With the first generation model having been on the market from 2013 to 2021, the 2022 Subaru BRZ Sport-tech was certainly in need of a bit of an overhaul. Built in partnership with Toyota, who have their own very similar GR86, the BRZ’s second generation is starting to hit showrooms right around now. Although the platform isn’t new from the ground up, there are a multitude of changes that aim to make enough of a difference to catch plenty of attention in the car enthusiast world.
What’s New for 2022
The main thing that’s new for this year is more displacement for the boxer four-cylinder engine. Going from 2.0 to 2.4-litres, peak output goes from 205 horsepower to 228, both of which happen at a lofty 7,000RPM. The key improvement here is peak torque, which goes from 156 pound-feet at 6,400RPM to 184 pound-feet at a much lower 3,700RPM. Unlike other Subaru products, the BRZ is rear-wheel drive only – as a sports car should be.
Having all that extra torque at a lower RPM pays huge dividends in both day-to-day driving and more spirited driving, including in a motorsports scenario. From idle to redline, the 2022 BRZ is now happy to be in any part of the rev range and pulls hard in all gears. Thankfully, the character of the engine towards redline is still alive and well, and the extra torque gives way to strong thrust as you approach the 7,500 RPM redline.
Fundamentally, the second generation Subaru BRZ shares the same philosophy as its predecessor. Low curb weight, a low centre of gravity (that’s even lower than the last car), and precise handling remain the name of the game. Torsional rigidity has increased by fifty percent, and weight distribution is once again superbly close to 50/50. A pure sports car experience was the intention, in a similar vein to what Mazda does with the MX-5 roadster.
Handling and precise inputs were notable positive traits of the last car, and the 2022 Subaru BRZ takes it up an extra notch or two. The steering is weighted perfectly and the overall feel is among the best out of any new car sold today – at any price point. The Sport-tech’s 215/40R18 Michelin Pilot Sport 4 summer-only tires provide an ample amount of grip without excessive noise or harshness – the BRZ’s gauge cluster reported lateral g-forces peaking at the 1.0g mark in spirited driving.
When pushing the Subaru up to its limits, there’s a very neutral feel going on. Oversteer and understeer aren’t words in the BRZ’s lexicon, unless you enter into a corner ridiculously hot (understeer), or if you request the back end to slide out with excess throttle application (oversteer). For everything in between, it’s a fast car for fast drivers and still delivers on the driving pleasure when not hustling hard. Ride quality is improved over the previous car, which makes using a BRZ in daily life a little more comfortable than before.
The six-speed manual transmission’s shifter features positive and accurate engagement with minimal slop, and you’d be hard pressed to make a mistake when selecting a gear. The clutch is a bit of an oddity, however: the return spring on the clutch pedal doesn’t quite match the engagement point, so it can be a bit of a song and dance to drive the BRZ smoothly. There’s also a bit of rev hang in between gears when shifting below 3,000 rpm – that is, the revs seem to freeze where they are in between shifts rather than falling right away, which means that drivers must take more time in between shifts when taking it easy. Above 3,000 rpm and when pushing the 2.4-litre engine through the middle and upper rev range, it’s a non-issue.
For Dads: The 2022 Subaru BRZ and Baby Duty
While most 2022 Subaru BRZ buyers aren’t going to buy them as a family car, there could always be a select few who do, and a select many more who have to haul precious cargo on an infrequent basis. There are four seats available for passengers, but generally speaking, the rear seats are minimally usable unless the front seat occupants are vertically challenged and have their seats rolled forward.
Even so, the BRZ has LATCH/ISOFIX child seat anchors in the two rear seating positions, including top tether anchors for forward-facing seats. In order to give the child seat enough clearance to operate properly in the event of a crash, the passenger side rear seating position is really the only practical place to install a child seat. When doing this, the front passenger seat needs to be moved forward such that it is practically useless.
With a good amount of contortion, rear-facing seat installation was successful, although parents should keep an eye out as to whether or not the base of the car seat sits fully within the bucket of the seat bottom. Loading up your child may be another story, too. Smaller children will have to be lifted in and more contortion is required to secure them in place, and older children may be able to climb in by themselves, their muddy shoes notwithstanding.
Bottom line? Yes, a kid will fit the BRZ, and by association, the Toyota GR86. This is great for daycare or school dropoffs, or weekend outings in a fun sports car. It would serve well to introduce children to the wild and fun world of being a car enthusiast – don’t plan on packing a stroller.
Dollars and Sense
The base 2022 Subaru BRZ with manual transmission starts off at $29,495 Canadian before taxes and fees, which is an impressive number given today’s inflation and car shortages (don’t be surprised if there are increases for the 2023 model year). The lower trim comes standard with an 8-inch touch screen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, SiriusXM satellite radio, LED headlights and taillights, proximity key with pushbutton start, and automatic dual-zone climate control.
The Sport-tech comes in at $32,495 with the manual and is the as-tested model you see pictured here. The Sport-tech ups the wheel diameter from 17 to 18-inches, the front seats are heated and get synthetic suede inserts with red stitching, the headlights are upgraded to the steering-responsive swivelling variety, there’s a blind spot monitoring system, as well as a rear cross-traffic alert system.
Buyers more inclined to go with an automatic transmission will have to cough up $31,895 for the base, or $34,895 for the Sport-tech. Automatic cars get the benefit of Subaru’s EyeSight safety system, which includes, among other things, forward collision warnings with automatic braking, lane departure warning with lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, and automatic high beams.
2022 Subaru BRZ: Bottom Line
Suppose you’re already an owner of a first-generation Subaru BRZ (or Toyota 86 or Scion FR-S). In that case, the 2022 Subaru BRZ (or its Toyota GR86 twin) will be a relatively evolutionary update, rather than a revolutionary one. That said, there are a multitude of chassis, handling, and engine upgrades that make it a very worthwhile choice either way, and it’s surprisingly livable. It’s one of the most fun cars that money can buy, even when compared to six-figure sports and supercars. The BRZ’s pure driving experience is an incredible one and will be looked back upon very fondly once the world moves onto and embraces electrification.