As much as we like to believe automakers are in the business of satiating enthusiasts’ appetites, we know each company ultimately desires one thing above all else: profitability. Crossovers and SUVs offer the opportunity to make lots of money. So do pickup trucks. Affordable, rear-drive sports cars, though? Not so much.
In spite of this, Subaru is pressing forward and improving upon its BRZ sports coupe, with the brand giving its only vehicle without all-wheel-drive a complete redesign for the 2022 model year. Like its predecessor (which ended production after the 2020 model year), the 2022 BRZ is the result of a joint effort between Subaru and Toyota.
The latter brand’s still mum on details about the second-generation 86, but look for it to share most—if not all—of the 2022 BRZ’s key components, including the Subaru’s new 2.4-liter flat-four engine.
2022 Subaru BRZ: A Fatter Four
We’ll say this up front to get it out of the way: The BRZ once again forgoes the use of a turbocharger (we’re still hopeful one finds its way to the BRZ in the future, though). Even so, the bigger 2.4-liter flat-four engine’s 228 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque represent increases of 23 horses and 28 lb-ft of twist over the old 2.0-liter unit when paired with a manual transmission. (Those differences swell to 28 ponies and 33 lb-ft when compared to the outgoing BRZ with an automatic transmission, which carried slightly different output ratings). Even better? Torque now peaks at a relatively low 3,700 rpm. Compare that to the prior engine and its torque peak of 6,400 rpm.
We’ll need to get behind the wheel of the new BRZ to determine if its new flat-four feels more eager to rev to redline than the outgoing 2.0-liter engine. Nevertheless, the extra grunt down low ought to notably improve the driving experience at lower engine speeds, as well as limit the need to regularly work the car’s standard six-speed manual gearbox to keep the engine in the meat of its powerband. A six-speed automatic with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters remains an option. The unit features a new Sport mode that automatically blips the throttle on downshifts and uses yaw sensor information to hold a lower gear through corners. Unlike on the Mazda MX-5 Miata, a limited-slip differential comes standard on every 2022 BRZ.
2022 Subaru BRZ: Hotter Handler
Regardless of its transmission, the 2022 BRZ benefits from a powertrain that sits lower in its chassis. With a lower center of gravity and a 50 percent increase in torsional stiffness, the new BRZ’s underpinnings promise to better the outgoing car’s dynamic capabilities and responsiveness.
While the new BRZ’s overall length grows by 0.9 inch, its wheelbase increases by 0.2 inch, and its curb weight goes up by as little as 17 pounds and as much as 41 pounds, the 2022 model remains a small and lithe thing. Even the heaviest 2022 BRZ tips the scales at less than 2,900 pounds.
2022 Subaru BRZ: Looky Here
Complementing the 2022 BRZ’s dynamic upgrades is a fresh new look that brings more upscale styling to the model. (For a more in-depth look at the BRZ’s styling, be sure to check out our design analysis.) Blistered fenders, large headlamps, and a bolder front fascia bless the BRZ with a more expressive mug. Meanwhile, the car’s functional side vents both reduce drag and add cohesion to the design by visually connecting the front fenders with the BRZ’s wide rear haunches.
The interior benefits from a similar evolution, where the 2022 BRZ’s dash maintains the horizontal nature of the prior car’s but embraces a more modern design direction. This includes the integration of an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment display (1.0-inch larger than the 2020 car’s) that’s Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible, as well as a 7.0-inch digital gauge cluster with a center-mounted tachometer. Switch the car to Track mode and its circular tach becomes horizontal, which Subaru notes allows the driver to more quickly and easily keep tabs on engine speed. Once again, a small rear bench seats two behind the driver and front-passenger seats.
2022 Subaru BRZ: A Trimmer Price?
Subaru’s keeping quiet on the 2022 BRZ’s price. That said, we expect the entry-level 2022 Subaru BRZ Premium to start at around $30,000. Plan to drop another thousand dollars or so for the automatic transmission. Limited models, which—among other things—trade the Premium’s 17-inch wheels and tires for bigger 18-inch units, should ring in around $35,000. Adding the automatic gearbox to a 2022 BRZ Limited might push the car’s price closer to $40,000, as doing so adds Subaru’s EyeSight suite of active safety features (this includes items such as adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, and lane-keeping assist). Look for Subaru to release more detailed pricing information as the 2022 BRZ gets closer to its launch in the fall of 2021.
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