Despite the overwhelming popularity of SUVs and pickups, North American consumers still show interest in affordable sports cars, as evidenced by the continued success of the Mazda MX-5 and the upcoming redesign of the Nissan Z, which has generated plenty of buzz on social media since the reveal of the prototype.
Want more proof? Subaru has no plans to let its compact sports coupe die anytime soon. As a matter of fact, a second generation is on the way. Recently unveiled for the 2022 model year, it will go on sale next year—and inevitably be followed by its mechanical twin, the Toyota 86.
Slightly longer and lower than its predecessor, emphasized by more muscular fenders and a narrowed greenhouse, the new Subaru BRZ is still instantly recognizable. There are functional side vents that reduce drag by ducting air from under the hood and fenders. The released air is directed to a side sill spoiler that creates downforce at speed.
Inside, sport bucket seats with side bolsters and red stitching are accompanied by a new customizable seven-inch digital dashboard allowing drivers to display the relevant information they want to see. In Track mode, the tachometer automatically shifts to a linear graph with a colour display. Over to the middle of the dashboard, the new eight-inch infotainment touchscreen is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Then you have SUBARU STARLINK Connected Services providing real-time assistance and enabling remote monitoring and control of many vehicle functions,
All of this is nice, for sure, but sports car enthusiasts will likely care more about the technical improvements that have been made to the 2022 Subaru BRZ. First, the centre of gravity is even lower than before, while the aluminum hood, roof and fenders help reduce weight to just 1,277 kilograms (2,815 pounds).
Next, the chassis is 50 percent stiffer and the wheelbase is stretched to 2,575 millimetres in order to enhance stability and handling. This is combined with a more responsive steering system featuring a quicker 13.5:1 ratio. Additionally, the Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires provide even more bite and control.
Naturally, the BRZ retains a rear-wheel drive configuration, but more power is now put to the ground. The 205-horsepower, 2.0-litre engine has been replaced by a larger 2.4-litre unit producing 228 horsepower. Torque is also up, from 156 to 184 pound-feet. By the way, those 228 horses are fully unleashed at 7,000 rpm, so prepare to make that new engine scream.
Subaru has yet to announce 0-100 km/h acceleration times, which will certainly be quicker, but we do know that the six-speed manual gearbox is back along with an improved six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters and downshift rev-matching.
Finally, the BRZ will be available with the Subaru EyeSight system for the first time. This suite of safety technology includes features like Automatic Pre-Collision Braking, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure and Sway Warning, Lane-keep Assist and more.
Next summer on the road promises to be fun!