Subaru BRZ / Toyota 86 updated for 2017

  • ‘The BRZ has enhanced sports-car appeal’
  • Full diode headlights, pedestal rear spoiler
  • Better cabin materials, 10-spoked wheel rims
2017 SUBARU BRZ: Whole new look. Image: Subaru / Newspress
2017 SUBARU BRZ: Whole new look, revised engine, smoother handling. It will reach South Africa badged as the Toyota 86. Image: Subaru / Newspress

SUBARU’S BRZ Sports Coupe – twin sister to the Toyota 86 which is available in South Africa – has been majorly updated ahead of a global re-launch in 2017. Both models are pure Subaru, right down to the engine, but we understand have been loss-leaders for both brands in SA.

So much so that only the 86 continues in the Toyota models brochure. Subaru SA discontinued sales back in 2015 after launching in May 2013.

Nevertheless, the car still has many fans in SA so we’ll tell you all about it… but using the BRZ name because that is the source of our information.

Every area of the Subaru version – exterior, interior, power train, suspension and safety features – have been amended to, the automaker says, “refine the driving experience while enhancing its sports-car appeal”.

2017 SUBARU BRZ: Whole new look. Image: Subaru / Newspress
2017 SUBARU BRZ: The leather wrap on the steering-wheel has been improved, audio control buttons added. Image: Subaru / Newspress

A spokesperson for Toyota SA, which launched its 86-badged cars in August 2012, told The Corner: “South Africa will get the ‘minor change’ – the front and rear update – as well as interior fettling and under-the-skin refinements) in April 2017.”

The cars have been made wider and lower at the front – and not, Subaru says, just to be different. “The 45⁰ stepped accent on the bumper limits airflow into the air intake, which improves handling and ride.”


The nose now has full-diode headlights – the first to be fitted to a Subaru and bringing the car up to date with competitors. The tail-light clusters have been redesigned, an aerodynamic pedestal spoiler added to the rear, and wheels are now a 10-spoked aluminium alloy.

The cabin gets an 11cm colour multi-information display showing G force, steering angle, brake-pressure, lap timer and torque/power curves. The steering-wheel has been compressed into a smaller package and the grade of leather-wrap improved to increase the driver’s grip.

Audio controls have been added to it.

Better-quality materials have been used all over the cabin, Subaru says, among them Alcantara and leather seats.

The BRZ’s suspension, engine and drive train have also been “further refined” – the plot here intended “to improve its poised handling and driving experience”.

2017 SUBARU BRZ: Whole new look. Image: Subaru / Newspress
2017 SUBARU BRZ: Manual or auto gearbox, new infor screen. Image: Subaru / Newspress

The Boxer engine’s blocks have been made stronger, the valve stems buffed and polished, the camshaft generates less friction and the weight of the rocker arms has been reduced.

“These changes,” Subaru says,”together result in a more responsive, more fuel-efficient, engine.”


Body roll has been reduced by re-designing the shock-absorbers – which has also, Subaru claims, reduced vibration and improved steering precision.

“A new driving mode – ‘Track’ – enhances the car’s stability.” the automaker adds, “and allows more-refined (there it is again – Ed) accelerator input when driving on a race circuit.

“It has consolidated the previous five VDC modes into four.”

Should things go wrong the driver can rely on a next-generation advanced crash-bag system which has more-delicate sensors.

READ MORE Subaru features on Carman’s Corner

Finally, from early 2017 when the revised car is launched, the BRZ will be available only with SE Lux trim but with a choice of manual or auto transmission.

2017 SUBARU BRZ: The rear spoiler is new for 2017 – as are the 10-spoked alloy wheel rims. Image: Subaru / Newspress

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