Friday, May 24, 2024
Reviews2024 Subaru WRX RS and BRZ tS Quick Drive: Subaru Makes Our...

2024 Subaru WRX RS and BRZ tS Quick Drive: Subaru Makes Our Sports Cars

We owe more to Subaru than we think – they’re keeping the sports car dream alive


I’ve been doing this job for a very long time, and I’m far from being bored. Though opportunities like these are fading fast, the sheer joy of engaging with cars like the Subaru WRX RS and BRZ tS is a privilege that always reignite my passion for driving.

2024 Subaru WRX RS and BRZ tS | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

Sporty and sport compact cars are my bag, as Mr. Powers would say. No other segment in the car business generates more enthusiasm via driving pleasure per pound. There was a time when this much driving fun was actually affordable but, unfortunately, for the most part, those days are behind us.

Yes, the past was glorious and the more we move forward in time, the glorious-er it becomes. However, before actual visceral fun is to be lost, Subaru has our backs. In short, the Japanese automaker is on a mission to keep the manual-transmission dream alive. And it’s working.

2024 Subaru BRZ tS | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

Roughly 80% of all Subaru BRZ and WRX models sold in Canada sport three pedals highlighting the fact that, if they build it, they will come – I wish Volkswagen had read the memo…

Now is not, well not yet, the time to cry over spilt milk. Subaru Canada invited us to Shannonville Motorsport Park to sample two of their latest driving-focused toys, the 2024 WRX RS and BRZ tS. In short, the former is a magnificent high-precision apex-clipper while the latter is an all-surface all-condition high-powered family mover.

The WRX RS

2024 Subaru WRX RS | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

It’s clear why the WRX continues to be a beacon for performance seekers. For a starting price of just shy of $34,000, the Rex is all-conquering, and I’ll tell you know, the base is still the best one. That said, for $41,895, the WRX RS brings a fair amount of meat to the BBQ in the form of 19-inch wheels and sticky tires, previous-gen STI Brembo brakes, Recaro seats—one of my personal highlights— and no sunroof.

The heart of the WRX RS is still the 271-horsepower 2.4L turbocharged four-cylinder engine, mated solely to a six-speed manual transmission. Despite some omissions like the adjustable suspension available in the pricier GT model, the RS’ chassis, both dampers and steering, are revised to co-exist with the Bridgestone Potenza S007 tires. The result is more linear responses to steering inputs for one, and for the other, a considerably harsher ride on typical road surfaces. On track, the RS’ suspension is happy working against extreme pitch and roll, but if you’ve no plans to track your WRX regularly, save $8k and get 95% of the thrills.

The BRZ tS

2024 Subaru BRZ tS | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

Chills cover me at the very thought of this car. Though pricing starts at $31,895 for the BRZ, the $ 36,295 “tuned by STI” tS is worth the jump. In short, this car sharpens the focus from brute force to balletic agility. The BRZ has always been about the purity of driving, and the tS model pushes the car’s already considerable abilities a few notches higher.

It retains the beloved high-revving naturally aspirated 2.4L engine, which, devoid of turbo lag, offers an immediacy of response that feels and sounds right. Important upgrades include Brembo brakes and a specially tuned chassis with front Hitachi Astemo mechanical dampers. These units provide variable damping that make the BRZ tS a track-ready tool that’s equally at home on a spirited Sunday drive.

Track

2024 Subaru BRZ tS | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

Driving these cars back-to-back, particularly on the technical turns of Shannonville Motorsport Park—a track I haven’t visited in over 15 years—was revelatory. The WRX RS, with its stiffer setup and potent brakes, commands respect if mostly for the speed at which speed piles on and the amount of weight going into corners. However, as soon as the steering wheel unwinds, the hammer can go down, feeding all four wheels, and away it goes.

In contrast, the BRZ tS, with its lighter touch and razor-sharp reflexes, dances through apexes with a precision that feels almost telepathic. On a dryer surface, the tS’ ideal balance, delicate figure, and I were in complete harmony. So much faith had I in the BRZ’s ability to translate my every input into forward momentum that I pressed on harder, enabling me to gap the WRX by five seconds over a lap. What’s more, the tS’ shifter is tighter with shorter throws and brake pedal response is more immediate, yet not shapr, compared to the Rex.

Because #savethemanuals

2024 Subaru WRX RS | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

Commendably, while Subaru positions these models as enthusiasts’ choices, they’re also among the last semi-affordable bastions for manual transmission lovers. With the industry’s gradual pivoting away from stick shifts, Subaru’s dedication to this dying art deserves praise. As you and I know, the visceral connection one feels rowing through the gears, executing a perfect heel-toe downshift, is unmatched.

Amidst these technical accolades, it’s essential to note the emotional resonance these cars evoke. Each time I climb behind the wheel, there’s a palpable sense of excitement—a blend of anticipation and nostalgia for the raw, unfiltered interactions that modern vehicles often filter out. Whether it’s the assertive thrust of the WRX RS or the nimble ballet of the BRZ tS, both cars offer a return to a more engaged driving style that modern cars often eschew for technology-laden experiences.

Whether it’s the charged atmosphere of a track day or the simple joy of a country road, cars like the WRX RS and BRZ tS prove that Subaru understands and caters to the driving enthusiast. Thanks guys.

2024 Subaru BRZ tS | Photo: Matt St-Pierre
2024 Subaru WRX RS | Photo: Matt St-Pierre
2024 Subaru BRZ tS | Photo: Matt St-Pierre
2024 Subaru WRX RS | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

Advertisement

Trending Now

Matt St-Pierre
Matt St-Pierre
Trained as an Automotive Technician, Matt has two decades of automotive journalism under his belt. He’s done TV, radio, print and this thing called the internet. He’s an avid collector of many 4-wheeled things, all of them under 1,500 kg, holds a recently expired racing license and is a father of two. Life is beautiful. Send Matt an emai

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.