2017 Subaru BRZ Performance Pack First Drive

For 2017 Subaru has added even more fun to the BRZ with the introduction of the Performance Pack. This brings upgraded suspension, brakes and other valuable bits to the popular sport coupe. To find out how it all comes together, Ryan flew out to Circuito Guadix in Granada, Spain, for some laps around the track.

It’s been more than four years since Subaru launched the BRZ. Since then, its gained a cult following among young, educated, sports car enthusiasts.

For 2017, Subaru has brought even more fun to the segment with even more performance, off the showroom floor.

The engine might look the same as before, but on manual transmission models, it’s received a number of enhancements: the redesigned intake manifold is now aluminum, the air intake flows better, camshaft journals have a low friction finish, the block is more rigid and even the pistons have been strengthened

The result is a power bump of 5 horsepower and 5 lbs-ft of torque. Okay, it’s not a major increase, but every little bit helps. The final drive on manual models has also been dropped from 4.1 to 4.3:1 for quicker starts off the line.

Subaru didn’t stop there: The body has received additional reinforcements for stiffness. The rear sway bar is 1mm thicker. LED headlights and taillights are now standard. It also gets a sweet aluminum wing that isn’t just for looks, it’s also functional.

Inside, the seats get new embroidery and the aircon system has new trim. The most significant change is a whole new steering wheel. Now, with integrated audio controls. The gauge cluster adds a multi-function display with g-meter, stop watch and other useful data. The rest of the interior, is pretty much a carry-over.

In all, these are a number of really nice improvements. Nothing to warrant trading in an older model, but for new buyers cross-shipping the segment, this adds some extra sizzle to the Subaru side of the equation.

So why have I traveled all the way to Spain? Subaru hasn’t just updated the BRZ for 2017, they’re also introducing a new model, the BRZ Limited with Performance Pack. This adds Brembo brakes, upgrades dampers and fits unique, 17 x 7.5-inch alloy wheels. This model slots in $1195 over the Limited, at $28,840.

Previously, the BRZ’s traction control system had two modes, Normal and Sport. Sport is now called Track mode, but Subaru has done a lot more than just rename it – they’ve improved it. The intervention threshold has been raised, so even with traction control on, drivers can explore the outer-limits of the BRZs improved handling.

All the extra goodies on this Performance Pack edition does add a minor weight penalty: 20-pounds total. That makes the BRZ 2833-lbs, which is still quite good compared to rivals. It’s also more practical, since it retains the 2+2 format, versus 2-seater options like the 370z and Miata.

Here’s the thing about journalists on a race track. We all push the cars: Overly-enthusiastic corner entries. Hard braking. Full throttle exits. And, even the occasional, and unfortunate, miss-shift. In short, they get abused.

Even just a few laps of a normal street car around the course can cause major problems: from overheated brakes, to blown engines.

We drove these same BRZ’s from the hotel, to the track, lapped all day and drove them back with zero issues. Zero. Issues.

I love small, affordable sports cars like the Mazda Miata, Fiat 500 Abarth and even the Ford Focus ST. With the Performance Pack version of the Limited, Subaru has provided a number of improvements that help keep it at the top of the list.

 

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