2022 Subaru BRZ returns to vie for best affordable sports car title

The redesigned 2022 Subaru BRZ sports coupe returns for a second generation, but it still won't have a turbocharger. Instead, Subaru will fit it with a larger and more potent 2.4-liter flat-4, the automaker announced Wednesday. 

The 2.4-liter makes 228 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, representing increases of 23 hp and 28 lb-ft over the 2.0-liter flat-4 in the 2020 Subaru BRZ. A 6-speed automatic or 6-speed manual will still send power to the rear wheels, and a new Sport mode with automatic rev matching on downshifts promises to keep the engine in the ideal gear when coming in and out of a turn. The larger Boxer engine leads to an even lower center of gravity, and a near perfect weight distribution promised to improve stability and balance.Subaru says the chassis has 50% more torsional stiffness, resulting in more balanced cornering and more front-end responsiveness. 

The suspension largely remains the same, with MacPherson struts up front and a double wishbone rear suspension. The larger engine and reinforced chassis, as well as the slightly larger body, only increase the coupe's weight by up to 41 pounds with the automatic to 2,881 pounds total.

The joint venture with Toyota that produced the Toyota 86 reveals itself with design elements on the BRZ that could be lifted from the Toyota Supra, such as the rear spoiler and the shape of the cabin. The 2022 BRZ looks like an update of its predecessor, and it's an inch longer and nearly half an inch lower. Large vertical air intakes flank the lower grille, with horizontal slats that stretch the face of the low coupe. That expanded lower body is accentuated by large sills that flow from the side intake up to the rear wheels and the wider rear track. The hood dips low into the lower grille, and then a slight depression in the middle of the roof harks back to vintage racing cars. 

The interior gets much needed modern updates, including a 7.0-inch digital instrument cluster and an 8.0-inch touchscreen.

Along with the forthcoming Toyota 86, the 2022 Subaru BRZ competes with a shrinking but robust group of affordable sports cars that include the 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI, 2022 Honda Civic Si, 2021 Volkswagen Jetta GLI, 2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata, and 2021 Hyundai Veloster N.  

Expected to arrive in the fall of 2021, the 2022 Subaru BRZ should keep its starting price below $30,000 to stay competitive with that set of rivals. 

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