The 2022 Subaru BRZ Platform Isn't Exactly New. But That's Far From Bad
In a time where most could care less about sports cars, it's important to celebrate the ones that stick around.
Subaru finally unveiled the next-generation BRZ Wednesday morning, and the reception has been mostly positive—unless you're in the camp who demanded a turbocharger. It's got more horsepower, new looks and a better interior, but it appears as if the car rides on a very similar chassis to the previous generation. Speaking to The Drive, a spokesperson for Subaru indicated it was "fully redesigned" in a collaboration with Toyota, but fell short of calling the car's underpinnings all-new, saying, "the platform is derived from other Subaru products and not the Subaru Global Platform." Think of the new Nissan Z, for reference.
Indications from spy photos also point to a re-tuning and re-hashing of the existing BRZ platform, with parts like the rear control arms, front knuckles, brake calipers and rear differential all being carryovers. And that's just what we can see.
Take automotive sleuth and friend of The Drive Bozi Tatarevic's analysis for proof:
So, like to the new Nissan Z car, the upcoming 2021 BRZ isn't exactly a spring chicken. When further prodded by The Drive, i.e, we flatly asked Subaru if the current car was heavily related to the previous BRZ, we were told, "We are not providing that level of detail at this time." So it seems like we won't know how related the two cars are for at least a little while. However, what is all-new to the BRZ has, at least in part, answered many BRZ owners' prayers.
Primarily, the car gets a new, 2.4-liter flat-four—basically a naturally aspirated version of the turbocharged engine in the Ascent SUV. And yes, we know, still no turbo. But even without forced induction—we all know turbochargers are just cheating, smoke-powered fans anyway (kidding, it's a joke!)—the new BRZ gets a bump of 23 horsepower and 38 pound-feet of torque. We also know that the chassis was not a complaint from BRZ owners in the car's first generation, so the fact that it hasn't been completely replaced shouldn't be a big issue. Much more important is the fact that BRZ/GT86 drivers now stand a better chance in a straight line against a Ford Transit with the right options checked.
And really, have you seen the automotive landscape lately? The ratio between crossovers and sports cars is approaching one billion to one; at least, that's the way it seems. It's no wonder Subaru and Nissan aren't spending the money to completely renew their niche sports cars since car buyers as a whole aren't very interested in them. Also, as far as receiving an update goes, the Corvette had a leaf spring in the rear suspension that was only done away with last year. It's not like anything underpinning either the 370Z or previous generation BRZ came from a 19th Century Mississippi River paddleboat. Everything underneath is fully independent, coil-sprung modernity.
People also forget how much the character of a car can change, even without completely re-working the platform. Think about the regular honda Civic compared to the Type R, or a regular E60 BMW 525i as compared to its V10-powered, 507-hp M5 sibling. And if we're talking about BMW, they make a new chassis for the 3 Series every time they release a new generation, and since the E90—or perhaps the E46, even—it seems like auto publications like the M3 less and less every time they do it. How many people in internet comments sections beg for BMW to sell the E46 again? It's a number large enough to make a reasonably populous, very annoying country.
All driving impressions of the new BRZ—and there are only a few of them so far—also indicate that it's a better car to hoon than the previous generation, with the power finally matching the chassis and its lower center of gravity improving cornering stability. That's according to former Formula 1 racer Scott Speed, if you're curious. While behind the wheel with Jeff Glucker from Hooniverse, Speed detailed why the car is a standout from the previous generation, and how it continues the BRZ legacy.
So before we get the pitchforks, let's take a step back. The EVs are coming, and they're almost all shaped like jellybeans. The time for internal combustion is running out, and engines are more choked by planet-saving emissions equipment with every passing year. Yet, companies like Subaru and Nissan are still spending money to ensure the few car buyers who want to have fun behind the wheel are still catered to at an affordable price, even if that means being forced to work with what limited resources they have, and even if those cars won't even be sold in Europe at all. We should be happy automakers are even giving us the time of day.
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