Spirit Of The Original Kept Fully Intact
When it comes to performance, Subaru’s reputation mostly lies in building rally-inspired all-wheel-drive vehicles like the WRX STI. But, a joint venture with Toyota that resulted in 2013’s BRZ showed they can do affordable rear-drive sporty, too. So, let’s see what a road test of a new 2nd generation BRZ reveals next.
Many people were skeptical we’d even see a 2nd generation of this car, but the 2022 Subaru BRZ is here and we couldn’t be happier. As not only is there a new version, but they kept the spirit of the original fully intact, only making subtle changes and notable improvements. Still tidy, nimble, and lightweight feeling, so it remains a very fun car to drive.
And, who couldn’t use a little more fun in their lives these days? This gloom-and-doom fighter saves the day with more power, more refinement, and more style.
Starting with the engine, it grows from 2 to 2.4-liters; gaining 15% more torque. Slight bump in horsepower as well; new numbers are 228-horsepower and 184 lb-ft. of torque. Available in Premium and Limited trim, both with a 6-speed manual transmission as standard; a 6-speed automatic is available if you must. Safety enthusiasts will be happy to know Subaru’s EyeSight Driver Assist Technology is now available on the BRZ, but only with that automatic.
Thankfully, Subaru kept it rear-wheel-drive, resisting the urge to add AWD, and focused their efforts on stiffening up the chassis and sub-frame to get the most out of the MacPherson strut front and double wishbone rear suspension. Then, went a step further by applying Michelin Pilot Sport 4 summer performance tires on Limited trim BRZs.
Our usual slalom course at Mason Dixon Dragway was a piece of cake. Quick steering with adequate feel, and basically zero body roll. No understeer either, just dart-y in a good way, with a playful amount of oversteer that is a bit easier to coax with the throttle than before.
Holding that throttle steady at 4,000-RPM, with a graceful dump of the clutch sees a good launch off the line and a quick trip to 60 in 6.0-seconds flat. Not supercar quick, but that’s almost 2 seconds quicker than the last BRZ we tested, though that was an automatic. Still, Subaru claims even the auto is a second quicker than before. Both the shifter and the clutch are the best we’ve tried in a Subaru; good feel in the pedal, short throws and positive engagements through all gears.
It’s actually the gas pedal that feels a little soft and unresponsive initially, but once you’re moving and the engine is spinning faster, it’s a lot more reactive. Plenty of intake and exhaust noises, both of which sound surprisingly pleasant for a flat-4. Best ¼-mile time was 14.3-seconds at 99 miles-per-hour. Sporty cars need confidence inspiring brakes, and the BRZ’s felt terrific, stopping us from 60 in just 104-feet; with a nice firm pedal and great stability overall.
The new BRZ has the same basic shape as before, but wears a more aggressive face, has a smoother take on the double bubble roof concept, and there’s a little more attention to detail when it comes to aero; with comprehensive underbody panels, air extractors in the front fenders, and extended rockers. In back, an integrated deck-lid spoiler replaces the tacked-on wing of the previous gen, and looks much better.
The BRZ sits about as low as anything on the road, so it’s not the easiest of cars to get in and out of if you’ve lost your youthful limberness. But plenty of room for all shapes and sizes once you’re in the comfortable and supportive front seats; much less room in back, of course. A 7-inch digital driver display is new, as is an 8.0-inch touchscreen for Subaru’s Starlink infotainment; all a little more oriented to the driver.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings with the manual are 20-City, 27-Highway, and 22-Combined. We short-shifted our way to a great 27.1 miles-per-gallon of Premium. That’s an average Energy Impact Score, with yearly consumption of 13.5-barrels of oil, and emission of 6.6 tons of CO2.
The key to the BRZ’s continued success is of course attainable pricing, now starting at just $28,995; the automatic transmission adds $1,600 more.
It’s great when cars live up to our lofty expectations. The hard decision is not whether we’d want to own a BRZ or not; that’s a no brainer. The tough choice is whether or not we’d prefer the BRZ over its platform mate Toyota’s GR86. The 2022 Subaru BRZ is a throwback thrill to drive no matter the speed or the road you’re on; drive either one, and you’ll understand why they were our Drivers’ Choice pick for Best Sport Coupe of the year.
Engine: 2.4L flat-4
Torque: 184 lb-ft
0-60 mph: 6.0 seconds
1/4 Mile: 14.3 seconds at 99 mph
60-0 Stopping Distance: 104 feet
EPA: 20 City / 27 Highway / 22 Combined