New-generation sports coupe gains power boost and more tech… but no turbo.
The 2022 Subaru BRZ has been officially unveiled, after months of rumours and teasers.
Let’s start with the information every car enthusiast has been waiting for: powering the new BRZ – and likely the next-generation Toyota 86 – is a 2.4-litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder ‘boxer’ engine. You read that right: no turbocharger to be found here.
Subaru’s estimated outputs (as final figures have yet to be locked in) are rated at 170kW of power and 249Nm of torque – up 18kW/37Nm over manual versions of the existing model, or 23kW/44Nm compared with outgoing automatic variants.
MORE: 2022 Subaru BRZ and Toyota 86 due in the second half of 2021
Drive is still fed to the rear wheels through the same choice of six-speed manual or six-speed torque-converter automatic transmissions, though the self-shifter gains a “refined” Sport mode that holds higher gears and delivers snappier shifts.
It’s not clear whether the new BRZ has adopted a new platform for 2021, but given the carry-over glasshouse and largely identical proportions to the current car, we’d wager it retains the existing model’s nearly-nine-year-old chassis.
It seems clear, however, that Subaru and Toyota have at least taken steps to dramatically advance the architecture of the new BRZ and 86 coupes.
Dimensionally, the new Subaru BRZ measures in at 4265mm long, 1775mm wide and 1311mm high, with a 2576mm wheelbase – 25mm longer, 13mm lower and 6mm longer in wheelbase than the current model, but identical in width.
MORE: 2022 Toyota 86 spy photos
Under the skin, Subaru claims a 50 per cent increase in torsional stiffness, and 60 per cent greater front lateral bending rigidity, thanks to a range of structural tweaks including “inner frame construction” and new adhesives.
Aluminium has been used in the roof, front guards and bonnet to balance out the wight penalty associated with the larger 2.4-litre engine, while the aforementioned structural upgrades promise to contribute to “optimised weight layout and lower centre of gravity”.
Filling the arches of the high-spec example shown here are 18-inch alloy wheels (up from 17-inch units on entry-level models), identical in design to those fitted to flagship versions of the Toyota GR Yaris hot hatch.
They’re wrapped in sticky Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres – a marked improvement over the eco-friendly tyres shared with the Toyota Prius that were fitted to BRZs and 86s at launch in 2012, signifying a focus on grip and handling for the new-generation model.
Independent suspension still features front and rear, with MacPherson struts up front and a double wishbone design at the rear. No rear-wheel steering is on offer, contrary to recent internet speculation. A limited-slip differential is standard-fit.
The new BRZ opts for an evolution, rather than revolution, over its predecessor in the design department. Up front there’s an all-new fascia, featuring a low, hexagonal grille flanked by black side intakes and LED headlights.
Down the side, changes include reshaped, more muscular side skirts and front quarter-panel vents, while at the rear, restyled LED tail-lights connected by a full-width trim piece are integrated into a new bootlid, which features an inbuilt lip spoiler. Dual exhaust tips also feature.
Inside, upgrades over the outgoing BRZ are more significant, with a larger 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto now integrated into the dashboard.
Drivers look into a 7.0-inch digital instrument display – the layout of which is configurable between normal and Track modes, each mode varying the car’s five-stages stability control system – and sit in leather and suede-trimmed sports seats with red accents.
The BRZ’s safety credentials have seen a notable upgrade, with the addition of Subaru’s EyeSight active safety suite and systems such as autonomous emergency braking and adaptive cruise control. However, these features are exclusive to six-speed automatic models, with manual variants likely to miss out.
Greater use of high-tensile steel and “enhanced passenger protection systems” have also improved the car’s passive crash safety.
UPDATE, 19/11/20, 9:25am: Since our story was published, Subaru’s US arm has confirmed kerb weights for the new BRZ. Entry-level manual models on 17-inch wheels weigh in at 1277kg, while flagship automatic variants on 18-inch wheels cap out at 1307kg.
Click any of the photos in this story to view our full gallery.
When will the new Subaru BRZ come to Australia?
While Subaru Australia has yet to confirm local arrival timing for the 2022 BRZ, previous coverage has indicated an Australian arrival in the second half of 2021 – likely alongside its Toyota-badged twin, rumoured to be badged GR 86, which has yet to be officially revealed.
MORE: BRZ news and reviews
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Below: the current Subaru BRZ
2022 Subaru BRZ officially unveiled, Australian launch confirmed