2022 Subaru BRZ: Finally More Power and a Slick New Design, But Still No Turbo
Subaru has taken the BRZ and made it torquier, lower, stiffer, and better looking. What’s not to like?
It's here, folks. The 2022 Subaru BRZ cat is officially out of the bag and in the interest of getting to the good stuff early, here's what's lurking under the hood of Subie's second-gen BRZ: it's a 2.4-liter, naturally aspirated flat-four with Toyota's D-4S injection system making 228 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. For comparison's sake, the old BRZ made 205 hp and 156 pound-feet. Its chassis has also been stiffened and there's a fresh new design inside and out, but before we go there, let's talk about that engine a little more.
So, Subaru and development partner Toyota have gone the turbo-less route but haven't ignored the complaints leveled at the last BRZ for being "slow." Peak power arrives at this new version's slightly lower redline of 7,000 rpm (the last car's tachometer ran to 7,400) but peak torque now comes on at just 3,700 rpm—right around where its predecessor would fall into that famously awful torque dip. In contrast, the outgoing car's torque only peaked when the engine spun to 6,400 rpm. That means the new BRZ will have more torque way earlier than the old one ever did, at any rpm. Happy?
With all that out of the way, it doesn't sound like Subaru has messed with any of the things that made the last BRZ great—namely, the handling. The small, rear-drive sports car will retain a curb weight of less than 2,900 pounds with official preliminary numbers ranging from 2,815 pounds for the manual Premium to 2,881 pounds for the automatic Limited. Just like before, the 2022 BRZ will be available with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic with paddle shifters. Automatics now get Subaru's EyeSight ADAS, as well as a new Sport driving mode that allows for quicker automated downshifts and holds gears for longer when the car's yaw sensors detect hard cornering.
Despite the slight weight gain (forgivable considering the bigger engine), Subaru says the 2022 BRZ will be the lightest 2+2 rear-wheel-drive production sports car on the U.S. market. What's more, its center of gravity has been made even lower than that of the old BRZ and is now said to be "on-par with exotic hypercars."
When we asked point-blank whether the new BRZ's "bespoke chassis" was truly new and not just a modified version of the previous car's, a Subaru spokesperson said that it was indeed "fully redesigned" as "a collaborative effort with Toyota, like the first generation BRZ." When probed further, however, the same spokesperson stopped short of calling it a "new platform," explaining that "the platform is derived from other Subaru products and not the Subaru Global Platform." Sounds like we'll have a little longer to wait to find out exactly how much of this car's skeleton is indeed carried over from the last BRZ.
In any case, its wheelbase grows by 0.2 inches, the overall length is now 0.9 inches longer than before, and the car sits 0.4 inches lower in height while width goes unchanged. Torsional stiffness is up 50 percent while lateral bending rigidity is 60 percent higher.
Like the outgoing BRZ, the new model's suspension is comprised of MacPherson struts up front and double-wishbones in the rear. A limited-slip differential is standard while stability control now offers five different settings and can be completely turned off. Wheels measure either 17 or 18 inches in diameter depending on trim while both rim options continue to wear skinny tires measuring a scant 215 mm wide for easier sideways action.
As you can probably tell by this point, the BRZ has also been given a significant style makeover in addition to the mechanical overhaul. Even though looks are subjective, Subaru explicitly says the styling has been improved and you know what? We're inclined to agree. I especially like the new rear end with its haunches that are...haunchier and an aggressive ducktail spoiler that's better integrated into the trunk. On top of looking good, those big side vents behind the front wheels are functional as well, apparently able to reduce drag by funneling air from under the hood and fenders to the downforce-creating side sills. Cap it all off with wheels that we're pretty sure are the same ones found on the forbidden fruit that is the Toyota GR Yaris and we've got a BRZ that's significantly nicer to look at than before.
Naturally, the lightweight Japanese sport coupe's interior is new as well, now rocking an all-digital seven-inch instrument cluster. Infotainment duties fall to an eight-inch display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on board.
All in all, it's very promising. With actual torque on tap, a chassis that's even lower and stiffer than before, and upgraded aesthetics inside and out, this second-gen BRZ should be even more enjoyable to drive than the last but we'll reserve judgment for when we actually get behind the wheel.
The 2022 Subaru BRZ is scheduled to reach dealerships in early fall 2021. This car's badge sibling, the upcoming Toyota "GR86," should show up soon as well.
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