2018 Subaru BRZ Review
Pros & Cons
- Balanced and forgiving handling make for an easy and fun drive
- Excellent steering feel and response
- Comfortable and supportive front seats
- Better tech than what's offered by its Toyota twin
- Modest acceleration with no engine upgrade
- Significant highway noise
Which BRZ does Edmunds recommend?
Edmunds' Expert Review
Overall rating7.4 / 10
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 it like to live with?
Learn about day-to-day Subaru BRZ ownership from our editorial experts' long-term test of a 2013 Limited. We know it is fun and relatively affordable. How comfortable was the ride? How was the fuel economy? Was the cargo room big enough for everyday use? Learn this and more from our test. Note that the 2018 BRZ differs slightly from the 2013 model we tested — it was updated in 2017 with more power for the manual-transmission version — but our coverage is otherwise applicable.
2018 Subaru BRZ models
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.
|Overall||7.4 / 10|
Most helpful consumer reviews
Features & Specs
Our experts like the BRZ models:
- Side Curtain Airbags
- Automatically deploy when the car has been struck from the side. Covers the windows of both rows and protects occupants' heads.
- Vehicle Stability Control
- Uses the brakes and reduces power to prevent accidents. A Track mode reins in this intervention to allow some sliding.
- Brake Assist
- Automatically applies full braking force when the car detects the driver is initiating a panic strop.