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Deception! Subaru unveils Japan-only BRZ tS and despite the STI logos, it’s not a real STI

Two weeks ago, Subaru released some teaser photos of a BRZ adorned with STI badges. My eyes widened, my pulse raced, and I thoughtfully and excitedly pondered the future of the breed.

Turns out, though, the teaser photos were a trick. Subaru was tricking us! The photos of the BRZ littered with STI badges isn’t actually an STI at all but something aptly named the ‘BRZ tS’ – and “tough shit” is about right.

Essentially, the tS is the BRZ STI that we so desperately want but without a turbo. It has all the other STI bits that we want including Brembo brakes, STI tuned suspension, specially tuned Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC), an STI designed front spoiler, and 18-inch wheels – but no turbo. Despite its normally aspirated engine, each of these special performance bits – along with virtually every other exterior surface – has been adorned with STI logos. 

On the interior, the tS has been transformed into veritable sea of gray Alcantara and STI logos. Virtually no surface has been spared the sporting makeover, including the seats, steering wheel, leather shift knob, speedo, the little push-button ignition switch and aluminum kick panels.

For some extra money, buyers can even specify the GT Package on their BRZ tS, which includes black aluminum wheels, a dry carbon rear spoiler, a Recaro-designed front bucket seat, and even more STI logos.

The result is a pretty smart-looking BRZ, if you ask me. The real kicker, though, is that the tS is only available in Japan. Why? Who knows. Why no turbo? Could be part of the deal with Toyota. I’ve not the foggiest. We’re working to get more information.

This car ticks me off for several reasons. 1: It’s Japan only. 2: It’s covered in STI logos but is not an STI. 3: Subaru lead us to believe it was a true STI offering. 4: It’s harming the good name of STI.

It’s all show and no go.

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