Without a doubt, the collaborative work of Toyota and Subaru with the 86 and BRZ twin two-door sportscars are hugely important beyond appealing to just car enthusiasts. Yes, there was a short-lived Scion FR-S (literally Toyota’s introductory model strategy for the US market until it brought its own model after shutting its Scion sub-brand down in 2016) sibling in the North American market too and even that contributed to the overall success of the collaboration. Toyota has actually raised their stake in Subaru to 20 % while Subaru acquired 0.3 % of Toyota. We have literally tested every single model variant and special limited edition from all three brands since the affordable 2+2 sportscar was introduced to the world in 2012. Despite its myriad of compromises to make the Subaru BRZ and 86 affordable and appeal to the greatest number of potential customers, the C! team has loved the coupés and celebrates its engineered intentions to provide driving enjoyment and engagement.
So, like many enthusiasts, we have been patiently waiting for the heavily upgraded 2nd generation models. This time around for our Philippine market, the Subaru official distributor Motor Image, introduced the model first before Toyota Motor Philippines publicly releases its GR86 version (several units are already in-country). There are a lot of changes and I will focus on the more salient details but the spirit remains true combined with a few components that have found their way back like the aluminum pedals, brake system (11.6-inch vented discs up front with twin-piston calipers and 11.4-inch vented discs at the rear with single-piston calipers), automatic transmission gear ratios (identical ratios but the final drive ratios are different, the old one was 4.10:1 while the new one is 3.9:1, there is also an updated torque converter and additional clutch discs to manage the new powerplant) and fuel tank capacity (50 liters) which remain essentially identical to its predecessor. I am confident that abundant factory (Subaru offered a substantial optional Brembo® brake upgrade system in many markets that featured 12.8-inch vented discs with 4-pot calipers up front and 12.4-inch vented rear discs with twin-calipers, Toyota TRD offered even larger units) and aftermarket systems will be available for individual tuning for both sport and racing applications like before.
The most profound upgrade is the engine which has grown from a naturally-aspirated 2.0-liter flat-4 producing 205 bhp @ 7000 rpm and 156 lb-ft @ 6400-6600 rpm at its best factory tuning (normally it is 5 bhp less and 5 lb-ft less, the extra power is applied to manual transmission models through a freer-flowing intake and exhaust system, more robust pistons and crankshaft bearings, and reduced valvetrain friction) on special edition models that you have to wring out even when you do not want to for motivation to a more efficient and more powerful 2.4-liter flat-4 that is still not force-induced but produces 232 bhp @ 7000 rpm and more critically way more torque at 184 lb-ft @ 3700 rpm for exponentially more effortless practical daily driving. The 7500 rpm redline is 200 rpm lower than before but with a much better throatier exhaust note. It has an additional oil cooler and even if peak torque is achieved at 3700 rpm the powerband is fairly linear as it tapers off until about 5000 rpm for optimal elasticity.
Compared directly to the outgoing model with an automatic, the mostly all-new Subaru BRZ EyeSight weighs approximately only 41 pounds more which is not much at all given the increased proportions, however minute, the new designs inside and out, the larger engine, and additional standard equipment. Subaru has been able to manage the weight gain with generous applications of aluminum on suspension components, the double-bubble roof, hood and front fenders. While the uprated chassis adopts elements from the Subaru Global Platform (SGP) which is supposed to increase torsional rigidity by 50% and front lateral bending rigidity by approximately 60%. The new Subaru BRZ uses a slightly longer wheelbase by 5 mm, has a longer body by 25 mm, has the same width, and has a 10 mm lower roofline but conversely has 5 mm more ground clearance. Notably, the rear track is 10 mm wider for better feel and handling. An extra bonus too with the new BRZ with an automatic is that it now comes standard with a Torsen® Limited-Slip Differential which before you could only get packaged with the manual variants. The interior volume remains the same at 2186 liters however even if the new body appears larger. Unfortunately, the previously small rear trunk is actually even smaller now by 17-liters.
The new muscular body is fabulous and appropriately updated with multiple fixed passive aerodynamic measures for brake cooling and maintaining optimal dynamic handling through new front bumper ducts, front wheel-arch exit slits, side sills, undercarriage covers and rear diffuser among other treatments leading up to the tasteful rear trunk duck-tail-esque spoiler. The drag coefficient though remains roughly the same at .28 cd even if the new BRZ’s body is more sensual, purposeful, and attractive. For a P100,000.00 less, you can get the more visceral 6-speed manual version that weighs about 45 pounds less and it is quicker, but you do loose the EyeSight 3.0 system (Pre-Collision Braking, Pre-Collision Throttle Management, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Sway Warning, and Lead Vehicle Start Alert) as well as the Reverse Automatic Braking system and High Beam Assist. The manual transmission BRZ actually consumes more fuel too, though that could be because drivers are more likely to drive it more aggressively and hit the redline more frequently.
The cabin is very familiar and is exactly what it looks like, an evolution of the original formula. Every single item and material have been updated significantly so now the interior has more standard equipment, more refinement and better continuity. There are no longer any displaced inconsistent colors like before, the archaic double-din green backlit head unit of the outgoing model with no parking aids has been replaced with a modern 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto™ and Apple Carplay® connectivity through 8-speakers. The infotainment system also now has a guided rear camera combined with rear parking sonar sensors. The audio quality is much better now and whether you like it or not, additional synthetic engine sound is piped in through the system to “enhance” the aural experience, thankfully it is subtle. The switchgear has all been improved and are more tactile. Sound insulation has also been greatly improved.
Contributing to the driver experience are the combination leather/Ultrasuede®-trimmed upholstery with red accents and contrast double-stitching which compliments the treatments to the gearshift boot, e-brake, door panels, and steering wheel. The faux carbon fiber trim is gone and there are more multi-sized storage areas. The new 7-inch digital instrument cluster is configurable and graphically builds around a central tachometer that also has an integrated G-force meter plus adaptive Sport and Track modes. The circular tachometer switches to a linear graph in Track mode. When in manual override mode, the steering wheel paddleshifts will not automatically upshift before the redline so the real-world dynamic ability of the automatic variant compared to the manual transmission has narrowed favorably. The brilliant steering response, at a quick 13.5:1-ratio, truly keeps the driver connected to the car with great feedback and precision. The lovely standard signature full-LED lighting with headlight washers also has steering response for better cornering illumination.
The taut ride quality on the tenacious 215/40R18 85Y Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires is more compliant under normal driving conditions and exemplary when driven spiritedly. The retuned damping greatly helps here too. Even the stability control offers more adaptability to driver’s needs in five settings.
The 2022 Subaru BRZ is available in seven colors: Ignition Red, Magnetite Gray Metallic, Sapphire Blue Pearl, World Rally Blue Pearl (our test unit), Crystal Black Silica, Crystal White Pearl, and Ice Silver Metallic.
The 1st generation Subaru BRZ/Toyota 86 may have set the foundation, but this 2nd generation will soar and appeal to an even wider audience. The joyous character and deeper abilities of the all-new BRZ solidify the wonder twins as the best performing and most financially attainable sportscars that can be driven daily in our Philippine market. It may not have the versatility, intimacy, kit, pedigree, and refinement of the Mazda MX-5, but it is the overall better performer with more space and a larger trunk.
Specification – 2022 Subaru BRZ EyeSight AT
Location: Front, Horizontally Opposed Boxer
Displacement: 2387 cc
Cylinder block: Cast Aluminum
Cylinder head: Cast Aluminum, DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder, Variable Valve Timing
Fuel Injection: Port & Direct Injection
Max power: 232 bhp @ 7000 rpm
Max torque: 184 lb-ft @ 3700 rpm
Transmission: 6-Speed Automatic with Manual Mode, Steering wheel paddleshifts and Rev-Matching, Rear Wheel Drive
Front suspension: Independent MacPherson struts with coil springs, performance gas-pressurized shock absorbers, V-tower strut bar, and anti-roll bar.
Rear suspension: Independent Double Wishbone with coil springs, performance gas-pressurized shock absorbers and anti-roll bar.
Fuel Capacity: 50 liters (13.2 gallons)
Ground Clearance: 130 mm
Load Capacity: 170 liters with rear seat fixed, 368 liters with the rear seats folded
L x W x H: 4265 mm x 1775 mm x 1310 mm
Wheelbase: 2575 mm
Brakes: Front 11.6-inch (295 mm) ventilated discs 2-piston calipers / Rear 11.4-inch (290 mm) vented discs with 1-piston calipers, Traditional Manual E-Brake, ABS, Vehicle Stability Control with Track Mode, Traction Control, BA, Brake Override System, EBD, Hill Start Assist. EyeSight 3.0 Safety Suite, Blind Spot Detection, Lane Change Assist, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.
Wheels: 18”x 7.5J Matte Dark Grey 10-spoke Alloys
Tires: P215/40R18 85Y Michelin Pilot Sport 4
Weight: (kerb) 1310 kg. (2882 lbs.)
0-100 km/h (0-62 mph): 6.3 seconds
Top Speed (mph): 235 km/h (147 mph)
Fuel Mileage: 21 mpg City / 31 mpg Highway (8.6L/100 kms. Overall)
Price as tested: PhP 2,619,000.00
C! RATING 10/10
+The everyman enthusiast’s sportscar and it is significantly better dynamically and aesthetically than its predecessor. Thoroughly updated.
–The trunk got smaller, the rear seats are still best for children 8 and under, some lingering compromises.