The Subaru BRZ is redesigned for the 2022 model year bringing enthusiasts many desirable changes making it a more cohesive affordable rear-wheel-drive sports car.
The Subaru BRZ, along with its Toyota GR86 counterpart, have been trendsetters for the automotive market where it serves up a rarity in having a fun rear-wheel-drive sports car that doesn’t break the bank. In my many reviews of the outgoing Subaru BRZ and Toyota 86 I’ve always wanted just a little more out of the small sports car. It seems Subaru and Toyota were listening on their joint venture in making the two low-slung sports coupes by first giving it a new 2.4-liter 4-cylinder boxer (horizontally opposed) engine over the outgoing 2.0-liter.
What the new engine does for the Subaru BRZ is give it a much need power boost but still without any literal boost by retaining its naturally aspirated character but now produces 228 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque sent to the rear wheels through either a 6-speed manual transmission or a 6-speed automatic with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters as found in my test vehicle.
The added power is delightful as the engine no longer gives out of breath from around 4,000 rpm onto the redline at around 7,400 rpm. The 2.4-liter boxer pulls decently and fills the powerband with an exploitable grunt followed by somewhat of a smoother growl. The extra power is enough to break the rear wheels loose at times and induce fun little drifts after going into the track mode to disable the traction and stability control. There’s still a slight coarseness to the BRZ when you rev the engine but now all that fuss is followed up with more usable power.
Having that extra fun thanks to the added power doesn’t just stop with the new engine but translates into a more responsive and communicative vehicle thanks to upgraded high-performance wheels, tires, and brakes. The tires are no longer those eco-friendly no-gripping rubber. Now, the BRZ gets proper Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires wrapping 18-inch alloy wheels for the top Limited trim (17-inch are standard for the base BRZ Premium trim). The steering is still quick and super sharp but more forgiving. The only issue I have is the BRZ doesn’t return to center as I think it should where it may wander a bit to either direction forcing you to purposely track it straight. Otherwise, the BRZ is much improved for its chassis dynamics through more rigidity and overall balance with a refinement that makes you feel more comfortable tossing it around. Moreover, the slightly lower body and an inch in added length over the outgoing model make the new 2022 BRZ feel more connected and stable out on the road.
There’s more refinement overall in the new Subaru BRZ, something that makes it feel well worth its price of admission over the outgoing model years. The BRZ is more special, and you feel a bit more special with the extra power that’s joined by a redesigned body that looks sleeker and more premium. The side fenders still give you a reference point for where the front wheels land, but the new styling elevates the maturity of the BRZ where it looks more Toyota-ish, which in the Toyota 86 it looks more at home in the branding lineup. The BRZ, on the other hand, slightly departs from its Subaru siblings for the brand’s design language, and that’s okay because it’s the only rear-wheel-drive vehicle from the brand. The updated LED lighting at the rear and the adaptive LED headlights up front all play to a new near-premium theme for the BRZ, and enthusiasts like me welcome it.
Inside, the new Subaru BRZ is restyled for the redesigned model year featuring a simpler layout of the dashboard and controls. There’s a new 7-inch digital instrument cluster that changes its configuration with the track drive mode. The latest Subaru Starlink infotainment system is more simplistic and features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration fed through an 8-inch touchscreen that sits just above the dual-zone automatic climate controls. The audio system still sounds like it’s a pair of cheap bass-lacking speakers being echoed through a tin can. Also, I’m not a fan of the smallish steering wheel buttons to control the audio, phone features, and digital instrument cluster.
One of the more surprising additions to the new 2022 BRZ is Subaru’s EyeSight driver-assist system that’s now available on both trims of the BRZ with the manual transmission but standard for automatic transmission-equipped vehicles. The latest EyeSight brings a bevy of active safety features for helping to mitigate front collisions, maintain your lane, and optimize the adaptive cruise control. There’s also a blind-spot monitor, high beam assist, and reverse automatic braking. Having such features on the new BRZ also helps elevate its newfound premium feel and value.
The seats remain to be quite sporty and supportive with a welcoming look to fit the sporty theme of the BRZ. The accented red stitching and cloth inserts all conform to the sports car premise. The rear seats, which are basically useless for anyone besides a very small child or a smaller child car seat, fold down to add space to the otherwise small 6.3 cubic feet of cargo space in the trunk.
Subaru, in the joint efforts with Toyota, has done well to improve upon just about every area on the BRZ for a more complete sports car package. Such a package remains attractive at a price starting at just $27,995, something unheard of for such a fun rear-wheel-drive vehicle. My Subaru BRZ Limited automatic transmission test vehicle comes in at the price of $33,255 including a $960 destination charge.