One look at the photos, and it’s easy to see that Subaru’s aggressively-styled sports car has been built for fun. Like the Scion FRS and Toyota 86 the Subaru sports car shared a chassis with before, this second-generation 2022 BRZ is a 2+2 with two small rear seats that can be folded down to make room for cargo. And that cargo hold allows plenty of space to make the BRZ a practical daily driver. So while the new BRZ is philosophically similar to the original, for 2022, Subaru has made several serious upgrades, including an all-new chassis with a lower center of gravity, a new 2.4-litre 4-cylinder engine that produces 15% more torque, and a new digital gauge cluster.
The new 2022 Subaru BRZ’s primary mission is to deliver a rewarding, fast-paced drive on a twisty road, so much work has gone into improving the new chassis. Subaru says the new structure is 50% stiffer than the old one, allowing engineers to tune the MacPherson strut and multilink rear suspension systems to create a more connected-to-the-road experience when the road curves. In fact, bending rigidity in the front structure alone is up by a whopping 60%, which Subaru says allowed them to make the steering more responsive.
To help shave weight, Subaru developed an aluminum roof, front fenders, and hood for the new BRZ. The result is an all-new car that is essentially no heavier than the old model, despite being slightly longer and packing more equipment. That’s a rare feat these days. And less weight generally means the car is more agile. At just under 1,315 kilograms (2,900 pounds), Subaru says the BRZ is the lightest 2+2 sports car for sale in North America.
Under the 2022 Subaru BRZ’s long hood sits a larger 2.4-litre horizontally opposed “Boxer” 4-cylinder that develops 228 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. That’s a modest increase in both horsepower and torque over the first-generation BRZ. But the BRZ experience is less about drag racing and more about revving the engine to redline and pitching the car into a tight bend on a canyon road. Buyers have a choice of shifting themselves with a 6-speed manual or selecting a 6-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters and technology that will blip the throttle right before a downshift for a smoother shifting experience.
Subaru says the new BRZ’s stability control system is much more advanced than before and more in line with performance cars that cost a little more. The system now has five settings, including a Track mode, to tailor the amount of intervention to the driver’s skill set and the road conditions. The system can be completely turned off for those that want to probe the limits of the BRZ without a safety net.
What’s the same?
Despite the extensive upgrades, the new 2022 Subaru BRZ remains a unique proposition. Quite a few cars in the BRZ’s competitive set (like the $30,498 CDN Nissan 370Z Coupe, $29,448 CDN Chevrolet Camaro, and $31,080 CDN Ford Mustang) pack more power and torque than the BRZ—even with the new model’s upgraded engine. Yet the BRZ is smaller, lighter, and provides a more nuanced driving experience.
The one sports car that lines up most closely with the BRZ’s mission is the $33,100 CDN Mazda MX-5 Soft Top or $40,100 CDN MX-5 RF retractable hardtop models that offer go-kart-like handling. However good the Mazda is on a twisty road, there’s precious little room inside the cabin or cargo hold. Translation? The BRZ is a more practical sports car.
When will it go on sale?
We expect the new Subaru BRZ to go on sale in the fall of 2021 as a 2022 model.
How much will it cost?
Subaru says it will announce official pricing closer to the on-sale date. However, the automaker hinted that this all-new model’s price wouldn’t increase dramatically over the old one. And that’s excellent news. Current 2021 BRZ pricing starts at $27,995 CDN.