2022 Subaru BRZ Gets Prettier and More Powerful

Image credit: Subaru
From the car and driver
It's clear the ex-Formula 1 driver at 100 mph in the back of fourth gear isn't exactly challenged by the speed of the new 2022 Subaru BRZ. Just before he exhales the throttle and pushes the car with a quick bend with his right hand, followed by a hard braking zone for a tight left-hander, Scott Speed ​​casually takes his right hand off the steering wheel and points to the sports car's new digital instrument cluster and says, "I really like the G-Meter. It's fun to see how it moves when I drive across the track."
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Speed, which has won four American rallycross championships in a row, may not sweat as fast as the redesigned four-seat rear-wheel drive coupe, but it does enjoy its dynamism, making it around most corners, and enjoying its balance and reaction. "There's more traction than before," he says. “But the biggest difference between this car and the old car is the extra power. It gives you so much more control over the setting of the car. I can drive it in and out like the old car, but now I can do it more accurately and I can can let it slide longer. "
Our short speed racetrack only takes one and a half laps, but the extra grip and grunt of the new BRZ can be seen in the passenger seat. The car is still small, light, low and manoeuvrable just like the original, but it also feels tighter and far more powerful.
Image credit: Subaru
Stiffer chassis and suspension
Like the original, which has been around since 2012, the second generation BRZ is a collaboration between Subaru and Toyota that will again sell their own version called the 86. Toyota took over the design again, while engineering and construction are the end of Subaru's deal. The chassis of the sports car has been carried over, but some new materials and adhesives from Subarus Global Platform have increased the stiffness of the front end by 60 percent. "The stiffer chassis allowed us to stiffen the suspension attachment points as well as the chassis tuning itself, with the focus still on improving ride quality," said Michael Redic, Subaru’s vehicle line planning manager for BRZ, WRX and Forester.
Subaru's engineers have also slightly enlarged the rear track. The geometry of the strut front suspension remains unchanged. There's still some body roll, but less than before, and the pliability of the suspension feels right as speed bounces the car off the high curbs of the track and it runs out over the rumble strips.
When it hits stores in early fall 2021, two models will be available and the biggest difference in performance between the two will be the tires. The Premium will ride on an as yet undisclosed set of 17-inch year-round sizes 215 / 45R-17. Speed ​​drives a BRZ Limited that runs on Michelin Pilot Sport 4 summer tires wrapped around attractive 18-inch 10-spoke alloys. That's the same rubber you now get on the STI-tuned BRZ tS.
Image credit: Subaru
If you don't think a tire can make a huge difference, take the current BRZ skidpad result of 0.90g and compare it to the 0.98g of the BRZ tS. With a curb weight of less than 2900 pounds, those numbers don't get any worse.
Subaru also retuned the stability control system with five settings to allow more driver input before the nannies step in. The system can still be switched off completely. The current BRZ is available with a performance package that includes Brembo brakes and other performance enhancements. A similar package for the 2022 model won't be available at launch, but one is coming.
More power, but still no turbo
If you've been waiting for a turbo - many BRZ fans have - you'll be disappointed. There is no. "Everyone wants to know why no turbo," said Dominick Infante, director of corporate communications at Subaru. "Naturally sucked in keeps it affordable."
Image credit: Subaru
Instead, Subaru replaced the BRZ's current 2.0-liter four-cylinder with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder with the same configuration. It features Toyota's D-4S port and direct injection, a compression ratio of 13.5: 1 and chain driven double overhead camshafts with variable timing. "It's basically an Ascent engine with no turbo," said Infante.
The 100-horsepower bump that many were hoping for doesn't happen, but the 2.4-liter engine's 228 horsepower at 7000 rpm and the 184 pound-feet of torque at 3700 rpm are a significant improvement versus the 205 horsepower and 156 pound-feet of its performance predecessor. That's 18 percent more torque, and it hits at a much lower engine speed - the old car's torque peak was 6400 rpm - which certainly explains the more dragging the BRZ out of those second gear corners. The redline has decreased slightly, from 7700 RPM to 7500 RPM.
Image credit: Subaru
Two years ago, the BRZ tS shot to 60 miles per hour in 6.3 seconds. It will be interesting to see if that extra power can get the coupe into the five-second zone. Both a six-speed manual and a six-speed automatic are offered, and the automatic gets a new sport mode with faster response, speed adjustment and more aggressive gear selection during hard driving. A limited slip differential is standard across the board.
More muscular design
By now you've checked the photos so you know the BRZ looks a lot better too. Toyota's design team this time worked some overtime and improved proportions, posture and muscles without increasing the size. The car sits a little lower than before and the overall length increases by less than an inch.
The roof, hood and front fenders are made of aluminum to keep weight down and all ducts are functional. Those large front vanes cool the brakes, and the large front fender vents, reminiscent of the Lexus RC F, allow hot air to escape from the engine bay. The BRZ's subtle double bubble canopy is retained, but its greenhouse has been narrowed by about three-quarters of an inch, adding more visual pop to its curvy hips. Although the car is the same width as before, it feels considerably wider, especially from the rear, where it has two large chrome exhaust pipes and a neatly integrated ducktail spoiler. Squint, and it kind of looks like an Aston Martin Vantage. Perhaps. A little. From a few angles. Keep squinting.
Image credit: Subaru
If you've been waiting for Subaru to hack the top of the BRZ, give up on the dream. "We have no plans for a convertible," said Infante. "It's not our thing."
Inside, inmates sit a little closer together, but not enough to matter. The interior design is evolutionary, but it's also a significant improvement. The dashboard is still a sea of ​​hard plastic, but it doesn't look that cheap. The secondary controls look better and work better, and the new digital instrument cluster has two configurations with the front and center RPM staying where it should be.
The front seats are new but look and feel much the same as before. The rear seats are still useless for human passengers and fold down to expand the trunk. On the technical side, Eyesight will be available, and the BRZ infotainment system has an 8.0-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.
Image credit: Subaru
Subaru has only sold more than 41,000 GT since 2012, which isn't a lot, but its average buyers are teenagers in their early 30s. Only the WRX brings younger buyers to the brand. In an effort to get that small but desirable crowd of enthusiasts back, Subaru kept the BRZ small and desirable, and thoughtfully resisted the temptation to add steamroller tires and a reinforced engine to one of our favorite backroad bombers.
"We stuck to the original formula of a light, compact, rear-wheel drive sports car," said Infante. "If we had made the car too big, it would have changed the overall character of the car, and it took a lot of work to keep the car so small, light, fun and affordable."
We'll know more about how fun it will be when we actually get behind the wheel sometime in 2021.
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