2017 Subaru BRZ Series.Yellow new car reviews

As far as the Subaru BRZ goes, the Series.Yellow is about as kitted out as you can get one from the factory. Only 500 were built. They come with all the extras found in the Performance Package like upgraded Brembo brakes and Sachs performance shocks. However the Series.Yellow package also adds unique interior trim, 17x7.5-inch black aluminum wheels and, of course, that bright yellow paint.

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Joe Gearin Joe Gearin
Associate Publisher

The BRZ receives a lot of flack on the interwebs because it isn’t all things to all people. What internet trolls fail to understand is that it wasn’t made for them. This is not a car for the person that craves 400hp. This is not a car for those that are addicted to creature comforts. This is not a car for those who value numbers on paper, instead of visceral communication. The BRZ was intended to be a sharply focused enthusiast’s car. This screaming yellow version that recently graced our office was a good example of this.

With the “Series.Yellow” package, Subaru sharpened the BRZ scalpel a bit. The suspension is stiffer, the brakes larger, and the car feels more on edge than the standard car. This is good and bad. Sharpened reflexes are a good thing, while the stiffer ride, and more nervous behavior make the car slightly less livable in the day-to-day slog. This suspension package wasn’t punishing, but honestly, I’d rather start with a standard car and build the suspension to my tastes.

This “Series.Yellow” version was a pleasure to spend time with, like all BRZs and FRSs I’ve driven. It’s true, the engine is not stellar, and the power delivery isn’t linear, with a strange flat spot occurring around 3000 rpm. This car takes a bit of getting used to, but once acclimated to the engine’s quirks, it’s a blast to zip around in.

Internet trolls notwithstanding, the BRZ stands atop the lightweight sporty coupe market. The driving enjoyment it doles out is only rivaled by the ND-chassis Mazda MX-5, but the BRZ offers much more usable space and a mini back seat. There are other (much larger and more powerful) options on the market, but if you are looking to carve canyons, dodge cones, or hit the track on a limited budget, the BRZ is hard to beat.

I would forgo this special edition and stick with the standard car though. The added frosting our test car came with isn’t worth the added cost in my opinion.

David S. Wallens David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

I actually got to experience this special edition BRZ months ago when they launched it. You can find my full review right here.

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Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
11/15/17 3:56 p.m.

As I usually say, how long until someone complains about power?

 

The0retical
The0retical SuperDork
11/15/17 4:10 p.m.
Appleseed said:

As I usually say, how long until someone complains about power?

 

I was going to make a joke about the Brembo's purpose beyond the epeen and bragging rights but I'm starting to feel like the power debate is played out.

Looks good in yellow and the boy racer in me digs the interior. I think Joe is right that considering the aftermarket support for the platform, why not just build a suspension to suit?

dean1484
dean1484 MegaDork
11/15/17 4:11 p.m.

I saw one a while back. I liked it.

why
why New Reader
11/16/17 6:28 a.m.

In reply to The0retical :

not everyone wants to deal with the headaches of modifying a car. These special editions are for people that will keep it stock, and there are tons of them out there. For an enthusiast buying a used 13 or 14 and modding the heck out of it is the way to go.

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
11/16/17 8:22 a.m.

Bluetooth, Nav, heated seats and Alcantara..........other than a crummy stock stereo I feel like the BRZ Limited I own has plenty of creature comforts.

 

Oh and it doesn't make enough power.

759NRNG
759NRNG Dork
11/16/17 8:29 a.m.

Educemate me why the WRXSTi 305hp bullet is not in the nose of this .......oh and the front drive axle too????

mtn
mtn MegaDork
11/16/17 8:53 a.m.

 Still doesn't have enough power for me. 

Appleseed said:

As I usually say, how long until someone complains about power?

 

Looks like about 17 hours. But I still contend that it isn't the amount of power, but rather the power-band. It is faster than my Miata, but it just doesn't feel like it is TO ME. 

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
11/16/17 9:17 a.m.
759NRNG said:

Educemate me why the WRXSTi 305hp bullet is not in the nose of this .......oh and the front drive axle too????

Packaging. There isn't room. 

NickD
NickD UltraDork
11/16/17 9:40 a.m.
Appleseed said:

As I usually say, how long until someone complains about power?

 

I got laughed at recently after I co-drove a D/Street BRZ at an autocross when my 1.6L Miata broke and I was raving about how much power the BRZ had. It would break the tires loose at will (On RE71Rs) and wouldn't bog coming out of corners or if I launched at less than 5000rpm. All a matter of perspective, I suppose.

Fitzauto
Fitzauto Dork
11/16/17 9:42 a.m.

That color makes me happy. 

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
11/16/17 11:45 a.m.
759NRNG said:

Educemate me why the WRXSTi 305hp bullet is not in the nose of this .......oh and the front drive axle too????

Because the EJ motor is like 15 years old?

The FA20DIT in the WRX, would put the turbo below the subframe in a BRZ. 

NickD
NickD UltraDork
11/16/17 11:51 a.m.
759NRNG said:

Educemate me why the WRXSTi 305hp bullet is not in the nose of this

Because then to make it OEM levels of durable/reliable, they would have to beef up the transmission and differential and axles. And you would have to factor in proper cooling. And then the extra power and weight would require bigger brakes and wider wheels and tires. And then before you are done it weighs a bunch more and is priced out of the market. Same reason that Mazda gave for the Miata only having 155hp and won't have a Mazdaspeed variant.

buzzboy
buzzboy Reader
11/16/17 12:06 p.m.

In reply to NickD :

And I'm the one over here thinking, "I hope to get my race car up to 1.6 Miata levels of straight line speed one day."

NickD
NickD UltraDork
11/16/17 12:14 p.m.

In reply to buzzboy :

Good lord, what are you driving? A Subaru Justy? An air-cooled Beetle? A Trabant?

Toebra
Toebra HalfDork
11/16/17 12:24 p.m.

1.7 914 maybe

 

I like it, and everyone knows, yellow is faster.

dculberson
dculberson PowerDork
11/16/17 12:30 p.m.

In reply to NickD :

He has a Diesel Mercedes, God's own Lemons chariot.

NickD
NickD UltraDork
11/16/17 12:37 p.m.
dculberson said:

In reply to NickD :

He has a Diesel Mercedes, God's own Lemons chariot.

Ooooooh, then go full Black Smoke Racing and throw a junkyard Eaton and turbocharger and go to town.

aircooled
aircooled MegaDork
11/16/17 12:40 p.m.

A neighbor might have one of these.   It's REALLY yellow!  I will check for the black rims the next time I see it.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
11/16/17 12:49 p.m.

This really is a Miata coupe - they've learned from Mazda that a special edition consisting of nothing but a custom color is newsworthy wink

NickD
NickD UltraDork
11/16/17 1:28 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

This really is a Miata coupe - they've learned from Mazda that a special edition consisting of nothing but a custom color is newsworthy wink

Not enough Nardi bits though

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
11/29/17 3:37 p.m.
NickD said:
759NRNG said:

Educemate me why the WRXSTi 305hp bullet is not in the nose of this

Because then to make it OEM levels of durable/reliable, they would have to beef up the transmission and differential and axles. And you would have to factor in proper cooling. And then the extra power and weight would require bigger brakes and wider wheels and tires. And then before you are done it weighs a bunch more and is priced out of the market. Same reason that Mazda gave for the Miata only having 155hp and won't have a Mazdaspeed variant.

Yup, pretty much. More power would mean more weight, more complexity and more money. But at least we'd have more to complain about, right? :)

pinchvalve
pinchvalve MegaDork
11/29/17 4:09 p.m.

The problem with the "it doesn't need more power" argument is that no one is buying it.  I mean that literally, the BRZ is falling way below sales expectations.  And everyone who drives one says that the excellent chassis can handle more power.  

It doesn't need 300hp, I think taking that to 220hp and 200 ft/lb or torque would be plenty to silence the critics.

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
11/30/17 7:04 a.m.

"I don't own one, but everyone who owns one is wrong about what it needs."

 

250hp and 200-210ft-lb minus the gaping tq dip at 4-4500k would be amazing. A header and E85 gets you close. But I'm not dumping anymore money into this thing.

Next year it's back to owning a V8. Mustang GT PP2 here I come!

dean1484
dean1484 MegaDork
11/30/17 7:14 a.m.

I must be getting old. People are actually complaining that a car is RWD. LOL. 

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth MegaDork
11/30/17 7:20 a.m.

It's not that the car needs more power, it's that the line needs more breadth. If Ford only made one Mustang, one engine option, and said "this way we don't have to re-engineer for different power plants" then people would complain in the same way. 

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
11/30/17 8:42 a.m.

In reply to pinchvalve :

Um...yes we are. And I did in 2015. I've never once thought it must have more power. Maybe I'm just easy to please.

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
11/30/17 9:00 a.m.
Appleseed said:

In reply to pinchvalve :

Um...yes we are. And I did in 2015. I've never once thought it must have more power. Maybe I'm just easy to please.

Fanboism!

I bought mine in 2014.

If you look at the sales numbers, they have been on a very steady decline since they were released.

http://carsalesbase.com/us-car-sales-data/scion/scion-fr-s/

http://carsalesbase.com/us-car-sales-data/subaru/subaru-brz/

 

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
11/30/17 9:01 a.m.
mazdeuce - Seth said:

It's not that the car needs more power, it's that the line needs more breadth. If Ford only made one Mustang, one engine option, and said "this way we don't have to re-engineer for different power plants" then people would complain in the same way. 

No, the car needs more power. Or at the very least, fix the massive tq dip. 

jstein77
jstein77 UltraDork
11/30/17 10:02 a.m.
mazdeuce - Seth said:

It's not that the car needs more power, it's that the line needs more breadth. If Ford only made one Mustang, one engine option, and said "this way we don't have to re-engineer for different power plants" then people would complain in the same way. 

I agree completely.  I can't think of any reason they couldn't offer an STI version.

NickD
NickD UltraDork
11/30/17 10:15 a.m.
z31maniac said:
Appleseed said:

In reply to pinchvalve :

Um...yes we are. And I did in 2015. I've never once thought it must have more power. Maybe I'm just easy to please.

Fanboism!

I bought mine in 2014.

If you look at the sales numbers, they have been on a very steady decline since they were released.

http://carsalesbase.com/us-car-sales-data/scion/scion-fr-s/

http://carsalesbase.com/us-car-sales-data/subaru/subaru-brz/

 

I would honestly say that's to be expected with this car. It appeals to a niche market and the people who wanted one ran out and bought one and saturated the market. And it's not the kind of car that that you trade in every 3 years for a new one, a lot of the owners are car enthusiasts and hold onto them and modify them.

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
11/30/17 10:48 a.m.
jstein77 said:
mazdeuce - Seth said:

It's not that the car needs more power, it's that the line needs more breadth. If Ford only made one Mustang, one engine option, and said "this way we don't have to re-engineer for different power plants" then people would complain in the same way. 

I agree completely.  I can't think of any reason they couldn't offer an STI version.

Would need stronger rods, bigger injectors, lots of added weight, stronger trans and halfshafts (diff doesn't seem to be an issue until ludicrous power). And bam, now you're at the price of the WRX STi.

The0retical
The0retical SuperDork
11/30/17 11:15 a.m.
z31maniac said:
jstein77 said:
mazdeuce - Seth said:

It's not that the car needs more power, it's that the line needs more breadth. If Ford only made one Mustang, one engine option, and said "this way we don't have to re-engineer for different power plants" then people would complain in the same way. 

I agree completely.  I can't think of any reason they couldn't offer an STI version.

Would need stronger rods, bigger injectors, lots of added weight, stronger trans and halfshafts (diff doesn't seem to be an issue until ludicrous power). And bam, now you're at the price of the WRX STi.

I'm going to approach this carefully since I know the BRZ is a touchy subject and I don't own one.

  • Would that price be such a bad thing though if there were two variants of the car?
  • Is the WRX STi really so much more capable and delivers so much of a better experience that having two "halo-ish" cars would result in everyone just choosing the WRX?
  • Would the buyers be from the same pool anyway so it would just result in cannibalization of each other sales?

I bet #3 is the hang-up. The STi and the BRZ don't really occupy the same space in the market as I see it. The problem here is that Subaru, despite having twice the market share of Mazda, is still a niche player at 3.5% of the US market. If a buyer is going to shop for a new car and even remembers Subaru exists, it’s pretty likely it’ll cannibalize the sales as much as enthusiast’s squawk that it won’t.

I started out with the opposite opinion and convinced myself it was a bad idea as I wrote this...

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth MegaDork
11/30/17 11:17 a.m.

The Camaro ranges in price from $24K to somewhere north of $75k for a ZL1 1LE with boxes ticked. Why does the BRZ have to live in a single price range? 

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
11/30/17 12:01 p.m.
mazdeuce - Seth said:

The Camaro ranges in price from $24K to somewhere north of $75k for a ZL1 1LE with boxes ticked. Why does the BRZ have to live in a single price range? 

Don't ask me, I don't make decisions for Subaru. They apparently thought it would be a bad idea. 

onemanarmy
onemanarmy New Reader
11/30/17 12:21 p.m.

more power doesn't mean more weight.

slightly larger bore/stroke, redesigned head, different tune/intake/exhaust adds no weight.

to add an STI variant.....slap on a turbo/intercooler, and reduce weight somewhere else.  Less padding, more AL/carbon, lighter wheels, etc

People buy the WRX/STI for the AWD and/or 4 doors.  The BRZ is a completely different vehicle.  No cannibalizing of sales.

onemanarmy
onemanarmy New Reader
11/30/17 12:22 p.m.
dean1484 said:

I must be getting old. People are actually complaining that a car is RWD. LOL. 

no one in their right mind is doing that.  The RWD is its main redeeming factor.

 

 

The0retical
The0retical SuperDork
11/30/17 1:28 p.m.

In reply to onemanarmy :

I disagree. I started out with that opinion but the more I think about it the more I think it would cannibalize sales. Enthusiasts buy the WRX STi because it's a bonkers car which has enough aftermarket support to dial things up to 11. This is the same niche that the BRZ occupies or would occupy as an STi variant. We can argue about this but 2 doors vs 4 doors matters a lot less to these buyers in general than the performance envelope does.

Your average buyer doesn't go looking for an STi when a Limited or Base will do the same thing (AWD! Safety! Carry Dogs! Outdoorsy hipster E36 M3!) for a fair bit less, again if they remember Subaru exists. Looking at the sales data from last year the BRZ only sold a bit over 4600 units. Subaru would likely be looking at doing a ton of engineering work and parts sourcing for maybe 500 units(?) since they'd be expected to offer a warranty. I'd be willing to bet it would add a $10k to $15k  premium to the car targeted at a group of people whose rallying cry is "I'll just get one when they're used and cheap."

NickD
NickD UltraDork
11/30/17 1:52 p.m.
onemanarmy said:

more power doesn't mean more weight.

slightly larger bore/stroke, redesigned head, different tune/intake/exhaust adds no weight.

 

Read my earlier post, yes, more power does require more weight (Or more expense, because of the use of extensive exotic materials). You and I can build souped-up versions that run ragged-edge tunes or that we know we have to baby the differential or clutch or axles, but OEM warrantied reliability is a whole 'nother level. They have to be able to survive the full bellcurve of owners (from people who religiously maintain and baby it, to people who only know enough to put gas in and turn the key, to people who flog them on racetracks) and operating conditions (suboptimal fuel, high and low temperature extremes, extended idling, etc). So with more power, you have to have bigger and beefier clutches, transmissions and axles, and bigger brakes to rein in the added power speed, and bigger wheels and tires to put it to the ground.

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
11/30/17 3:00 p.m.

^SHhhhhhh, this is the internet. We don't like facts. 

Hyperbole and conjecture rule the day!

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth MegaDork
11/30/17 3:12 p.m.

Ford, Chevy, Dodge, BMW, Mercedes, and Porsche all make coupes with a 2x-3x power spread within individual models. Subaru does it themselves in other models. This isn't a "can't" thing unless is was exceptionally poor planning. Mazda is guilty of this too. 

oldrotarydriver
oldrotarydriver New Reader
11/30/17 5:51 p.m.

Most of you are missing a major point of this vehicle; the "joint venture" aspect with Toyota / Scion.  You can Subaru it all you want, but the 800-lb gorilla in the corner could shake its head and make it go away.  Think about the Ford / Mazda joint ventures, and how that went with sales.

 

Furious_E
Furious_E SuperDork
11/30/17 6:45 p.m.

I really think the STI would be a slightly different market. Has the regular BRZ canabalized WRX sales? They're right around the same price point, seems like the perfect analogy to me...

I haven't driven one yet, although I intend to soon as I'm starting to get serious about shopping a new dd (probably starting a thread soon.) The power isn't a turnoff for me. I think 200hp can be plenty for what the car is trying to be, which I dig, but also understand not everyone else will. A more powerful variant vastly broadens that appeal, I think, even if it has to come at the expense of a little more weight. I really think there are other concerns at play aside from the marketability or technical feasibility keeping the STI from us.

stuart in mn
stuart in mn UltimaDork
11/30/17 7:00 p.m.

Interestingly, I just saw one of those Yellow cars driving down the road today.  It looked pretty nice.

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
12/1/17 7:09 a.m.
mazdeuce - Seth said:

Ford, Chevy, Dodge, BMW, Mercedes, and Porsche all make coupes with a 2x-3x power spread within individual models. Subaru does it themselves in other models. This isn't a "can't" thing unless is was exceptionally poor planning. Mazda is guilty of this too. 

It's been mentioned multiple times just on this page. 

More power = more weight = more cost. What it would take to build a proper turbo BRZ is going to put it up in the Mustang GT with the Performance Pack price range. I suspect you'd likely add ~150lbs to the BRZ once you add the cast manifold, all the plumbing, stronger components, etc. 

A new BRZ Limited with the Brembo's MSRP is just a tick under $30k.....literally a few hundred dollars. A properly designed and warrantied turbo (and all the associated hardware like halfshafts, transmission, etc).......I'd bet a new BRZ turbo would be in the $35-37k range. 

When most of the buyers are young men in the 21-29 range.........that's going to be a hard sell for a few hundred units per year. 

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth MegaDork
12/1/17 7:24 a.m.

In reply to z31maniac :

No, I understand that. It's pretty clear from all of the other cars that are designed to have multiple levels of power that the lower power models are over-engineered and the upper power levels are stressing the chassis. I think we all understand that. The problem is Subaru/Toyota saying that different power levels in one chassis never crossed their minds. I guess that could be the case, it does seem like Mazda does that with the Miata, but if you build a car with only one option, don't be surprised when you're drawing from a relatively small pool of people. And again, maybe that was the point, only sell the cars in small numbers, but that still seems like a weird way to go about it for a pair of manufacturers. But then I come back to Mazda who has done it for 30 years and it's hard to say that the Miata is anything but successful. In the end, the 86/BRZ is what it is and isn't going to be anything else. That's cool, it's a great car, I'd love to have one. 

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
12/1/17 8:04 a.m.

Yeah, and the NDs are breaking the gearbox at stock power levels.

I'm just holding out for the Mustang GT PP2.

yupididit
yupididit SuperDork
12/1/17 8:26 a.m.

They are joint with Toyota. Toyota doesn't like fast cars unless it has a Lexus badge.

But, if they could the brz/frs  to over 300 horsepower with only adding 150lbs then that isn't bad! It be the same as adding a passenger for the ride (i bet most americans are over 150lbs cheeky).

A 300hp+ BRZ with an extra 100-150lbs would be Cayman S like. And if $35-38k would be the price point, well sign me up! That isn't a whole lot of money for what you get. 

But, you know enthusiast, want all the perks and not pay for it. For their price point, this is what you'll get. If you want more oomph buy up or mod what you have. 

Joe Gearin
Joe Gearin Associate Publisher
12/1/17 9:57 a.m.

Honestly I have no interest in a turbo BRZ.  I'd rather see a more eager N/A powerplant in the existing car----- say something like the MX-5 has in it now.  Sadly, the car was built around the flat-four, and that engine to me is.......uninspiring.   It's not bad, but it doesn't celebrate the rush to redline, it doesn't goad you on.  It's just kind of there.   

With a zingy power plant, this car could be a world beater----even  with 220-240hp.   For me, it isn't so much the lack of power, but the nature in which that power is delivered.

 

Please don't get me wrong, the BRZ is a great car.  It was aimed at us, and really hit the bulls-eye.  The steering, shifter, brakes, ergonomics and chassis of the BRZ are wonderful.  The car is so darn close to perfect, but sadly, I don't think we'll ever see the "ideal" BRZ......... not without an engine swap.  For me, boost or power isn't the cure......it's the content of the engine's character.    

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
12/1/17 10:16 a.m.
Joe Gearin said:

Honestly I have no interest in a turbo BRZ.  I'd rather see a more eager N/A powerplant in the existing car----- say something like the MX-5 has in it now.  Sadly, the car was built around the flat-four, and that engine to me is.......uninspiring.   It's not bad, but it doesn't celebrate the rush to redline, it doesn't goad you on.  It's just kind of there.   

With a zingy power plant, this car could be a world beater----even  with 220-240hp.   For me, it isn't so much the lack of power, but the nature in which that power is delivered.

 

Please don't get me wrong, the BRZ is a great car.  It was aimed at us, and really hit the bulls-eye.  The steering, shifter, brakes, ergonomics and chassis of the BRZ are wonderful.  The car is so darn close to perfect, but sadly, I don't think we'll ever see the "ideal" BRZ......... not without an engine swap.  For me, boost or power isn't the cure......it's the content of the engine's character.    

Yep. If they could build a 2.5 liter with the extra tq and 230-250 hp that still wanted to rev..........I think it would be about perfect. 

Furious_E
Furious_E SuperDork
12/1/17 10:22 a.m.

In reply to Joe Gearin :

Sounds a lot like a fastback S2k...which would indeed be just about perfect.

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth MegaDork
12/1/17 10:43 a.m.

I think the chassis had room for variants in the 160, 220, and 300 hp levels. A low strung 150-160hp with tupperwear levels of cheap interior and cheeeeeeeeap pricing would be fantastic. Yes it would be underpowered, but with other options it would be fine. 

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