Following its debut in 2013, the Subaru BRZ has been one of the few cars that focusing on driving purity over everything else. So good and satisfying was the way the BRZ swigged down a good road, the true enthusiast could easily ignore the stiff ride, interior noise levels and lack of sophisticated infotainment. But over the years, the BRZ hasn’t really improved. And its initial weaknesses, such as the anemic engine, are now glaring and frustrating, even to the most loyal fans.
Even so, the driving experience is difficult to dismiss, and the 2020 Subaru BRZ possesses a beautiful simplicity and an exploitable balance that’s nearly impossible to match, no matter the price. Combining that experience with everyday practicality, its small size and relatively low price, the 2020 Subaru BRZ continues to make a compelling argument for owning a car built solely for the purpose of driving enjoyment.
TRIM LEVELS & PRICING
The 2020 Subaru BRZ is offered in two trim levels, Limited and tS, with a starting price of $28,845. The BRZ is designed with 2+2 seating and fold-down rear seatback to give the coupe everyday practicality and comfort.
The BRZ Limited list of standard features includes Keyless Access with Push-Button Start, dual-zone automatic climate control, LED headlights (low and high beam), rear vision camera, dual USB ports and power door locks, side mirrors and windows. It also equipped with LED fog lights, SUBARU STARLINK 7-inch Multimedia Navigation system that includes a 7-inch high-resolution touchscreen with intuitive, high quality maps powered by TomTom. The system also offers voice activated controls and navigation, smartphone integration with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity with audio streaming and over-the-air updates through Wi-Fi. Also included in the list of features is SiriusXM All-Access Radio, Traffic and Travel Link.
Inside, black upholstery with contrasting red stitching is adorned throughout the cabin. Front seats on the Limited trim are upholstered with Alcantara inserts and leather bolsters, and standard dual-mode heated front seats feature the BRZ logo embroidered in red on the seatbacks. The leather-wrapped steering wheel integrates control switches for audio, cruise control and Bluetooth. The 2020 Subaru BRZ Limited with optional automatic transmission is priced at $29,945.
A Performance Package is available for the Limited trim with manual transmission. The brake system is upgraded to Brembo four-piston calipers and rotors on the front and dual-piston calipers and rotors on the rear. SACHS Performance shock absorbers are added to all four corners for improved ride and cornering stability. Also included in the package are unique 17 x 7.5-inch aluminum alloy wheels in dark gray finish. The BRZ Performance Package is well-priced at just $1,195.
2020 marks the return of the BRZ tS (tuned by STI) with a limited run of 300 units and priced at $31,495. The tS suspension upgrades include STI-tuned front and rear SACHS dampers and coil springs as well as an STI flexible V-brace in the engine compartment. Draw stiffeners are added to the chassis and sub-frame to improve steering response. The brake system is also upgraded to Brembo four-piston calipers and rotors on the front and dual-piston calipers and rotors on the rear.
The 2020 Subaru BRZ tS comes exclusively in a new Ceramic White exterior color and is paired with 18-inch wheels in matte-bronze finish wrapped in 215/40R18 Michelin Pilot Sport tires. The BRZ tS offers customers a more understated appearance than before, featuring a low-profile rear spoiler.
The BRZ tS is adorned with the exclusive Cherry Blossom Red accent around the front grille and unique rear bumper cover. The official BRZ tS badge in chrome and red is displayed on the front grille and rear decklid. The exterior foldable mirrors, roof-mounted shark fin antenna and BRZ badging all have a black finish. The fog lights have been removed and replaced with black fog light insert covers.
The cabin features black leather and Alcantara upholstery with contrasting red stitching and accents, including on the steering wheel, door and dash panels, knee pads, shifter and emergency brake boots and visor over the gauge cluster. The front seats have red leather bolsters and the seatbacks are embroidered with the tS logo. The center console has been updated to a cast black finish. The BRZ tS also comes standard with red front seat belts and a frameless interior rearview mirror.
The 2020 Subaru BRZ FA-Series engine uses “square” architecture, meaning that its bore and stroke dimensions are identical, in this case 3.38 inches (86mm). This geometry gives the BRZ engine a quick-revving nature, with a 7,400 rpm redline. The engine delivers 205 hp at 7,000 rpm, while the 156 lb-ft of torque peak arrives at 6,400 rpm. (Output remains 200 hp and 151 lb-ft with automatic transmission).
Yet, the BRZ engine is not as “peaky” as those numbers would suggest. The Subaru Dual Active Valve Control System (DAVCS) is instrumental in helping the engine produce a broad torque curve to help make the BRZ feel responsive in daily driving.
The 2020 Subaru BRZ fuel injection system uniquely combines direct injection and port injection technology. A direct-type fuel-injection system provides a cooling effect in the cylinders, which enables use of a very high 12.5:1 compression ratio. In light- and medium-load conditions, the port fuel injectors help produce precise combustion, increasing performance and efficiency.
The BRZ offers the choice between a 6-speed manual and, optional for the Limited, a 6-speed automatic transmission. The 6-speed manual features a short-throw shift lever, and triple-cone synchronizers on first through third gears help ensure durability. The 6-speed automatic offers no-compromise fast-shifting performance. The driver can select Sport mode from a switch on the center console for quicker, firmer automatic shifts. Moving the console mounted shifter from “D” to “M” enables manual shifting using the shifter handle or steering wheel paddle shift control switches. Downshift blipping control enhances the sports car driving experience.
A standard Torsen limited-slip differential helps the inside wheel maintain traction during cornering. For track driving, the standard Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and traction control system (TCS) offer four driver-selectable settings, including a new Track mode and a TCS Off switch for track driving activities. The double-wishbone rear suspension system provides outstanding bump absorption to enhance tire grip over varied surfaces. Electric power-assist steering, which reduces weight and load on the engine compared to hydraulic power steering, is tuned for engaging feedback.
200 horsepower @ 7,000 rpm (205 hp w/manual transmission)
151 lb-ft of torque @ 6,400 rpm (156 lb-ft w/manual transmission)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/29 mpg (manual), 24/33 mpg (automatic)
Performance test (BRZ tS)
Zero to 60 mph: 6.3 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 16.8 sec
Zero to 120 mph: 28.0 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 11.7 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 9.8 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 14.9 sec @ 94 mph
Top speed (drag limited): 134 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 151 ft