhere like you’re trying to qualify on pole.

Handling and Drivability: Small Suspension Tweaks

That extra stopping power (and cornering capability) prompted the folks at STI to swap out the BRZ’s aluminum steering knuckles for iron ones for their added strength. Nice, but what the driver is more likely to feel is the pair of Hitachi Astemo dampers added up front. These mechanical units operate in two frequencies with both normal oil channels and bypass channels that can help manage low frequencies to mitigate pitch and roll, or on rough surfaces, switch to high frequencies for greater absorption. Compared to the complex electronically adaptable suspenders showing up on so many performance machines these days, this comparatively simple system works so well, making one wonder why more companies don’t go this route.

Reportedly the tS is slightly stiffer than the rest of the BRZ line up, but without driving them back-to-back, you’d never notice. The BRZ tS wears the same 215/40R18 Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires as the rest of the line up with Subaru’s folks suggesting many BRZ buyers utilize a second set of stickier, track-ready wheel-and-tire package, that we were reminded, will fit in the trunk with the rear seat folded.

Interior Style and Quality: Blue Stitching, STI Badging

Inside, the red trim and stitching from other BRZ models is blue in the tS, and there are a few other subtle details like the red STI-branded start button and STI graphic that flashes up on the gauge display when starting the car. Otherwise, the interior and its finishes are the same as those found on the Limited trim (Sport-Tech in Canada).

Tech and Safety: EyeSight Now Standard

Subaru has also sorted out its EyeSight driver assistance package to work with manual transmission cars, now making it standard on every model the company sells. This means pre-collision braking, adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning systems are now found on the BRZ, too, all of which can back off its intervention when the car is put into Track mode.

Value, Dollars and Sense: Performance Bargain

BRZ buyers have a propensity for modifying their cars – often as soon as they take delivery. The tS represents a relatively incremental upgrade over the Limited trim, commanding an extra $2,600, which wouldn’t even cover the cost of the brake kit in the aftermarket, making the suspension tweaks gravy on top. In Canada, the tS is an even better value, adding only $1,400 to the Sport-Tech’s tab.

2024 Subaru BRZ tS Final Thoughts

Enthusiasts will always cry for more. More power, stickier tires, more noise, more spoilers, or whatever else their particular fetish demands. Sure, more power would make the BRZ tS even quicker around the track, but this latest “Tuned by STI” BRZ is the best BRZ we’ve got, and it’s darn easy to love it for what it is. And hey, you can still mod it further if you want; you’ll just be starting with a great, well-balanced machine out of the box.

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Braking Power

No Engine Upgrades

Suspension Upgrades

No Trie Upgrades

Fun Factor Remains High



2.4-liter four-cylinder


228 hp, 184 lb-ft





Fuel Economy USA (MPG):

20 city, 27 highway

Fuel Economy Canada (L/100 km):

12.0 city, 8.8 highway

Starting Price USA:


Starting Price Canada:


As Tested Price USA:


As Test Price Canada:


Jeff Wilson
Jeff Wilson

If there’s anything better than a good road trip through the desert, Jeff probably hasn’t heard of it. He’s got a propensity for buying less-than-perfect sports cars like a well-worn Boxster, an M Roadster and an MR2, but has applied a lifetime of passion to more than a dozen years of automotive and motorcycle reviews. He’s even collected several awards in the process including recognition for Best Automotive Review and Best Published Photography from the Automobile Journalists of Canada in 2023.

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