Subaru: To give the BRZ fresh appeal as it gets older Subaru has added this new tS model, which features a range of upgrades from the brand’s performance division, STI.
The new tS tops the updated-for-2018 BRZ range, priced from $39,894 (plus on-road costs), which makes it just over $10,000 cheaper than the Nissan.
It gets a range of additional performance parts over the BRZ Premium model, including 18-inch STI alloy wheels, red-painted Brembo brake callipers, Sachs suspension, STI coil springs, new bumper, rear spoiler and tS/STI badges.
Nissan: The arrival of the BRZ (and Toyota 86) has had a big impact on the price of the 370Z. When it first went on sale in 2009 it was priced from $70,990 (plus on-road costs) but since the arrival of BRZ/86 its price has plummeted. For 2018 it now starts at $49,990 for the model we’re testing here.
While that’s still a lot more than the Subaru, you get more metal - a bigger engine and larger car - so that needs to be factored into the value equation.
It comes equipped with 19-inch alloys, keyless entry and ignition, heated leather and cloth trimmed sports seats and an eight-speaker Bose sound system with a 7.0-inch colour touchscreen that incorporates Bluetooth, navigation and a reverse camera.
Subaru: The interior of the BRZ has always been one of its weaker points. The reality of producing a rear-wheel drive coupe at this price means money has be saved somewhere. The result is a plain, unspectacular cabin.
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However, the STI touches for the tS add a bit of flair. They include a new steering wheel with STI logo and red stitching, red seat belts, Alcantara trim with red highlights and a starter button with STI logo.
Despite being a smaller car, the BRZ is a more practical coupe thanks to its pair of rear seats. Although it must be said that they are more for children - or adults willing to suffer the cramped space.
Nissan: While the Subaru has a plain interior the 370Z just looks old-fashioned. It is largely unchanged from when it first launched nearly a decade ago so it looks a generation (or two) behind its rival.
The materials used, instruments, graphics and even the limited adjustment of the steering column all showcase the car’s age.
The two-seater layout is more in keeping with the sport intent of these cars but coupled with the small boot there’s no hiding the Zed is an impractical car.
Subaru: The Subaru is not - or ever been - a high-powered sports car. It’s driven by a respectable but modest 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine that makes 152kW of power and 212Nm of torque.
What it may lack neck-snapping grunt it has enough performance to make it a fun and enjoyable car to drive. There’s a nice balance between the engine, chassis and tyres that makes the BRZ feel harmonious most of the time, and hilarious when you want it be.
Nissan: It’s getting old and it’s always sounded gruff but the 3.7-litre V6 ultimately produces when it counts. With 245kW and 363Nm the 370Z has the Subaru covered in terms of sheer performance.
It feels stronger, both off the mark and through the mid-range, than the BRZ, but it needs it because it’s pulling a bigger, heavier car along.
All things considered the Nissan gets the points in this contest because of its superior performance but on the road the gap between them feels a lot closer.
How it drives
Subaru: What it lacks in sheer grunt the BRZ makes up for with a balanced and engaging driving experience.
For the tS the dynamic level has been raised with new Sachs suspension and STI coil springs, added to improve steering response. STI have also added Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres to go with the new alloy wheels to improve grip.
In terms of ride quality the new suspension feels slightly stiffer, but only by a matter of degrees because the BRZ was already a hard riding machine, in order to achieve its sporty character.
Nissan: The Zed may have more power and a bigger footprint on the road but it can’t match the BRZ dynamically. Everything feels slower and less responsive than the smaller, more agile Subaru.
On a faster, more open road the 370Z would keep pace with its rival, but once the road gets twistier and more demanding the Nissan feels struggle to keep up.
And the ride is just as stiff and unforgiving as the BRZ, so there’s no advantage to either. When you buy a car like this you have to accept the compromises.
Subaru: The BRZ is covered by a three-year capped price servicing plan. Over that period it will cost you $898 to keep the BRZ maintained, giving it a big ownership advantage of the Nissan.
Nissan: The Zed is also covered by a three-year capped price servicing program. However, it requires maintenance every six months/10,000km so it costs more the double to service - $2134.
Subaru: Less powerful and smaller, the BRZ feels more engaging and responsive to drive. It is the better sports car of the two, and the fact it is $10k cheaper is an added bonus.
Nissan: The price cut make it more competitive against the BRZ but the reality is the 370Z is a generation older. Both have an essence of old-school analogue driving character that makes them admirable and engaging to drive, but the Subaru is a little more practical and easier to live with.
2018 Subaru BRZ tS pricing and specifications
Price: From $39,894 plus on-road costs
Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol
Power: 152kW at 7000rpm
Torque: 212Nm at 6400-6800rpm
Transmission: Six-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Fuel use: 8.6L/100km
2018 Nissan 370Z Coupe price and specifications
Price: From $49,990 plus on-road costs
Engine: 3.7-litre V6 petrol
Power: 245kW at 7000rpm
Torque: 363Nm at 5200rpm
Transmission: Six-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Fuel use: 10.6L/100km
source : drive.com.au