News: 2022 Subaru BRZ Debuts With More Powerful (But Still Naturally-Aspirated) Engine

The new BRZ foreshadows the forthcoming Toyota 86, and the improvements look promising

Subaru officially announced the new BRZ Wednesday after weeks of teasers. We speculated where exactly the Japanese automatic (and Toyota with the 86, by extension), including how much more power we’d see in this generation. In short: It’s not as big a jump as we expected. Overall, the 2022 Subaru BRZ sports plenty of impactful changes over the previous model, but that boxer engine isn’t on another planet.

In fact, the sports coupe did get a 2.4-liter engine shared with the Ascent and other Subaru models. Unlike those cars, however, it is not turbocharged. Subaru decided to stick with a naturally-aspirated powerplant, putting out 228 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. That’s about a 10-15% improvement over the old car, but not as much as some enthusiasts were hoping. Subaru claims a 50% bump in torsional rigidity which ought to improve handling, but otherwise the specs look fairly similar, even with the shift to Subaru’s new “Global Platform”.

Styling changes

The 2022 Subaru BRZ isn’t a radical departure in terms of proportions from its predecessor. It’s about about an inch longer, and rides on a 0.2-inch longer wheelbase. It’s still a rear-wheel drive sports coupe with a long hood housing that boxer engine, but proportions were not the old car’s issue. The problem was that the car looked old after a decade, and Subaru did put some thought into the exterior design. The portions between the A and C-pillars look similar. However, the front and rear clip have seen dramatic updates, and it looks much more modern for it.

On the “base” Premium trim, you get 215/45 R17 tires as standard equipment. The top-spec Limited, on the other hand, gets lower profile tires (also 215 millimeter width, though) wrapped around 18-inch wheels. Despite the nips, tucks and tweaks, Subaru says it managed to keep the BRZ’s curb weight under 2,900 pounds. So while there’s little more power than before, at least it doesn’t have to lug a bunch more weight around.

Interior updates

For the most part, the 2022 Subaru BRZ also received an update where it most desperately needed it: the interior. A new 8.0-inch infotainment system is front and center. It looks like a more cohesive part of the design, while Subaru also refined the climate control knobs and switches. The most impactful change for the driver, though, is a 7.0-inch fully digital gauge cluster. Limited models with the automatic transmission get Subaru’s EyeSight system, while heated seats are still part of the equation for this new BRZ as well.

A six-speed manual transmission still comes as standard fare, as if Subaru could sell this enthusiast-minded car without it. A six-speed automatic transmission is also still an option. What’s more, picking that option won’t ding you in the torque department, though it may be more difficult to pull off the drifts Subaru shows in their media photos.

On sale in fall 2021

If you were expecting a dramatic overhaul, the 2022 Subaru BRZ isn’t a completely new model. It received updates where it counts, but you will need to temper your expectations with a car that, in 2019, sold just 2,334 units in the U.S. Still, if you liked the old BRZ, then this one appears to hit the same points while refining the overall formula.

We’ll have some more time to stew on it, as the 2022 Subaru BRZ won’t go on sale until next fall. Pricing isn’t available, but the previous generation car sold for slightly under $29,000. There’s no word yet on the Toyota 86, but we should see news on that fairly soon now that Subaru’s twin has debuted.