2022 Subaru BRZ in RI

22 blue subaru brz side view

Overview

Some folks look at driving as a pleasurable pursuit – a skill to hone and revel in – as opposed to just a way of getting around. The Subaru BRZ is the car for them. This rear-wheel-drive coupe, the only Subaru without standard AWD, satisfies that class of drivers with its nimble handling, powerful engine, and tech abundant interior. Model year 2022 is especially exciting: the BRZ has been redesigned with some significant upgrades, starting with a new and more powerful 2.4-liter four-cylinder BOXER engine. This four-seater also boasts a retuned suspension that’s had its merits tested on the track, plus upgraded performance brakes, wheels, and tires and a refreshed cockpit with more intuitive instruments and controls. Although the standard fully synchronized close-ratio six-speed manual transmission is a must-have for the most hands-on drivers, a reengineered six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters and manual mode is optional.

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Trims and Powertrain

Both trim levels – the Premium and Limited – have the same powertrain, an all-new 2.4-liter four-cylinder BOXER engine that produces 228 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque. The BRZ uses Subaru’s only rear-wheel drivetrain for the true feel of a performance car. As mentioned, a six-speed manual transmission is standard, but a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters is offered. The manual versions return an EPA-estimated 20 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway, while automatics are rated for 21 city/30 highway.


Standard Features and Packages

The Premium earns its name with heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob with red accents, LED headlights, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated side mirrors, keyless entry and ignition, and high-performance summer tires on 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels finished in high-luster gray. It also has a 7-inch configurable digital gauge cluster with Normal, Sport, and Track modes. The Limited’s upgrades range from steering-responsive LED headlights and Ultrasuede-and-leather seats with red leather bolsters to 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with a dark-gray matte finish wearing Michelin Pilot 4 summer tires. An auto-dimming rearview mirror with a HomeLink universal garage door opener is optional on either trim.


Safety and Technology

Another change with this redesign is that the Subaru EyeSight Driver Assist Technology suite is being offered on the BRZ for the first time. Its features include advanced adaptive cruise control with lane centering, pre-collision braking, lane departure and sway warning, and lane keep assist. Buyers can also add automatic high beams to both trims, but only the Limited can be ordered with reverse automatic braking. The Limited also gets standard blind-spot detection with lane change assist and rear cross-traffic alert, although the Subaru STARLINK Safety and Security system comes standard on both.

The multimedia setup in the Premium and Limited consists of a refreshed STARLINK infotainment system, which can be controlled via its 8-inch touchscreen or voice-activated controls. The system’s main features are smartphone integration (Apple CarPlay and Android Auto), SiriusXM satellite radio, HD radio, Bluetooth audio streaming and hands-free phone use, text messaging assistance, and an eight-speaker sound system.


Subaru BRZ vs. Toyota GR86

The lightweight coupe certainly doesn’t appear to be going out of style, as is evidenced by the Subaru BRZ and the Toyota GR86, which have both been redesigned for model year 2022. These rear-drive track titans reemerge with a new engine, sharpened good looks, notable chassis and suspension upgrades, and improved interiors loaded with lots of user-friendly amenities. The BRZ and GR86 might seem identical on the surface, but both brands have their devotees. The Subaru-branded BRZ has unique allure with its distinct front end and specialized suspension. But then again, maybe Toyota’s rich racing heritage and rock-solid reputation are more your speed. Let’s see how these two birds of a feather compare in the nitty gritty details.

Style: A Personal Preference

Design-wise, the all-new 2022 versions of the BRZ and GR86 are clearly kin. They both show off the same low-profile stance, cascading roofline, and prominent rear end. But despite their obvious similarities, the differences among the BRZ and GR86 can be picked out when you look at the cars head on. The BRZ’s front-end is distinguished by a long, horizontal grille that narrows toward the bottom, giving off the impression that it’s smiling. The GR86’s is sort of the opposite. Its fascia looks meaner with a smaller, more rectangular mesh grille that tapers ever so slightly toward the top (if you see pictures of the two side-by-side, you’ll know exactly what we’re talking about).

These differences are also apparent from the side view. Although the BRZ and GR86 share the same streamlined side profile, look closer and you’ll notice that the BRZ’s face rounds out a bit more than the GR86’s, which is more angular. So, when it comes down to looks, personal preference is what will end up swaying you. If you favor a smoother, more cheery-looking face, you may want to opt for the BRZ. If you’re more attracted to the aggressive appearance, though, Toyota’s GR86 might be the one that grabs you.

Performance and Handling

Under the hood, the ’22 BRZ and GR86 have the same 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine; it produces 228 hp and 184 lb.-ft. of torque, which is a substantial power increase over the outgoing versions of both models. Both can be ordered with Michelin Pilot 4 summer performance tires and a convenient six-speed automatic transmission – although most rear-drive coupe buyers will lean toward the swift six-speed stick shift, if they are driving purists.

Where these two models diverge mechanically is in the suspension specs. The BRZ’s rear suspension has been revised this year, whereas the GR86’s remains similar to the one used in the previous generation of BRZ. The BRZ’s now comes with a rear stabilizer bar that’s mounted to the body, and since the GR86’s is a carryover, its rear stabilizer bar is instead mounted to the subframe. Also, while the two have a near perfect weight balance and a standard Torsen limited-slip rear differential, the BRZ’s front suspension has aluminum knuckles, which help improve unsprung weight. The GR86’s front knuckles are made of steel, which are weightier and susceptible to rusting.