Subaru BRZ Modification Guide

When it comes to great modern-day sports cars, few cars can hold the flame to the Subaru BRZ.

Designed as a driver-focused coupe, the Subaru BRZ is all about making your trip from point A to point B as fun as possible.

Sure the BRZ doesn’t have the most power from the factory but Subaru and Toyota have made a clear effort to design a car that is purely focused on driving dynamics and that goes hand in hand with something that’s easy for anyone to drive.

Now if you’re reading this modification guide you probably already know about some of the shortcomings of the Subaru and want to correct them.

Whether it be adding more power or making it handle even better, this BRZ mod guide will show you some of the most popular upgrades on the market today for your BRZ.

Let's get started, shall we?

Tightening It Up - Subaru BRZ Suspension Modifications 

"Shawn's BRZ 10" by Anthony dela Merced is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

As previously mentioned, the Subaru BRZ is a superb driver's car off of the showroom floor, albeit a bit underwhelming in terms of power.

But where the BRZ shines is in its low center of gravity and thoughtfully designed suspension, allowing even inexperienced drivers to have a lot of fun behind the wheel of this Subaru.

Because of this advantage from the factory, the Subaru is a great base for anyone looking to build a fun street or track car. With a little bit of upgrading, you’ll see a big difference in performance and will love driving your BRZ even more!

Tightening It Up - Subaru BRZ Lowering Springs

Whiteline Performance Lowering Springs

When it comes to lowering your BRZ, you’ve probably read about how many owners prefer coilovers instead of a set of lowering springs.

While coilovers are generally a better choice for most enthusiasts, a set of lowering springs is perfect for your BRZ if you don’t need to slam it and or are looking at budget-friendly suspension options.

In fact, its been proven on multiple sportscars that a set of quality lowering springs and performance struts can often outperform a set of low-quality coilovers and will ultimately serve you better in terms of performance!

So if your looking for a set of quality lowering springs for your Subaru, be sure to also include a set of struts to get the most performance out of your new suspension components.

Here is our list of recommended Lowering Springs for the Subaru BRZ

Tightening It Up - Subaru BRZ Coilovers

BC Racing BR Type Coilovers

As we mentioned in the previous section, most Subaru enthusiasts opt for a set of coilovers when choosing mods to improve their car’s handling prowess.

Coilovers are a great plug-and-play option for anyone that’s handy with a wrench, allowing for an almost infinite level of adjustment when dialing in your ride height and damper stiffness.

Our one word of caution when considering a set of coilovers is to do your research and save for a bit longer to get a set of quality coilovers. While some of the cheaper budget brands may get your car looking how you want it to, they lack the R&D of more expensive coils and will decrease performance as well as comfort as they degrade over time.

Here is our list of recommended Coilovers for the Subaru BRZ

Tightening It Up - Subaru BRZ Air Suspension

D2 Racing Air Struts w/ VERA AccuAir e+ Connect Pressure

If you're looking to turn your Subaru into a showstopper then we highly recommend taking a look at the latest air suspension setups that are available.

Air suspension is by far the most expensive way to lower your BRZ but the benefits that it offers to are hard to beat if you're looking to roll around slammed and park even lower.

The biggest benefit of air suspension is the ability for the user to easily raise and lower their BRZ with the push of a button. This comes in handy for speed bumps, less-than-ideal roads, and freeways and makes it easier to maintain bodywork that would otherwise be scraped during your daily drive.

Here is our list of recommended Air Suspension Kits for the Subaru BRZ


Tightening It Up - Subaru BRZ Sway Bars

Pedders Front and Rear Sway Bar Kit

After you’ve addressed the biggest suspension upgrade for your BRZ by installing lowering springs, coilovers, or air suspension, it's worth considering an upgrade to your stock sway bars as well.

Adding a stiffer sway bar set of your BRZ will help it stay more planted through corners and helps to reduce body roll. This means faster times at the track or more refined driving manners on your favorite twisty road. 

Here is our list of recommended Air Suspension Kits for the Subaru BRZ

Tightening It Up - Subaru BRZ Strut Bars

Cusco Type OS Front Strut Tower Bar

When it comes to the performance benefits of adding an aftermarket strut bar to your BRZ, they are few and far between. 

Your Subaru already has a stock strut bar from the factory and thus adding an aftermarket bar will only really be noticeable if you autocross or road race your car.

As with most modern cars, adding a different strut bar is mostly for looks and goes a long way if you're wanting to dress up your engine bay a bit.

Here is our list of recommended Strut Bars for the Subaru BRZ

Tightening It Up - Subaru BRZ Suspension Arms

SPL Suspension Arms

When it comes to necessary upgrades to your Subaru, replacing some of your stock suspension arms with adjustable aftermarket pieces can have a significant effect on how your car handles and reacts to the road.

If your BRZ is lowered significantly, we definitely recommend either aftermarket rear lower control arms to help correct natural camber because of the lack of adjustment that a stock arm offers.

Toe can also be an issue for some BRZs that are excessively lowered or need more or less toe than stock arms can offer for road racing setups.

For most BRZ owners, the addition of extra adjustment is crucial to help your tires last for as long as possible on the street. Toe and camber will wear your tires down faster than you realize so we always recommend taking your BRZ in for an alignment after any type of suspension work has been done!

Here is our list of recommended Adjustable Suspension Arms for the Subaru BRZ

Tightening It Up - Subaru BRZ Limited Slip Differentials

Kaaz Standard 1.5 Way Limited Slip Differential 

As you may know, all Subaru BRZs sold in America come with a Torsen limited-slip differential from the factory.

The stock LSD is a great unit for those that are daily driving their car or attending track days every once in a while.

For those that are looking to turn their BRZs into dedicated track cars and want to extract the most amount of performance that they can out of their setup, we recommend researching if a limited-slip differential will benefit your driving style.

For drifting, upgrading from a Torsen differential to a clutch-type 2-way differential will allow you to drift your BRZ more easily because it will lock both rear wheels more easily and ensure smooth drifts all day long!

Here is our list of recommended Limited Slip Differentials for the Subaru BRZ

Looking Good - BRZ Wheel Fitment

"Fiona Mountains" by Anthony dela Merced is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

When it comes to making your car look dramatically different from the thousands of other BRZs in your area, one of the easiest ways to do so is by fitting a new set of lightweight wheels to your car.

Upgrading from the stock wheels will not only completely change the look of your BRZ, it will also have a positive effect on performance too!

A set of quality wheels offer you the chance to run wider tires for more grip and can also reduce overall rotation mass when compared to a set of stock wheels from the factory.

When it comes time to choose a set of wheels, we recommend choosing something you’ll love looking at every time you walk toward your BRZ. Whether it's a set of eye-wateringly expensive Volk TE37s or a set of budget-friendly Cosmis Racing S5Rs, the choice is up to you.

If you're looking for a general idea of what fits your BRZ, keep reading for a quick rundown of some of the more popular wheel and tire fitment sizes for street, track, and stanced BRZs.

Wheel and Tire Fitment For The Subaru BRZ

Subaru BRZ tS with APEX 17×9” ET42 ARC-8 Wheels

Street - 17x9 +42 or 17x9 +35

18x9 +35

Track - 17x9.5 +40

18x9.5 +40

The few wheel setups that we’ve mentioned above are just amongst a variety of different wheel and tire combos that you can run on your car. 

Whether you decide to go with a square or staggered setup, remember to consider that your budget should include enough cash for both the wheels and tires!

Gimme A Brake - Subaru BRZ Brake Modifications

"Molded BRZ" by Justin Chan is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.

Now that we’ve covered some of the most popular ways to upgrade and improve the suspension setup on your BRZ, it's time to start thinking about how to modify your brake components.

Having a set of reliable brakes will increase your driving confidence knowing that you can take a corner at a higher speed and brake later without worry.

While the factory brake setup from Subaru is up to par for the usual daily commute, adding a set of performance brake pads and rotors will improve your car's braking ability and ensure that you are safe in emergency braking situations or at the track.

Keep reading to learn more about some of the best ways to improve your Subaru brake system with quality parts!

Gimme A Brake - Subaru BRZ Brake Pads

Ferodo Brake Pads

For a lot of BRZ owners, a simple brake pad upgrade will do wonders for how your brakes perform. This is often a good go-to upgrade for those who only daily drive their cars but want a little bit more bite when they press the brake pedal.

If you drive your BRZ aggressively on the street or plan on tracking it, however, we definitely recommend doing both pads and rotors to get the maximum effect that upgrading your brake pads will provide to your car.

Here is our list of recommended Brake Pads for the Subaru BRZ

Gimme A Brake - Subaru BRZ Brake Rotors

StopTech Brake Rotors

After you’ve selected a set of brake pads that suit your driving style, it's time to think about upgrading your BRZ’s brake rotors as well.

Adding a set of performance brake rotors won’t necessarily increase your car's braking ability per se but what a set of performance brake rotors does offer is heat dissipation that can’t be matched by a set of OEM rotors.

We recommend choosing a set of slotted rotors for those that drive their cars hard at the track due to the fact that drilled rotors have a tendency to become brittle and crack under repeated heat cycles.

If you're primarily driving your BRZ on the street, you can grab a set of slotted and cross-drilled rotors without worry since you won’t be reaching rotor temperatures comparable to what you would on track.

Here is our list of recommended Brake Rotors for the Subaru BRZ

Gimme A Brake - Subaru BRZ Brake Lines

Goodridge Phantom Stainless Steel Brake Lines

Another brake upgrade that is often overlooked by BRZ owners is installing a set of high-quality brake lines on their car.

While the stock rubberized brake lines are adequate, adding a set of stainless steel brake lines will have an immediate positive effect on your brake system. 

Your pedal will feel firmer and you won’t have to worry about your rubberized lines being damaged due to road debris that may otherwise cause fluid loss if hit.

When combined with a set of performance brake pads and rotors, a stainless steel brake line kit is usually the final piece when building out an excellent brake setup for the street and track in most cases!

Here is our list of recommended Brake Lines for the Subaru BRZ

Gimme A Brake - Subaru BRZ Brake Fluid

Motul Brake Fluid RBF 600 

When it comes to your brake system, if there’s only one thing that you can upgrade on your BRZ then please let it be a simple brake fluid drain and fill.

We recommend this service in our guide because we see that a lot of car enthusiasts often overlook this crucial fluid when it comes to upgrading and modifying their cars.

While we recommend upgrading to performance-based brake fluid for anyone’s vehicle, simply flushing your system with a few bottles of quality DOT4 brake fluid every 2-3 years or 15-30k miles is better than most people can manage!

If you're looking for performance, we definitely recommend checking out Racing Brake Fluid and adding it to your parts list when ordering brake components.

While it doesn’t necessarily provide the same benefits that aggressive brake pads, cross-drilled rotors or stainless steel brake lines do, having quality high-temperature brake fluid is vital for those that track their cars or push them hard on the street.

Why? Because when you boil your brake fluid there's nothing worse than hitting the brakes and not being able to slow down.

Here is our list of recommended Brake Fluid for the Subaru BRZ

Gimme A Brake - Subaru BRZ Big Brake Kits

Stoptech Touring Big Brake Kit
StopTech Big Brake Kits

When it comes to building a dedicated track car, the BRZ is an excellent platform to start with for beginners and veterans of the track.

As you progress with the development of your BRZ as a platform by upgrading various components and getting more seat time, you may notice that your upgraded brake setup is quite up to par if you want to shave that extra second or two off by braking later into turns 3 and 4.

When upgrading to a BBK, there are a few things to consider before shelling out a significant amount of cash for your new Big Brake Kit.

The first issue is your current wheel setup. If you are on stock wheels you won’t be able to run a BBK without spacers.

Even then, be sure to do some research and make sure your aftermarket wheels fit the BBK you’ll be ordering for your BRZ.

Secondly, it's important to keep in mind that most BRZs don’t need a BBK. Your stock brake system can be upgraded to perform extremely well with some of the parts listed earlier in this guide.

Unless you're tracking your car and running out of brakes, adding a BBK will probably be overkill for your driving habits.

Now if you’ve read all that and are still dead set on buying a Big Brake Kit for your BRZ, there are a multitude of different manufacturers that are more than happy to supply you with high-performance brake kits that will take your BRZ’s brake setup to the next level!

Here is our list of recommended Big Brake Kits or the Subaru BRZ


Let's Add Some Power - Subaru BRZ Performance Modifications

"Kevin-Carl 22" by Anthony dela Merced is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

As you know, when the engineers at Subaru started to design the BRZ for enthusiasts around the world, the main focus of this Subaru was to give the driver an exciting, fun experience.

The BRZ’s ethos is that of other iconic sports cars like the Toyota AE86 or the Lotus Elise - small, agile, and lightweight while providing the perfect amount of power for daily driving.

Unfortunately, many people feel that Subaru has fallen short in terms of providing adequate power to the BRZ to make it a truly perfect driver's car.

Luckily the aftermarket has stepped in once again to address this issue and has developed several parts to help the 4-cylinder 2.4L flat-four FA20 make significantly more power!

If you are interested in increasing the power on your Subaru be sure to check out our list of Subaru BRZ mods below!

Let's Add Some Power - Subaru BRZ Intakes

Perrin Performance Cold Air Intake System

When it comes to an easy performance upgrade for your BRZ, adding an aftermarket cold air intake to your car is one of the most popular and easiest ways to add a little bit of power.

While BRZ owners will split hairs over which is more effective when it comes to the BRZ you have the choice of a full aftermarket cold air intake that will replace the stock intake or simply upgrade the stock air filter with a drop-in performance filter.

Because the FA20 is a naturally aspirated 4-cylinder, adding either a cold air intake or drop-in filter won’t net huge horsepower gains.

However, we recommend cold air intakes because it will clean up your engine bay and have a significant effect on making your intake sound a lot meaner than stock!

Here is our list of recommended Cold Air Intakes for the Subaru BRZ

Let's Add Some Power - Subaru BRZ Catback Exhaust System

MXP Street Performance Exhaust System

When it comes to a modification having a significant effect on both performance and sound, adding a full aftermarket catback exhaust system to your BRZ is the way to go.

As with all significant changes to your BRZ, we definitely recommend a tune after installing a new catback exhaust system to see the maximum horsepower gains that it offers.

Here is our list of recommended Catback Exhausts for the Subaru BRZ

Let's Add Some Power - Subaru BRZ High Flow Catalytic Converters

Invidia Front Pipe w/High Flow Cat

Now that we’ve talked about choosing a performance catback exhaust system for your Subaru, the final piece to your exhaust puzzle is whether you choose to run a test pipe or a high-flow catalytic converter.

For the BRZ and just about any street-driven car, we recommend running an HFC to keep you legal and to also ensure that your BRZ stays comfortable during your daily commute.

Additionally, running a high-flow cat vs a test pipe has been shown to have no performance benefit when it comes to one or the other.

Here is our list of recommended High Flow Catalytic Converters for the Subaru BRZ

Let's Add Some Power - Subaru BRZ Test Pipes

ARK Stainless R-Spec 2.5 Inch Resonated Test Pipe

Now when it comes to test pipes on any street-driven car, the vast majority of people will not see any significant amount of power gains if you delete your cat and run a test pipe instead.

Where you may see an increase in power is if your BRZ is turbocharged.

In the instance of turbocharging, allowing the exhaust gases to have the least restrictive exhaust routing is ideal, and running a test pipe may net you some additional power.

However, you still run the risk of having an illegal car depending on where you live if driven on the street and that’s why we generally recommend straight piping any street-driven car, BRZ or otherwise.

If you’re BRZ doesn’t get driven on the street or has had a turbo kit installed, running a test pipe may be worth the potential headache for you.

Here is our list of recommended High Flow Catalytic Converters for the Subaru BRZ

Let's Add Some Power - Subaru BRZ Exhaust Manifolds

Tomei 4-2-1 Equal Length Exhaust Manifold

If you’ve owned your BRZ for a while or have had a chance to drive one, there’s no doubt that you experienced the dreaded torque dip at 4k RPM that the FA20 is known for.

Fortunately for BRZ owners, this performance issue can be easily remedied with a set of aftermarket exhaust headers for your car. 

When shopping for a new set of headers for your car, keep in mind that companies generally sell an equal-length header or unequal-length header for your BRZ.

Which should you choose?

Well, that depends on what kind of sound you ultimately want for your BRZ.

An equal-length header will provide a sound similar to that of a Porsche Boxer motor.

On the other hand, an unequal-length header will give your BRZ the familiar Subaru boxer rumble.

Either way to go, adding a set of headers to your BRZ is one of the best ways to increase power and torque for any naturally aspirated FA20. With a tune, you could see power gains of up to +20WHP with a quality header installed.

Here is our list of recommended Exhaust Headers for the Subaru BRZ

Let's Add Some Power - Subaru BRZ Turbo & Supercharger Kits

If you’ve tried all of the ways to increase the power and torque of your FA20 and are still disappointed with your dyno numbers then there’s only one way to help - forced induction!

For the BRZ adding a turbo or supercharged kit can have a significant effect on how much power your BRZ puts down, with the possibility of doubling or tripling factory horsepower if your wallet is deep enough.

Are you shooting for maximum horsepower from your FA20? Adding a turbo kit is the most straightforward approach for you.

Do you want to keep the linear power band that you enjoy but at some more juice across the entire rev range? Then installing a supercharger may be a better option for your goals.

No matter which way you go, adding some power with a turbo or supercharger installed on your Subaru will no doubt drastically change how the car drives for the better!

Here is our list of recommended Turbo Kits for the Subaru BRZ
Here is our list of recommended Supercharger Kits for the Subaru BRZ


Let's Add Some Power - Subaru BRZ Tuning


Now that we’ve covered all of the basic and most popular ways to add power and torque to your Subaru, it's important that we talk about getting your car tuned to take advantage of all your new performance parts!

Like all modern cars of the last few decades, the BRZ has an ECU that controls a variety of functions such as fuel injection, valve timing, and airflow.

While the ECU works perfectly fine from the factory, once you start upgrading and modifying your BRZ engine, things start to go a bit haywire.

For example, if you were to install a new header and catback exhaust on your BRZ you’re going to run into several drivability issues due to the ECU tuning not being tuned for your new aftermarket exhaust system.

Having a professional tuner either send you an E-Tune or custom tuning your BRZ on a dyno is the best way to extract the most horsepower and torque from your Subaru mods and will ensure that your new intake, exhaust, or turbo kit works flawlessly day in and day out.

Here is our list of recommended ECU Tuning Options for the Subaru BRZ


Crispy Shifts For All  - Subaru BRZ Transmission Upgrades

"Shawn's BRZ 1" by Anthony dela Merced is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Now that we’ve covered the most popular BRZ mods that add power to your car from front to back, it's time to think about upgrading a few components in your transmission system.

The BRZ stock transmission will hold a decent amount of power when upgraded properly, so if you’re going with forced induction be sure to do some research on supporting mods!

As for BRZ owners that are just looking for a simple bolt-on N/A power, upgrading your clutch, flywheel and short shifter are the 3 components that we highly recommended!

Keep reading to see exactly how upgrading each of these components will benefit you and your BRZ in the long run and save you from potential headaches down the road!

Crispy Shifts For All - Subaru BRZ Clutches

SPEC Clutch Kits

When it comes to the stock clutch, most street-driven BRZs don’t necessarily need to upgrade their clutch because of the big torque numbers. 

But what if I told you that upgrading your clutch to one of the many aftermarket options would not only help bulletproof your transmission but also improve your driving experience?

While the BRZ does have a bit of a glass transmission, upgrading your clutch is one of the best ways to help with reliability if you are driving your BRZ hard on the street or on the track.

An aftermarket clutch not only offers a higher range when it comes to holding power, but it can also improve the pedal feel and save you some cash compared to the OEM alternative.

Talk about a win-win!

Here is our list of recommended Clutches for the Subaru BRZ

Let's Add Some Power - Subaru BRZ Flywheel

Toda Racing Lightweight Flywheel 

Upgrading your flywheel goes hand in hand when installing a new aftermarket clutch in your BRZ.

Sure you could just keep the stock flywheel and have it resurfaced or replaced with an OEM unit but when you have the transmission out there’s no better time to add a few more transmission upgrades to take full advantage of your FA20.

One of the biggest increases in performance that a lightened flywheel can provide is a quicker revving engine.

While the FA20 is a relatively rev-happy motor, adding a lightened flywheel will wake your motor up, even more, allowing the engine to rev and engine brake a lot easier than it would with the heavier stock flywheel.

Here is our list of recommended Flywheels for the Subaru BRZ

Let's Add Some Power - Subaru BRZ Short Shifter

IRP - Short shifter GT86/FR-S/BRZ V3 (IRPSS86-3B) – Drift HQ
IRP Short Shifter

The last piece of the puzzle for your transmission upgrades should be adding a short shifter to the mix.

While the Subaru has a relatively short throw from the factory, you may want to improve the shift mechanism to be more precise, and that's where a short shifter comes into play.

Adding a short shifter to your BRZ will not only shorten the shifts, but it will also improve your driving experience by helping reduce the possibility of a missed shift.

Having a short shifter installed is a definite must for anyone that tracks their BRZ or likes to get a little rowdy on the streets!

Here is our list of recommended Short Shifters for the Subaru BRZ

What Should You Modify On Your Subaru BRZ First?

When it comes to modifying and upgrading your BRZ, there is no one way or place to start when it comes to adding performance parts to enhance your car.

What most enthusiasts will recommend is addressing your suspension, wheels, and brakes first. After you’ve given your car the ability to handle better and stop faster, then it's time to add some power to the platform. After you’ve chosen your go-fast bits it's time to pull that transmission and install a beefier clutch and lightened flywheel.

Keep reading for a quick rundown of what we recommend addressing first when it comes to BRZ mods.

Step 1: Upgrade Your Suspension, Brakes, and Tires

White Scion FRS On Track
"IMG_5625_edited" by Grant.C is licensed under CC BY 2.0

If you plan on driving your car aggressively on the street or at the track, the best place to start improving components is from the ground up. Getting a handful of the suspension parts we’ve mentioned earlier in the guide along with aftermarket brake rotors and pads will drastically change how well your car handles and slows down. Add a set of sticky tires and you’ll have more fun in your BRZ than you realized was possible when you bought it!

  1. A Set Of Coilovers, Lowering springs, or Air Suspension
  2. Suspension Arms to dial in your Alignment
  3. Aftermarket Brake Pads, Rotors, and Brake Lines
  4. A Set of Light-Weight Wheels and Performance Tires

Step 2: Add Some Power To Your FA20

Yellow Toyota FRS Drifting
"Toyobaru" by MIDWST.BLUR is licensed under CC BY 2.0

As we covered in the performance section of this guide, the FA20 responds well to bolt-ons with the biggest power adder in N/A form being a free-flowing aftermarket header.

We suggest the trifecta of a cold air intake, unequal or equal length header, and a catback exhaust for a nice bump over the factory horsepower rating.

If you want more power than what the 4-cylinder is able to provide, you can also check out the current lineup of turbo and supercharger kits on the market to add some boost to the mix.

Whatever way you go, be sure to get a tune to take advantage of the new performance mods and make the most amount of power that your setup is capable of!

  1. Cold Air Intake or Drop In Performance Air Filter
  2. Catback Exhaust System
  3. Unequal Length or Equal Length Performance Header
  4. Professional E-Tune or Dyno Tune
  5. Turbo or Supercharger Kit (Optional)

Step 3: Upgrade Your Transmission

Full Blown S2000 CD009 Nissan 350z Transmission Conversion - FRS, BRZ,  Turbo Kit, Fabrication, Fuel System

Last but not least, the last thing that we recommend upgrading on your BRZ is the drivetrain components to ensure that everything lasts as long as possible.

While there are reports that the transmission’s on these cars aren’t the strongest, taking the steps to ensure that you won’t lose 4th gear prematurely can be done by adding a few parts like a better clutch and lightened flywheel.

If you're looking to push big power numbers, you can always have your transmission completely rebuilt with hardened components or opt for the transmission out of another car like the CD009 found in the Nissan 350z.

  1. Uprated Performance Clutch and Lightened Flywheel
  2. Short Shifter
  3. Transmission Overhaul or Swap

OverRev's Subaru BRZ Tuning Guide

Modified Blue Subaru BRZ
"Shawn's BRZ 7" by Anthony dela Merced is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

As you have read, the BRZ is a tuner-friendly car that responds well to the usual bolt-on mods when it's time to upgrade the stock parts from the factory.

Whether you’re looking to build a fun street car or a hardcore track-focused weapon, we hope that you’ve enjoyed reading our Subaru BRZ Tuning Guide!

Did we miss anything? What have you done to improve your car? Let us know with a comment below and happy wrenching!


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