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Road test | 2022 Subaru BRZ: All Is Not Lost

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Faced with the advent of SUVs, electric vehicles and semi-autonomous driving, the enthusiast of traditional sports cars can undoubtedly feel lonely. This race of vehicles is pushed towards the exit door by consumption standards, but also by its low popularity which hardly justifies its existence in the eyes of shareholders. There are nevertheless some, including the Subaru BRZ, which keep this precious torch burning. The rear-drive coupé has been completely revised for 2022, promising to have retained or even improved its fundamentals.

Design


PHOTO PROVIDED BY SUBARU

On a strictly aesthetic level, the BRZ remains a reference in terms of proportions.

Just look at this BRZ co-developed with Toyota near a compact to see how small the object is. Measuring nearly 4.3m long and 1.3m high, the coupe is 37cm shorter and 10cm lower than a Honda Civic. Its wheelbase has been slightly increased by 5 mm for this new generation, apparently to enhance its stability. On a strictly aesthetic level, the BRZ remains a reference in terms of proportions. The low hood lined with fender bulges makes the transition to raised and curved rear fenders by means of a fairly low body line. The front headlights have a more harmonious design than before, as do the rear lights which fit more naturally into the curves of the bodywork. The keen eye will also notice the presence of “bubbles” on the roof above the driver and his passenger, a detail inspired by certain vintage racing cars.

On board


PHOTO PROVIDED BY SUBARU

The interior of the 2022 Subaru BRZ

This second generation BRZ essentially uses the ingredients of the first generation here while modernizing the rendering somewhat. The curved lines give way to taut lines, thus multiplying the rectangular shapes. To break this recurrence, the designers have integrated circular nozzles as well as round wheel controls. Note the immense attention paid to ergonomics. All the keys are visible and arise naturally under the hand, but there are some average quality plastics around the console which will quickly streak. The multimedia screen is also well incorporated into the layout. Despite its great overall qualities, this cabin is nevertheless particularly cramped. Headroom, slightly reduced compared to its predecessor, can be problematic for passengers and drivers over 6 feet tall. The rear seats play a role of figuration, as they are inhospitable.

Under the hood


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The 2.4L flat-four in the 2022 Subaru BRZ

Subaru and Toyota have finally listened to the complaints of many in connection with the lack of performance of the old mechanics. Gone is the 2.0L four-cylinder and welcome to an all-new, still flat, 2.4L four-cylinder. ft is accessible much faster (3700 rpm compared to 6400 rpm for the previous engine). Behind the wheel, it’s downright day and night. Finished the hollow previously perceptible at mid-range, this engine climbs gradually and linearly to the switch which interferes in the exercise at only 7500 rev / min. Married to a six-speed manual gearbox equipped with a lever with precise guidance and just enough mechanical feeling, this mill gives much more panache to this BRZ. Its biggest shortcoming is its consumption, which is around 10.5 L/100 km. That’s high for a naturally aspirated four-cylinder.

Behind the wheel


PHOTO PROVIDED BY SUBARU

This Japanese sports car is extraordinarily slender with a magnificent steering curve.

This BRZ is nevertheless defined first by its chassis, which has been hailed many times for its expressiveness. The focus is on front end stiffness for 2022, increased laterally by 60% in concert with increased platform torsional stiffness by 50%. This theoretically favors its ease on corner entry and it shows. The Japanese sports car is extraordinarily slender, with a magnificent steering curve. Each additional steering angle results in an applied correction of its positioning while interacting with the rear axle, which can hunt at times in a well-controlled waltz. During this time, it remains firmly glued to the asphalt by means of good shoes, Michelin Pilot Sport 4s. roughness and soundproofing of the running gear is basic.

Embedded technologies


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The 8-inch touchscreen multimedia system is standard equipment on this BRZ.

No doubt to preserve the low bill and focus its energies on the driving experience, this BRZ only has to do with the current current which puts technological elements in the foreground. The livery tested had no adaptive cruise control to offer, a feature reserved for the automatic version. The simplicity of the infotainment system is nevertheless to be welcomed. The construction of the menus is intelligible and it also does not require too much attention to make common manipulations. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also present. The digital display instrumentation is also very pleasant to consult with its circular tachometer which includes the speedometer. Sport mode changes the presentation for a horizontal tachometer that is not always easy to read because of its gradation. For the rest, note the very ordinary sound quality of the optional audio system.

The verdict


PHOTO PROVIDED BY SUBARU

This 2022 Subaru BRZ is a great achievement.

No doubt this second generation of the Subaru BRZ is a great opus. The sportswoman spreads a greater understanding while arriving even better at distilling the sensations. Its atmospheric engine, which now revs to a crescendo, plays a major role in this achievement. Its chassis is also sharper without being sucked in by the ambition of performance at all costs. Because, here, it’s not the numbers that matter, but rather the smile that the driver sketches as he knits on his favorite winding road. All this at an entry price of $31,530. No, it is not made for everyone, this BRZ, which limits its practicality for balance, but while it is still alive, let us salute its contribution much greater than its physical footprint. A great achievement, at the height of his aspirations, finally!

Notebook

Lots of power without supercharging

Producing 228 hp, the BRZ’s 2.4L four-cylinder is just 9 hp behind that of the last generation Honda S2000 (2009), which had an inline configuration and 2.2L displacement. The Subaru’s torque is significantly more provided at 184 lb-ft compared to 162 lb-ft for the Honda, which has long been a benchmark for naturally aspirated power. Interestingly, both have roughly the same weight (around 1300 kg).

Partially simulated sound

This new engine is certainly less rough than the 2 L it replaces, but its sound is not excessively gripping. The engineers therefore opted to incorporate a simulated higher-rpm overlay that isn’t too distracting, but the notes emitted aren’t very harmonious either.

Automatic transmission also available

For customers less won over by the manual gearbox, this BRZ is also offered with a six-speed automatic transmission that synchronizes the revs in downshifting. Interestingly, it produces slower acceleration than the manual, a 0-100 km/h in 6.6 s compared to 6.1 s.

A slightly more expensive cousin

The Toyota GR 86 is listed at $33,809 starting price, a few thousand dollars more than the BRZ with which it shares a number of components, including the platform and mechanics. The two differ aesthetically as well as in the adjustment of the suspension elements.

To waltz well

In addition to its light weight, the coupé receives the contribution of a Torsen limited-slip rear differential as standard, which makes it possible to constantly adjust the rotation speed of the rear wheels for smooth and playful road behavior.

Technical sheet

  • Model tested: 2022 Subaru BRZ Sport-Tech
  • Engine: 2.4L H4 DOHC
  • Power: 228 hp at 7000 rpm
  • Torque: 184 lb-ft at 3700 rpm
  • Transmission: six-speed manual
  • Engine architecture: longitudinal front engine, rear-wheel drive
  • Consumption (EnerGuide): 10.5 L/100 km (premium gasoline)
  • Price (with options, transport and preparation): $34,220
  • Competitors: Chevrolet Camaro (four-cylinder), Ford Mustang (four-cylinder) and Mazda MX-5
  • New in 2022? : New generation



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