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Subaru Told Us Why The Turbo BRZ Won't Happen

We spoke to Subaru's US planning manager because we were tired of the rumors.

Since it debuted for the 2013 model year, we figured it’d be only a matter of time until Subaru launched a turbocharged version of the BRZ. Thing was, that so-called BRZ STI never happened and, according to a recent discussion we had with Subaru’s Car Line Planning Manager of America, Todd Hill, it never will. That is, it’ll never come from Subaru itself. Aftermarket tuners are a different story. During that talk, we asked Mr. Hill outright about that long awaited turbo BRZ.

While he didn’t give us a definitive "no," his overall responses made it crystal clear an OEM turbo kit will never happen. How come? A few reasons, mainly that a turbo BRZ will “become a different car” altogether. Adding a turbo, according to Hill, "will add weight and price… (and that) it was never intended to be a straight-line car," like the Mustang and Camaro. Hill added that we need to think of the BRZ from a practical standpoint regarding its "Boxer" four engine. A turbo, at least the way Subaru would do it, simply "doesn’t fit and packaging it in there would be a pretty big undertaking. I’m always in favor of more power but it [a turbo] would simply change the car so much," Hill explained.

He also reminded us that Subaru has explored how far it can take the BRZ’s engine in a variety ways. What about an AWD BRZ? "No way can you make that AWD. Right now it has almost supercar center of gravity height" and an AWD system would ruin that. So Subaru’s bottom line thinking about the current BRZ is pretty much this: "We’re happy with it." For performance enthusiasts there’s the new for 2017 Performance Pack for Limited models, which adds goodies like Brembo brakes, suspension tweaks, and different wheels that are 0.5-inch wider in order to clear the brakes. The stability control system has also been reprogrammed.

None of the Performance Pack’s features are offered on the Toyota 86, for the record. The other good news is the pack’s price tag, which adds $1,195 to the price. "We wanted to keep it affordable. It’s priced for enthusiasts." When asked about a second generation BRZ, Hill politely refused to comment. But for those who are aching to have a turbo boxer four engine in their sports coupe and aren’t interested in the aftermarket, there is another option: the Porsche 718 Cayman. That’ll only cost you nearly twice as much as the 2017 BRZ, Performance Pack included.

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