The holidays came early this year for shoppers seeking an affordable entry into the world of rear-wheel-drive sports cars with the debut of the 2022 Subaru BRZ. The second-generation of Subaru's affordable sports car just arrived with more power, an improved interior, and updated styling, all at around the same price as the old model. In another joint partnership with Toyota (a new 86 will follow next year), Subaru built a car that addresses the previous-generation car's issues while continuing to offer an affordable price point for buyers looking for their first sports car.
With so few affordable performance cars left on the market due to the popularity of crossovers, the BRZ offers one of the few lightweight sports car experiences without breaking the bank. Just like the previous model, the BRZ won't appeal to all car enthusiasts, but it will likely find a cult following with diehard buyers who put driving pleasure above all else.
Though this BRZ is all-new, the styling looks more evolutionary than revolutionary. Overall, the design looks far more modern and focused than the car it replaces, though some might prefer the old car's aggressive styling. This new BRZ is an inch longer and almost half an inch lower than its predecessor, giving it a more compact stance. Subaru also added flared wheel arches and a "double bubble" as a nod to vintage race cars.
The frontal area looks much wider than before, thanks to large functional air intakes. This aggressive design flows into the front fenders with large side vents, which are also functional and reduce drag by ducting air from under the hood. Subaru adds a touch of aggression with dual exhausts and a subtle "ducktail" spoiler at the rear.
No one would call the old BRZ a palace of luxury, and this new one is no different. The interior feels purposeful, built for the task of driving while catering to a youthful demographic. The details are driver-oriented, including a new seven-inch digital dashboard with a configurable tachometer and displays for amps, water temperature, and a g-meter. At the center, a new eight-inch screen runs on Subaru's latest StarLink infotainment system, greatly elevating the BRZ's technological prowess.
Occupants retain a low seating position with excellent sightlines, thanks to high strength steel in the A, B, and C-pillars. Subaru retained the 2+2 seating configuration with folding rear seats, which open to create a useful cargo area with room for a mountain bike, golf clubs, or four tires for a track day event.
Though it doesn't add a turbocharger, this new BRZ addresses the lack of power (specifically a lack of torque) that plagued the previous-generation model. A new 2.4-liter boxer four-cylinder engine produces 228 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, improvements of 23 hp and 28 lb-ft. Subaru hasn't posted any performance figures yet, but this new engine should feel much quicker, hitting peak torque at just 3,700 rpm compared to 6,400 rpm in the old car.
All of the grunt still goes out to the rear wheels, meaning drivers can enjoy some tail-sliding action. Models equipped with the six-speed automatic transmission include Subaru's EyeSight Driver Assist Technology, though we'd easily sacrifice it to get the six-speed manual transmission. This car still weighs under 2,900 pounds, so it's a featherweight by modern standards.
Despite having more power and a nicer interior, the 2022 Subaru BRZ carries the same MSRP as the 2020 model, at $28,845. Retaining the same price while improving performance is a huge accomplishment that needs to be celebrated. While no direct competition exists for this lightweight 2+2 coupe as of this writing, a Toyota version will arrive soon. Some buyers may also consider the similarly-priced Mazda MX-5 Miata, which is a two-seater convertible.
It's a stretch to consider them direct rivals, but the four-cylinder versions of the Chevy Camaro and Ford Mustang offer more power than the BRZ at a lower starting price. Those cars are also larger and heavier than the BRZ, so they appeal to a slightly different audience.