- Performance is better for generation two
- Interior more comfortable and high tech
- Sublime handling is even better than gen one
- Manuals miss out on most safety tech like AEB
- Rear seat is still largely unusable
- Expensive service costs
Together with its Toyota 86 twin, the Subaru BRZ has been charged with reinvigorating the affordable rear-wheel drive sports coupe. Since their global release in 2012, both cars have created a new generation of petrolheads thanks to their sublime chassis and affordable pricing. But 10 years on, they needed a little updating. Subaru knew this and has now released the new 2022 Subaru BRZ Coupe, which is due to hit showrooms very soon.
While its Toyota 86 twin has also been revealed, Toyota Australia is yet to confirm local arrival timing, giving Subaru the upper hand. With the first allocation of 500 cars already spoken for, should you put your order in for the new BRZ, hold off for the new Toyota 86 or buy something else altogether? We attended the car’s Australian media launch event at the sublime Sydney Motorsport Park to find out.
Price & Equipment:
The 2022 Subaru BRZ Coupe range is offered in two models: the base car (known simply as BRZ) fitted with the standard six-speed manual is priced at $38,990 plus on road costs (roughly $42,500 drive away – the six-speed automatic is $42,790 +ORC or around $46,000 drive away). It is worth noting that the price has only increased by $450 over the outgoing model even though there has been the addition of more tech.
The base car is well equipped and its standard equipment list includes 18-inch alloy wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres, a full-sized alloy spare wheel, cloth bucket seats, a leather steering wheel and gearknob, an 8.0-inch touchscreen, wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, satellite navigation, digital radio, a six-speaker sound system, a part-digital driver’s display, keyless entry and push button start, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, automatic all-LED lighting, a rear fog light and heated and electric-folding mirrors.
For $1,200 more, the BRZ S adds part-suede and leather sports bucket seats with heating. Available colours on the BRZ include ‘WR Blue’, ‘Sapphire Blue’, ‘Crystal Black’, ‘Ignition Red’, ‘Magnetite Grey’, ‘Ice Silver’ and ‘Crystal White’ – best of all, they all incur no extra cost.
Safety equipment includes seven airbags, tyre pressure monitoring, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, lane change assist, rear parking sensors and a reversing camera. Disappointingly for manual drivers, the automatic adds auto emergency braking (AEB), auto high beam, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and automatic rear braking.
Toyota has not released Australian pricing and models just yet so we will have to wait to see how the twins compare with their value equation. The Mazda MX-5 starts at $37,690 plus on road costs for an entry level 2.0-litre model. This is roughly $1,500 less than the entry level 2022 Subaru BRZ although it is worth noting that the Subaru BRZ has a lot more standard equipment than the Mazda MX-5 – though the Mazda’s safety kit is superior.
Performance & Economy:
The 2022 Subaru BRZ Coupe debuts a new engine for the Subaru range. Known as ‘FA24’ (not to be confused with the previous model’s FA20 engine code) the new engine in the BRZ is a 2.4-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine in the horizontal ‘boxer’ layout that Subaru is known for. It has 22% more torque than the previous model (250Nm at 3,700rpm) and 19kW more power (174kW at 7,000rpm). According to Subaru, the 2.4-litre engine is an all-new engine and isn’t just the old FA20 bored out to 2.4-litres.
Paired with either a close ratio six-speed manual or a six-speed torque converter automatic transmission, the BRZ sends power through solely the rear wheels. Helping put power to the ground is a mechanical limited slip differential.
There is a lot more mid range torque in the 2022 Subaru BRZ compared to the previous model and you definitely feel the extra 20kW of power from behind the wheel. The engine also gives off a more muscular note than the previous 2.0-litre, which is aided by an active sound enhancer which plays engine noises through the speakers.
The six-speed manual is a joy to use, there is a tight throw from gear to gear and the clutch is very easy to gauge and get used to. Interestingly, 60 per cent of the first allocation of BRZs have been ordered in manual, which makes it the more popular gearbox. The automatic has paddle shifters behind the steering wheel and auto blip downshifts, it shifts smoothly and makes for a very relaxing experience, although it’s clearly less engaging than the manual.
The claimed average fuel consumption for the 2022 Subaru BRZ manual transmission is 9.5L/100km and the automatic is rated at 8.8L/100km. Interestingly, this is one litre per 100km more than the previous model used. We weren’t able to get a rating as most of our time at the launch was spent at the track, but we will get a BRZ through the DiscoverAuto garage soon. The BRZ requires 98RON fuel and has a 50-litre fuel tank.
Ride & Handling:
The ride of a sports car can be very hard to get right. Some manufacturers go down the route of making it too firm to then aid in the handling department but Subaru might have made the perfect mixture of firmness and comfort for a daily driver sports car. The BRZ rides well for a sports car, it is on the firmer side but it’s entirely comfortable. Helping this daily driver ability further is reasonable visibility and road noise that isn’t too loud.
One of the biggest improvements for the 2022 Subaru BRZ over the previous model is the way it handles, which is largely due to the standard 18-inch wheels that are wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres – the previous car had 17-inch wheels wrapped in standard Michelin Primacy tyres. The sticky rubber means the new BRZ is less tail happy than the previous model but much more grippy in the corners. The steering is feelsome and well-weighted, and the handling is sublime thanks to a grippy chassis and a perfect 50:50 weight distribution.
Interior & Practicality:
While the drivetrain has ushered in performance upgrades, the cabin of the 2022 Subaru BRZ is also much more inviting than the model it replaces. There is more technology, including a configurable 7.0-inch digital driver’s display and a more functional touchscreen infotainment system.
Stepping into the sports seats of the BRZ make you feel like you are stepping down into a focused and serious sports car – even the toggle switchgear under the touchscreen make you feel like you’re in a race car.
The 8.0-inch touchscreen uses Subaru’s latest ‘Starlink’ infotainment system, which is a vast improvement over the previous system. There is wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as digital radio. The screen quality is good and the menus are easy to navigate while on the move.
The quality of materials used in the cabin of the 2022 Subaru BRZ are also an improvement over the previous generation car. There is a mixture of faux leather and alcantara used on the centre console and dash with some hard plastics, but they are durable and hard wearing. The standard cloth seats are comfortable, but the leather and suede upholstery in the BRZ S are better and we’d definitely spend the extra $1,200 to get them. Storage is an area that has been improved over the previous BRZ as there is now a proper centre console storage system as well as cup holders, door pockets and a decent-sized glove box.
As before, the BRZ does have rear seats and like the previous model, they’re largely reserved for storage. Fitting an adult in them is largely impossible and requires pushing the front seats forward to uncomfortable (for the front passengers) levels. Kids will fit better and child seats also fit thanks to ISOFIX ports. The backrest folds (in a single piece) to help practicality further.
Opening the boot of the 2022 Subaru BRZ reveals 201-litres of cargo space with the rear seats in place, which is 71L more than the Mazda MX-5’s 130L boot.
Service & Warranty:
The 2022 Subaru BRZ comes with a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty, like all other Subaru models sold in Australia. There is also 12-months of roadside assist that comes with all new Subaru products. The Mazda MX-5 and Toyota 86 both come with the same warranty but the Toyota does not come with any form of roadside assist, while the Mazda has five years of roadside assist.
Servicing for the BRZ occurs every 12-months or 15,000km, which is on par with what Toyotas offer for the 86 and 5,000km more than the MX-5’s intervals. The cost of servicing the BRZ over five years/75,000km is a not cheap $2,390 for the manual ($478 per service) and $2,474.25 for the automatic (an average of $494.85 per service).
2022 Subaru BRZ DiscoverAuto Rating: 8.5/10
We’re yet to properly test the 2022 Subaru BRZ Coupe, but even from our first drive, it’s obvious that the second-generation car is a more rounded and loveable offering than the first. This is largely due to the extra performance from the new 2.4L engine but it’s also more rounded with sharper handling, a higher quality and more tech-filled interior and yet, pricing has only increased by $450.
Of course, it’s not perfect thanks to its expensive service pricing, lack of practicality and that the manual variant has significantly less safety equipment than the automatic. But these issues aside, the BRZ is a great little sports car. If you’re after a sports car, should you consider one? We think so – but get in quick as as the second allocation of cars is filling up fast with deliveries happening towards the end of 2022.