2018 Subaru BRZ Review
Edmunds expert review
It doesn't seem that long ago that we were cooing at the arrival of the Toyota-Subaru twins, a pair of almost identical rear-wheel-drive sport coupes that were lightweight, beautifully balanced, easy to drive, and quite simply a whole heap of fun. Well, it's been five years, and we're still huge fans of the 2018 Subaru BRZ. And after two consecutive years of upgrades, it's now easy to say that it's the more appealing of the twins.
If you're only considering the cheapest base versions of the twins, they're practically identical. But if you're looking for extra equipment and extra performance, the Subaru is the way to go. In terms of creature comforts, the BRZ Limited adds dual-zone climate control, push-button start, heated seats and, for 2018, a new 7-inch touchscreen complete with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. You also get access to the Performance package, which adds upgraded Sachs dampers and Brembo high-performance brakes for superior driving dynamics the 86 just can't match.
And then there's the new BRZ tS also introduced for 2018. Limited to 500 units, it adds a variety of chassis-stiffening components, a further-tuned suspension, and special exterior and interior design elements. Plus, since it was tuned by Subaru's STI group, a carbon-fiber pedestal wing is thrown in for good measure.
So, even if the BRZ is the better choice between the Toyota-Subaru twins, there are still flaws and competitors to consider. The engine is the main point of contention. Acceleration is fine on paper, but there's little midrange punch and you have to keep the rpm high to get the most out of it. That means listening to a lot of unrefined racket from the four-cylinder boxer. Competitors are better in terms of power, refinement, noise and even fuel economy. There's also something to be said for interior space and quality, plus some missing safety features. Be sure to look around a bit.
What's new for 2018
Trim levels & features
The 2018 Subaru BRZ is a two-door sport coupe available in three trim levels: Premium, Limited and low-production tS. All of them come with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and rear-wheel drive. With the standard six-speed manual, the engine produces 205 horsepower and 156 pound-feet of torque. Those figures dip to 200 hp and 151 lb-ft with the optional six-speed automatic transmission.
Standard equipment on the BRZ Premium includes 17-inch wheels, summer performance tires, LED headlights, a trunk spoiler, heated mirrors, a height-adjustable driver seat, cloth upholstery, a leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel, a folding rear seatback, a 6.2-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, a variety of smartphone-streaming audio apps, a USB port, and an eight-speaker sound system with a media player interface, an auxiliary audio jack, a CD player and satellite radio.
Stepping up to the BRZ Limited nets you LED foglights, keyless ignition and entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, simulated-suede upholstery with outer seat portions in black leather, heated front seats, an enhanced trip computer display, a second USB port, and a 7-inch touchscreen that brings with it integrated TomTom navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Only the Limited can be fitted with the optional automatic transmission. Its optional Performance package adds Sachs performance dampers, Brembo high-performance brakes and gray-painted alloy wheels.
The limited-edition BRZ tS adds various body-stiffening elements, different STI-tuned Sachs dampers, black 18-inch STI wheels, the Brembo high-performance brakes, Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires, a pedestal-style carbon-fiber trunk spoiler, underbody spoilers, special black finishings on various exterior components, special Cherry Blossom Red accents exterior accents, and matching red leather on those seat portions that are black in the Limited. It does not have the Limited's LED foglights.
Noise & vibration6.0
Ease of use6.0
Getting in/getting out7.5
Audio & navigation5.0
Edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.