No sooner had Subaru updated their STi website yesterday about the imminent release of a car wearing STi badges that the internet went berserk, with several major outlets claiming that an STi BRZ was imminent. The usual turbocharged rumours followed but I’m here with some facts from a source close to Subaru in order to clean the mess up…
The fact is, the STi website was updated yesterday with a few vague photos and this happened to coincide with the 86 festival at Fuji Speedway where Subaru unveiled their latest BRZ package. What a lot of people don’t realize or understand is that a “tS” branded Subaru and an “STi” branded Subaru are very different creatures.
Think of it this way. The tS brand from Subaru is like an M-Sport packaged 3 series, while the STi is the full blown M3.
Firstly, the bad news. There is no turbo charger. The BRZ tS will sport the same 200hp flat four boxer from the standard edition. It will also carry the same exhaust system as the standard car. Don’t be entirely disappointed though…
Subaru have dubbed their new model the BRZ tS for a few reasons. There appears to be quite a bit of confusion among a great many people as to what the difference is between a “tS” and an “STi”. Well, think of a tS Subaru as the “Light Tune” version of Subaru models. The parts are still made by STi but that’s where the market placement ends. The tS moniker literally stands for “Tuned by STi” and in most instances, mods are restricted to bolt on accessories in the exterior and interior departments with a few in reserve for the chassis and drivetrain.
An STi on the other hand is more of a “works package” with a lot more engine and drivetrain modifications thrown into the mix along with the afformentioned parts for the tS.
The BRZ tS will come in two grades, the BRZ tS “GT-package” and the standard BRZ tS package. What’s the difference you might be asking? Not a great deal, if you’re looking for a power upgrade unfortunately.
The tS “GT pack” will come with a number of exterior mods including a dry carbon GT wing that was pulled from the Impreza RA STi parts shelf along with black multi spoke alloy wheels..
…Recaro front seats, shift knob, steering wheel button…
…kidney grill inserts…
…upgraded fog lamps and surrounding garnish, front under spoiler and side steps, strengthened driveshaft, Bilstein suspension upgrade and almost pointlessly, 6 pot Brembo brakes. 200hp will not take a lot of stopping.
The Standard BRZ tS makes do with a wingless arrangement, silver alloys and less trim additions, including the Recaro seats. Other than that, both have similar specs and both will come in 6 speed manual and automatic configurations. Subaru have announced that they will create 500 tS BRZ’s with the GT spec getting an allotment of 250 units.
Both cars are available for pre-order from Subaru from the 18th of this month with production to start in October and delivery shortly afterwards.
Prices for the GT package in Manual will start at around ¥4,090,000 ( USD $41,500 / AUD $46,600 ) with the slushbox tacking on another ¥100,000 ( USD $1000 / AUD $1150 ). As with so many special models from Subaru, neither of these cars is designated for international release.
This is sure to come as ( perhaps only slightly ) disappointing news for a lot of people, as many had anticipated a turbo release from Subaru but despite the erroneous claims on the internet by other outlets, along with claiming that there is no room in the engine bay for such a modification, Subaru is keeping very quiet about rumoured plans to include a full blown, official STi version to the lineup; something that anyone with enough forward thinking would realise is almost certain to happen in the future.
When that does happen is up for argument and debate but in the meantime, the aftermarket manufacturers have tuning enthusiasts covered for power upgrades.
One last point to consider is the timing for this release. Subaru plans to unveil a face-lifted model for the BRZ in October – at the same time these will officially go into production so what you are looking at is essentially a face-lift version of the 2014 release.
All image credits go to http://autoc-one.jp/
Words – Adam Zillin
Source – Subaru Japan