By Steve & Tamami Laser
The Subaru BRZ®, and its Toyota 86 sibling (previously called Scion FR-S), have been in production for more than eight years at Subaru’s Gunma plant in Japan. Like so many fans of these sporty coupes, we’ve been patiently waiting to see if a second generation will happen; how it could be improved, and when it might arrive.
With the official announcement of the upcoming 2022 models, we finally have some good news to report. “The second-generation Subaru BRZ was born in a joint development project with Toyota Motor Corporation in pursuit of the shared aspirations between the two companies for making ever-better cars,” Subaru said in a press release from Japan.
The global debut of the next-generation BRZ took place at the Thermal Club Raceway in Thermal, Calif. Subaru says that the 2022 models are planned to go on sale in the U.S. in early fall of 2021. (We expect Toyota to make an announcement in the near future regarding its product plans for the next 86).
The new BRZ gains a more powerful Boxer engine, improved handling, new styling, and a new interior. Longer, lower and riding on a slightly increased wheelbase, the rear-drive BRZ retains its sporty 2+2 silhouette. We really like the bold new look, with its wider and lower hexagon grille, air outlets behind the front fenders, side sills, and rear deck spoiler.
Subaru says the BRZ’s new body delivers a 60 percent increase in front lateral bending rigidity and 50 percent increase in torsional stiffness, contributing to improved handling and steering response. The roof, front fenders and hood are aluminum to help offset increased weight of a larger engine, and structural enhancements. Models equipped with new 18-inch alloy wheels offer Michelin® Pilot Sport 4 tires.
A new, naturally aspirated 2.4-liter 4-cylinder Boxer engine (with Toyota D-4S® injection) is initially rated at 228 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque. It replaces the 2.0-liter engine that put out 205 hp and 156 lb.-ft. (with M/T). Transmission choices include a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic with paddle shifters and Sport mode. A limited-slip rear differential is standard.
The driver-focused cabin features a horizontal-style instrument panel, low meter hood, and display screen mounted in the center stack, for an unobstructed view of the road ahead. Subaru plans to offer Premium and Limited trim levels for U.S. market models.
In keeping with BRZ’s ultra-low center of gravity, light weight and sporting potential, the driver and front passenger are treated to deeply contoured bucket seats for enhanced support. The 2+2 seating design features folding rear seats that increase cargo space when carrying long or bulky items inside the car.
A new 7-inch digital instrument cluster places the tachometer in the middle with an integrated digital speedometer in its center. A programmable meter to the left can display a g-meter, amps, or temperature. When the driver selects Track mode, the tach changes to a linear graph for easy viewing.
The BRZ’s available 8-inch touchscreen display includes Subaru Starlink™ multimedia, Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™ smartphone connectivity, Bluetooth®, and SiriusXM®. Subaru’s EyeSight Driver Assist technology is included on models fitted with the automatic transmission.
Note: Prototype models are shown in this story. Features, specifications and launch timing for future U.S. market production models are subject to change without notice.
News source and photos courtesy of Subaru of America, Inc., and Subaru Corp.
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