Subaru's superb sports car is back for a second generation.
With SUV sales soaring and sports car sales shrinking, the future was looking bleak for the Subaru BRZ and its Toyota sibling, the 86. Mercifully, both sports cars are being redesigned for a new generation, with development once again being jointly handled by Toyota and Subaru. Before the new Toyota 86 debuts, the all-new 2022 Subaru BRZ has been unveiled at the Thermal Club Raceway in California. Like the original car, the new BRZ is a sports car in its purest form with a naturally-aspirated Boxer engine, low weight, and engaging driving dynamics, only this time upgraded with more power, sharper styling, improved handling, and a revamped interior.
Under the hood, the 2022 Subaru BRZ is powered by a 2.4-liter naturally aspirated Boxer engine producing 228 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. This is a welcome power bump over the previous BRZ, which generated 205 hp and 156 lb-ft.
Power is sent to the rear wheels through either a standard six-speed manual or an available six-speed automatic with a new Sport mode designed for more aggressive driving with more rapid downshifts with automatic throttle blipping. It's not the most powerful sports car on the market, but the Subaru BRZ's simplicity sets it apart.
Positioning the new Boxer engine low in the chassis enables the new BRZ to achieve a lower center of gravity, making it even more fun and responsive to drive than the original. With a 101.4-inch wheelbase and "near-perfect weight distribution", the new BRZ should be nimble, while the front suspension struts and coil springs keep the weight low. With an estimated curb weight of under 2,900 pounds, Subaru claims the new BRZ is the "lightest rear-wheel-drive 2+2 production sports car sold in the US" - somewhat of a specific observation that ignores the 2,341-pound Mazda MX-5 Miata. Thanks to its reinforced chassis, Subaru claims the front lateral bending rigidity has increased by 60 percent for improved turn-in and response. Unlike a previous rumor suggested, the new BRZ does not have rear-wheel steering.
Premium trims ride on 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels, while the Limited trim gets 18-inch alloys. Styling-wise, the new BRZ stays faithful to the original, sporting a coupe design that's just over an inch longer and almost half an inch lower than its predecessor. Larger air intakes adorn the front fascia, while bold fender flares, a double bubble-style roofline, and a wider track give the BRZ a sportier appearance than its predecessor.
New side vents also help reduce drag, ducting air from under the hood and fenders, which is then directed to a side sill spoiler that creates downforce. A small fin at the back of the rear-wheel arch also enhances the airflow and high-speed stability. At the rear, the new BRZ features a dual exhaust system and a dramatic ducktail rear spoiler.
Inside, the driver-focused interior is upgraded with a seven-inch digital dashboard incorporating a digital speedometer and a customizable meter that can display amps, water temperature, or a G-force meter.
In Track mode, the tachometer automatically changes to a linear graph with a color display allowing the driver to focus on the road. An eight-inch touchscreen features Subaru's latest Starlink infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity and audio streaming, a rearview camera, and SiriusXM satellite radio. Models equipped with the six-speed automatic transmission also feature Subaru's EyeSight Driver Assist Technology.
Red stitching is applied to the sports bucket seats and, despite being a two-door sports coupe, the BRZ's folding rear seats provide enough cargo space to carry a mountain bike, golf clubs, or four race tires and tools for track days.
Sales of the 2022 Subaru BRZ will start in fall 2021. Pricing will be announced closer to the on-sale date, but the BRZ has a reputation for being one of the most affordable sports cars on the market with the current model starting at $28,845.