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BRZ First-Gen (2012+) -- General Topics All discussions about the first-gen Subaru BRZ coupe


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Old 03-20-2017, 05:37 PM   #1
Var
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2017 BRZ Performance Package Impressions

I've been lurking around the forums for a while, trying to gather knowledge on these cars while also scouring Craigslist for a good deal on a 2014+ MY.
After getting frustrated at what was available in the used market, whether it be the flood of 2013 MYs or modified examples which I didn't want either, I started entertaining the thought of purchasing a brand new one.
I just sold my 99 C5 Corvette with coilovers/sway bars/big brakes/wheels/etc out of frustration. As capable as the car is, it just doesn't like bumpy roads and I miss the bumpy roads I used to drive in my Miata. Track cars don't make good street cars.
I got a deal I was happy with at a local dealer after using TrueCar and emailing back and forth with a few dealers trying to get the best price.

Impressions:


Sachs shocks - First thing that caught my attention just on the short drive home...the shocks. Very impressed. I haven't driven a base 2017 with the newly revised shocks, but I have driven my friend's 2016 FRS more than a few times. The base 2016 suspension was unremarkable. The Performance Package shocks are VERY good for a stock, inexpensive car.
They absorb bumps efficiently, and keep the car level and stable. I've had coilovers and custom valved Bilsteins on previous cars...still impressed with these.

Brakes - The Brembos also have much better feel and power than the base brakes. I haven't really stood on them hard yet, but repeated moderate trailbraking into corners in the hills and slowing down after straights, they feel great. They also make the car look much better. And obviously a pad slap and fluid change will yield much more impressive results than they would on the base brakes. And if you don't want to deal with squealing and dusty race pads, you can probably get away with keeping the OEMs, upgrading the fluid, and going to the track.

Wheels - The wheels are also much nicer than the base ones, but I'm not a huge fan of the stock wheels or the PP wheels in the first place. They had to make the brakes fit somehow I suppose. I wish they came with a 17 inch version of the STI wheels.

Limited Trim - This is one of those touchy subjects for me. I'm not really into the niceties about cars, and it's disappointing that they don't offer the PP on the base trim...
Having said that...damn these Alcantara seats are nice. The keyless entry and start are super convenient, the interior accents are very well done IMO. The touch screen unit performance-wise isn't bad. It takes a while to boot up and become responsive, but once it does, it responds to touches properly and renders new screens plenty quick. The logic and functionality behind it leave a lot to be desired though. The way it connects/disconnects from bluetooth is far worse than the $100 aftermarket unit I put in my Yukon. The stereo system is also very meh.

The rectangle LCD display - I saw some automotive journalist talking down on this feature, and yes it can be gimmicky but it can also be useful. The only dumb part is the dyno graph, which serves as a constant reminder of the torque dip. Aside from that, it provides great info. Fuel tank range, avg mpg, real time mpg, g-force graph, OIL TEMP (the most important and solely worth it), etc. I dunno...I like it. Don't understand the hate

Climate Control - The dual zone climate control, which I imagine is the same as previous years, doesn't seem to have a memory of the settings as I keep having to press many buttons to get it where I want every time. I'd much rather have the simple 3-knob system in the base 86. Digital HVAC makes me angry...personal preference.

Exterior - Absolutely gorgeous except for the black plastic front grill. A lot of people having been talking bad about the 86 front bumper but I actually prefer it. I'll keep an eye out for aftermarket pieces. Rather just have a simple medium-pattern mesh grill over this weird bubble thing.

Steering - This car feels like a front engine Cayman GTS, and that's a huge compliment. The steering is absolutely perfect and serves as a reminder that electric power steering can be in fact better than hydraulic in some instances. The steering firmware has supposedly been updated as well. Whatever it is, it's perfect. I wouldn't change a thing


Handling - Good balance of compliance and roll resistance. The car doesn't get unsettled, even over some pretty nasty bumps, dips, swells, etc. I took it for a couple hundred miles of canyon and goat trail driving already. It's extremely confidence inspiring. The only complaint I have about this car is the mid-corner push from the front end. I'm ordering camber bolts and will probably go to a 0 toe setting in the front for some extra grip. I don't even mind the Prius tires. I dunno if it's because of the slight stretch on the 7.5" wide PP wheels, but they don't howl as much as other people led me to believe. I was also surprised to see that they are 240 UTQG tires...what? I thought they were supposed to be rock-hard everlasting plastic tires. Anyway..I don't mind them. Low grip makes cars more fun IMO, and this car isn't even that low grip. It's fine, and more importantly it's fun.

( The handling characteristics remind me more of a modern 240sx than they do of a Hachi. I've had multiple of each with different levels of mods. )

Engine - Torque dip..ya. Sure. It's there. I don't like it. But whatever. The engine makes plenty of power to have fun with. I describe it as a 'slow car with enough power.' The engine software leaves a lot to be desired. The throttle mapping is very laggy, and it could be due to driving the car in Track Mode instead of doing the pedal dance. It might be doing some stuff in the background to keep the car more stable. I'll try driving with all the aids off once I'm more used to the chassis balance. Only have about 300 miles on the clock as of now. I can't wait for a finalized OFT tune for the 2017 MY. I want that and a header in the near future. Shiv?

Overall impressions - I love it. It's a pretty, pure sports car built with focus and very apparent intent. I don't take it for granted. There is no other car like it. I'll include the Miata out of respect, but convertibles are dumb and have a whole host of issues like leaks, noise, theft, wear/damage, roll bars for the track, etc. This is seriously one of the best cars a driving enthusiast can buy. This is what Japan was doing in droves in the late 80s and early 90s. Now it's left to the twins and the Miata to carry the torch as manufacturers and people apparently stopped caring.

I could have purchased a much more expensive and faster car, but nothing out there really caught my attention. I've driven new BMWs and Porsches. I've owned well over 30 cars by now. Built and tracked Miatas, 240s, and Corvettes, Hachis (yes multiple of each one of those). Had muscles cars (Trans-Am, Chevelle, Mustang) I'm currently also building an Exocet ( https://www.flyinmiata.com/exocet/ ). And I'm still impressed by this car.
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Old 03-20-2017, 05:45 PM   #2
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I agree with everything you said here.
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Old 03-20-2017, 05:55 PM   #3
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I agree with everything you said here.
Same here.

I don't have the super precise feel that @Var does and I'm new to driving "sports cars" but so far I've had no issues with the feel, specifically. The handling is great, cornering is nice with not much roll, and the bumps are handled very well from my more basic perspective.
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Old 03-20-2017, 06:37 PM   #4
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Glad to see the positive reviews still with the BRZ even into its revised version.
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Old 03-30-2017, 04:30 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Var View Post
I've been lurking around the forums for a while, trying to gather knowledge on these cars while also scouring Craigslist for a good deal on a 2014+ MY.
After getting frustrated at what was available in the used market, whether it be the flood of 2013 MYs or modified examples which I didn't want either, I started entertaining the thought of purchasing a brand new one.
I just sold my 99 C5 Corvette with coilovers/sway bars/big brakes/wheels/etc out of frustration. As capable as the car is, it just doesn't like bumpy roads and I miss the bumpy roads I used to drive in my Miata. Track cars don't make good street cars.
I got a deal I was happy with at a local dealer after using TrueCar and emailing back and forth with a few dealers trying to get the best price.

Impressions:


Sachs shocks - First thing that caught my attention just on the short drive home...the shocks. Very impressed. I haven't driven a base 2017 with the newly revised shocks, but I have driven my friend's 2016 FRS more than a few times. The base 2016 suspension was unremarkable. The Performance Package shocks are VERY good for a stock, inexpensive car.
They absorb bumps efficiently, and keep the car level and stable. I've had coilovers and custom valved Bilsteins on previous cars...still impressed with these.

Brakes - The Brembos also have much better feel and power than the base brakes. I haven't really stood on them hard yet, but repeated moderate trailbraking into corners in the hills and slowing down after straights, they feel great. They also make the car look much better. And obviously a pad slap and fluid change will yield much more impressive results than they would on the base brakes. And if you don't want to deal with squealing and dusty race pads, you can probably get away with keeping the OEMs, upgrading the fluid, and going to the track.

Wheels - The wheels are also much nicer than the base ones, but I'm not a huge fan of the stock wheels or the PP wheels in the first place. They had to make the brakes fit somehow I suppose. I wish they came with a 17 inch version of the STI wheels.

Limited Trim - This is one of those touchy subjects for me. I'm not really into the niceties about cars, and it's disappointing that they don't offer the PP on the base trim...
Having said that...damn these Alcantara seats are nice. The keyless entry and start are super convenient, the interior accents are very well done IMO. The touch screen unit performance-wise isn't bad. It takes a while to boot up and become responsive, but once it does, it responds to touches properly and renders new screens plenty quick. The logic and functionality behind it leave a lot to be desired though. The way it connects/disconnects from bluetooth is far worse than the $100 aftermarket unit I put in my Yukon. The stereo system is also very meh.

The rectangle LCD display - I saw some automotive journalist talking down on this feature, and yes it can be gimmicky but it can also be useful. The only dumb part is the dyno graph, which serves as a constant reminder of the torque dip. Aside from that, it provides great info. Fuel tank range, avg mpg, real time mpg, g-force graph, OIL TEMP (the most important and solely worth it), etc. I dunno...I like it. Don't understand the hate

Climate Control - The dual zone climate control, which I imagine is the same as previous years, doesn't seem to have a memory of the settings as I keep having to press many buttons to get it where I want every time. I'd much rather have the simple 3-knob system in the base 86. Digital HVAC makes me angry...personal preference.

Exterior - Absolutely gorgeous except for the black plastic front grill. A lot of people having been talking bad about the 86 front bumper but I actually prefer it. I'll keep an eye out for aftermarket pieces. Rather just have a simple medium-pattern mesh grill over this weird bubble thing.

Steering - This car feels like a front engine Cayman GTS, and that's a huge compliment. The steering is absolutely perfect and serves as a reminder that electric power steering can be in fact better than hydraulic in some instances. The steering firmware has supposedly been updated as well. Whatever it is, it's perfect. I wouldn't change a thing


Handling - Good balance of compliance and roll resistance. The car doesn't get unsettled, even over some pretty nasty bumps, dips, swells, etc. I took it for a couple hundred miles of canyon and goat trail driving already. It's extremely confidence inspiring. The only complaint I have about this car is the mid-corner push from the front end. I'm ordering camber bolts and will probably go to a 0 toe setting in the front for some extra grip. I don't even mind the Prius tires. I dunno if it's because of the slight stretch on the 7.5" wide PP wheels, but they don't howl as much as other people led me to believe. I was also surprised to see that they are 240 UTQG tires...what? I thought they were supposed to be rock-hard everlasting plastic tires. Anyway..I don't mind them. Low grip makes cars more fun IMO, and this car isn't even that low grip. It's fine, and more importantly it's fun.

( The handling characteristics remind me more of a modern 240sx than they do of a Hachi. I've had multiple of each with different levels of mods. )

Engine - Torque dip..ya. Sure. It's there. I don't like it. But whatever. The engine makes plenty of power to have fun with. I describe it as a 'slow car with enough power.' The engine software leaves a lot to be desired. The throttle mapping is very laggy, and it could be due to driving the car in Track Mode instead of doing the pedal dance. It might be doing some stuff in the background to keep the car more stable. I'll try driving with all the aids off once I'm more used to the chassis balance. Only have about 300 miles on the clock as of now. I can't wait for a finalized OFT tune for the 2017 MY. I want that and a header in the near future. Shiv?

Overall impressions - I love it. It's a pretty, pure sports car built with focus and very apparent intent. I don't take it for granted. There is no other car like it. I'll include the Miata out of respect, but convertibles are dumb and have a whole host of issues like leaks, noise, theft, wear/damage, roll bars for the track, etc. This is seriously one of the best cars a driving enthusiast can buy. This is what Japan was doing in droves in the late 80s and early 90s. Now it's left to the twins and the Miata to carry the torch as manufacturers and people apparently stopped caring.

I could have purchased a much more expensive and faster car, but nothing out there really caught my attention. I've driven new BMWs and Porsches. I've owned well over 30 cars by now. Built and tracked Miatas, 240s, and Corvettes, Hachis (yes multiple of each one of those). Had muscles cars (Trans-Am, Chevelle, Mustang) I'm currently also building an Exocet ( https://www.flyinmiata.com/exocet/ ). And I'm still impressed by this car.


Yes to all of this.

I came out of a cammed V8 G8 and I don't miss it at all

It's got all the feel and handling I want and the modest power together with the gearing makes it fun every time you drive it.

The performance package suspension package is amazing compared to the original damper package - every part of the already stellar handling is improved - just wish it sat a tiny bit lower from the factory.


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Old 03-30-2017, 05:53 PM   #6
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One other thing I love about this platform is how cheap it is to maintain. Aside from the coilpacks I guess.


The 86 will be a future classic for sure. It might not be worth tons of money, but I think it will always be respected by other enthusiasts.
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Old 03-31-2017, 06:03 PM   #7
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good review, way better than all the silly youtube reviews
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Old 03-31-2017, 07:00 PM   #8
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good review, way better than all the silly youtube reviews
Everyone wants to be Clarkson/Harris

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Old 03-31-2017, 10:00 PM   #9
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One other thing I love about this platform is how cheap it is to maintain. Aside from the coilpacks I guess.


The 86 will be a future classic for sure. It might not be worth tons of money, but I think it will always be respected by other enthusiasts.
It isn't respected by many enthusiasts now so I am not sure what will change in the future. Hell, about half this forum doesn't respect it for what it is and want to change most of it's characteristics.
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Old 04-04-2017, 08:47 PM   #10
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I fit 2017 rear springs to my 2013. I had already fit Bilstein B6 (HD) dampers. With a Whiteline 20 mm front bar (instead of 2017 Subaru higher rate front springs) my car is set up fairly close to a new 2017. I did not fit the slightly larger 2017 rear bar, but I may.

The torque dip is completely cured by fitting an eForce Edelbrock Supercharger.

My car not only handles much like a former gen Cayman, its faster......
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Old 04-04-2017, 09:47 PM   #11
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good review but personally i do like the new dyno graph in the helper screen ^^ definitely one of the few cars with one...sure it is a little gimmicky but it is pretty fun to watch
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Old 04-18-2017, 06:35 AM   #12
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I test drove one with the Performance Package last weekend. I was most impressed by the updated suspension. Much more refined, controlled, and less bumpy. Brakes are very solid. The higher final drive ratio gave a feel of slightly quicker acceleration. Although overall power felt about the same.
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Old 04-27-2017, 05:08 PM   #13
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It isn't respected by many enthusiasts now so I am not sure what will change in the future. Hell, about half this forum doesn't respect it for what it is and want to change most of it's characteristics.
I think i'm one of the few people that thought thats what i wanted and then after doing so i realize i miss what made the car so awesome in the first place. Edelbrock SC is coming off!
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Old 04-27-2017, 05:32 PM   #14
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I think i'm one of the few people that thought thats what i wanted and then after doing so i realize i miss what made the car so awesome in the first place. Edelbrock SC is coming off!
wow... I need to save this post and come back to it every time I think about more power.
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