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2024 Subaru BRZ tS and WRX RS Road and Track Test Drive: The Art of Having Fun

2024 Subaru BRZ tS | Photo: D.Rufiange
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Daniel Rufiange
Subaru offers two first-rate sports cars, offering two totally different experiences. We tried them both on road and on track.

•    Auto123 tests out the 2024 Subaru BRZ tS and WRX RS, on the road and on the track.

Shannonville, ON - Since the beginning of the decade, we've seen too many fun-to-drive models leave the industry, one by one. The popularity of SUVs has certainly had something to do with it, but just as responsible is the abundance of technology that turns modern vehicles into robots.

In short, the cars that don’t just move us but move us have become rare, and almost extinct in the more affordable segments.

See also: 2024 Subaru BRZ: Return of the tS Version

See also: Subaru Introduces 2024 WRX RS

Subaru offers not one, but two of those rarities: the BRZ coupe and the WRX sedan. This year, each has an even more refined, cutting-edge variant for purists, for those who love a sporty, spicy ride, or even for those who like to take a little detour now and then to their local track.

Subaru invited us to the Shannonville racetrack in Ontario to discover the BRZ tS and WRX RS and, of course, to test them on the road, but above all on the track. The town’s venerable circuit has been welcoming drivers since 1974.

2024 Subaru WRX RS
2024 Subaru WRX RS | Photo: D.Rufiange

2024 Subaru BRZ tS and WRX RS - What's new?

Subaru has always listened to its customers, and this is the result of that exercise. Basically, enthusiasts wanted variants that were a little sharper in terms of sportiness, not necessarily more powerful. So the changes made are structural, in the form of adjustments to the chassis, brakes and steering, right down to the choice of tires.

Those adjustments are accompanied by aesthetic touches specific to each variant.

The mechanic, their power ratings and transmissions remain unchanged. Both models having been redesigned for 2022, they weren’t quite due for a full overhaul.

2024 Subaru BRZ tS, three-quarters rear
2024 Subaru BRZ tS, three-quarters rear | Photo: D.Rufiange
2024 Subaru WRX RS, three-quarters front
2024 Subaru WRX RS, three-quarters front | Photo: D.Rufiange

Designs of the 2024 Subaru BRZ tS and WRX RS

Only the sharpest of hawkeyes will discern the changes made with these two new propositions.

The BRZ gets tS logos added to the front and rear, with the letter painted red. BRZ badging is clearly visible on the headlights, again in red. The mirrors and shark fin on the roof are black, and the model gets Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires on its 18-inch wheels.

The WRX features 19-inch aluminum wheels with a unique design, on which are fitted high-performance Bridgestone Potenza S007 tires for improved grip.

2024 Subaru BRZ tS, interior
2024 Subaru BRZ tS, interior | Photo: Subaru

While the BRZ gets a signature red exterior, blue accents dominate the interior; the start button and gauges bear the red colour and STI signature.

For the WRX, Recaro seats are in place to provide improved support, which is rather useful when the car is being pushed on the track.  

For the rest, the presentation remains the same. Note that the driver’s seat is power-adjustable in the WRX, but manual in the BRZ. With both, it's easy to find your driving position, which is essential when you want and need to be in full control.

2024 Subaru BRZ tS, data screen
2024 Subaru BRZ tS, data screen | Photo: Subaru

Technology in the 2024 Subaru BRZ tS and WRX RS

These models offer the expected connectivity capabilities, to familiar apps like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, among others.

More noteworthy is Subaru's addition of the EyeSight safety suite to models with a manual transmission – a combination that was previously not possible. The company worked to make it possible, the challenge being that many of the suite's features wouldn’t function with a manual gearbox. This meant making sacrifices, but also ensuring that all other features responded well.

Here are a few examples. Driving aids such as Lane Keeping Assist work in the same way, regardless of the transmission. However, when it comes to low-speed manoeuvres involving the clutch, it's more complex. That's why emergency reverse braking can't be part of the equation.

However, Subaru worked to adjust certain elements so that they work with the manual gearbox. Case in point, the adaptive cruise control, and you can even change gear without disengaging it. On the other hand, the start/stop function is impossible in heavy traffic, as the clutch must be used. So at speeds under 30 km/h, it disengages.

2024 Subaru WRX RS, front
2024 Subaru WRX RS, front | Photo: D.Rufiange

Powertrains of the 2024 Subaru BTZ tS and WRX RS

Nothing changes under the hood of these models, both of which feature a 2.4L 4-cylinder engine. The difference is that the WRX's is turbocharged to 271 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. With the BRZ, the intention was to leave it naturally aspirated, for a performance that's quite decent for this kind of car, at 228 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque.

The two sports models we tested on this day feature a 6-speed manual gearbox, but know that across the range, certain variants offer automatic transmissions (continuously variable for the WRX, six-speed auto for the BRZ).

And note that the WRX gets all-wheel drive while the BRZ, alone in the Subaru lineup, is in rear-wheel drive configuration. Two sports cars, two totally different experiences.

Specifications sheet of the 2024 Subaru BRZ tS

Specifications sheet of the 2024 Subaru WRX RS

The 2024 Subaru BRZ tS, on the track
The 2024 Subaru BRZ tS, on the track | Photo: D.Rufiange

Driving the 2024 Subaru BRZ tS and WRX RS

Here’s one constant, however: the pleasure you feel at the wheel. The sensations are very different, but being at the wheel is fun in both cases. And even more so with these sharper variants.

To the BRZ tS, Subaru added the necessary spices to make the model even sportier, which seemed impossible. Changes include larger brake discs of 32 mm at the front and 26 mm at the rear (totals of 326 mm and 316 mm, respectively). The model will also be easily recognizable with its gold Brembo calipers. Subaru also explains that brake response has more bite initially and is better calibrated throughout the stroke.

The suspension is also improved, getting Hitachi Astemo mechanical shock absorbers, which work at two frequencies to always offer optimal stability on different road surfaces.

2024 Subaru WRX RS, wheel
2024 Subaru WRX RS, wheel | Photo: D.Rufiange

The WRX features red Brembo brake calipers and perforated discs for greater braking power and wear resistance. While four pistons can be found on the front brakes of the BRZ tS, there are six on the WRX RS (two at the rear for each model). The size of the discs has also been revised: plus 24 mm at the front, plus 36 mm at the rear, for total dimensions of 340 mm and 326 mm, in that order.

Subaru also readjusted the parameters of the electrically controlled power steering and the resistance of the shock absorbers to the presence of 19-inch wheels. The result is a sportier, more comfortable car with less body roll.

All this means that you can get behind the wheel of either of these cars and really take on a track. In both cases, the choice of tires is particularly noteworthy, because once they're up to temperature, they stick to the road well enough to give you the confidence you need coming out of corners. Braking is also powerful and impressive. Until now, I'd never had the chance to jump on the brakes of a BRZ going 160-170 km/h, and I've taken a liking to it.

The 2024 Subaru BRZ tS, in profile
The 2024 Subaru BRZ tS, in profile | Photo: D.Rufiange

And despite the fact that the BRZ tS is a rear-wheel drive car, it sticks to the road. And because you're so close to the ground, you feel everything, so when things start to slip at the rear, you adjust accordingly to allow the rear end to catch its breath for the next straight. All this is calculated in milliseconds.

With the WRX, the experience is completely different, but just as enjoyable. Four-wheel traction is available for corner exits, sometimes in the middle of a slide, because it's easy to trust the rubber you've chosen. The additional power is of course intoxicating, but for balance, the BRZ is the benchmark.

Funnily enough, after driving the BRZ, I felt as if I were driving an SUV when I got behind the wheel of the WRX. That's how sporty the BRZ tS is.

2024 Subaru BRZ tS, rear
2024 Subaru BRZ tS, rear | Photo: D.Rufiange

2024 Subaru BRZ and WRX pricing in Canada

In the BRZ range, the tS version is at the top of the hierarchy, after the BRZ trim and the Sport-tech proposition.

In the case of the WRX, the RS variant represents a mid-range option. The base model is the WRX, followed by the Sport version. Previously, the buyer's next option was the Sport-tech model. With the new model, buyers can move up in the family without having to pay more than for the Sport-tech version. In other words, after the Sport version, you have the choice of technology (Sport-tech) or sportiness (RS). The WRX GT brings up the rear.

Here's the price range for the WRX:

- 2024 WRX [man] - $33,695
- 2024 WRX Sport [man] - $38,195
- 2024 WRX Sport [auto] - $40,095
- 2024 WRX RS [man] - $41,895
- 2024 WRX Sport-tech [man] - $41,995
- 2024 WRX GT [auto] - $44,895

And for the BRZ:

- 2024 BRZ [man] - $31,895
- 2024 BRZ Sport-tech [man] - $34,895
- 2024 BRZ tS [man] - $36,295
- 2024 BRZ Sport-tech [auto] - $36,695

2024 Subaru WRX RS, rear
2024 Subaru WRX RS, rear | Photo: D.Rufiange

Frequently asked questions about the Subaru BRZ and WRX

What about a more powerful turbocharged version of the BRZ?
From the outset, the BRZ has been designed for what it is: a pure naturally aspirated sports car. The question was raised with the first generation, when it was suggested that a heavier engine would upset the balance of the model. The same is true of this generation. The BRZ is perfect as it is.

Why no more WRX STI version?
Basically, Subaru is investing in electrification, and even though it remains committed to its sports cars, it must also allocate money to that electric shift. We're talking about business choices here.

The final word
If pure driving appeals to you, you owe it to yourself to test-drive these models, alongside the likes of the Honda Civic Si and Type R, Volkswagen Golf GTI and R, Toyota GR86, Toyota GR Corolla, and so on.

Play the field, in other words, and then be sure to choose the model that best suits your preferences.

In my case, it's clearly a BRZ.

2024 Subaru BRZ tS, badging
2024 Subaru BRZ tS, badging |
2024 Subaru WRX RS, badging
2024 Subaru WRX RS, badging |

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Daniel Rufiange
Daniel Rufiange
Automotive expert
  • Over 17 years' experience as an automotive journalist
  • More than 75 test drives in the past year
  • Participation in over 250 new vehicle launches in the presence of the brand's technical specialists