2022 Subaru BRZ Limited [Sport-tech] Review – TractionLife.com


New-generation sports coupe builds on predecessor’s winning formula.
Editor’s Note: BRZ Limited trim in the US is called BRZ Sport-tech in Canada.
Affordable sports cars are a diminishing niche in today’s car market, with big-selling and big-earning SUVs and trucks dominating the scene. Nevertheless, for 2022 Subaru and its partner Toyota renewed the much-loved twins that first appeared (in Toyota’s case as a Scion) in 2012. The recipe is the same: a front-engine, rear-drive 2+2 coupe that majors on handling and fun rather than straight-line speed.
There are two basic models: the entry-level BRZ (Canada) or Premium (USA); and the better-equipped Sport-tech (Canada) or Limited (USA). Both come as standard with a 6-speed manual transmission but can be specified with a 6-speed auto and EyeSight driver-assistance tech at extra cost. MSRPs as follows:
Every BRZ is powered by the same 2.4-litre, 228-HP flat-four engine. We drove a 2022 Sport-tech but there are no changes to the BRZ for 2023.
Moving from the BRZ/Premium to the Sport-tech/Limited adds leather/Ultrasuede seats, heated side mirrors and steering-responsive headlights. The regular 17in wheels are switched to 18in rims with Michelin Pilot Sport 4 summer tires. Aside from the EyeSight/auto combination, there are no major option packages to speak of.
The latest BRZ is an evolutionary step compared with the first-generation car, which finished with the 2020 model year, but the body is nevertheless all-new. There are subtle aerodynamic details everywhere you look capped off with a neat, duck-tail spoiler at the rear. The roofline’s subtle ‘double-bubble’ is a nod to vintage racing cars. Our test vehicle was finished in traditional Subaru World Rally Blue pearl paint.
We didn’t find it easy for long-legged drivers to climb into the BRZ. The left-hand end of the instrument panel flares out towards the driver’s door, creating a lump best avoided as you swing your knees through a tight gap. You’re soon comfortable once inside, though.
Having adjusted the driver’s seat and small steering wheel to suit, the driving position is great and with thin A-pillars, the view forward is excellent, too, with the pointed tops to the fenders helping you to accurately place the car.
Ahead of you, the all-digital instrument cluster focuses on the tachometer with an inset digital speedometer and gauges on each side. The G-meter on the left is better suited to track use than road driving, but a configuration change can replace it with further gauges.
The other screen is an 8in item in the centre. Its graphics and Starlink operating system look a generation behind the best that other auto makers have to offer, and the audio system isn’t great.
You’ll need to put your phone, keys and coffee in a central bin that’s slightly behind you, which isn’t ideal.
There’s further evidence that Subaru has prioritized the driving experience over amenities and ergonomics in the lack of storage up front. You’ll need to put your phone, keys and coffee in a central bin that’s slightly behind you, which isn’t ideal. Further back, only small rear passengers will fit comfortably into this 2+2.
But if you’re traveling two-up, the rear seats helpfully fold to extend a cargo area that’s already generous for this size and type of vehicle. It’ll hold a set of spare tires for a trackday, a mountain bike, golf clubs or, in this test, crates of my kids’ Nerf blasters on their way to a playdate!
As previously stated, this is not necessarily the car to win the traffic-light drag race, but it’s quick all the same, taking around 6 seconds to accelerate from zero to 60mph/100km/h. The new motor is bigger than before, up from 2-litres to 2.4, with 23 more horsepower to take the output to 228 HP.
More importantly, there’s extra torque – up from 156 lb-ft to 184 – and the peak is available sooner, at 3,700 rpm, to improve mid-range drivability. A Torsen limited-slip diff helps put the power to the rear wheels.
We feel that the manual transmission is integral to the performance package but if you opt for the auto, it comes with paddle-shifters, throttle-blipping on the downshift and, surprisingly, 10%-better fuel economy.
Without huge amounts of power or an enormous turbo rush, the BRZ’s performance remains accessible at legal speeds, every day. Its already legendary handling is enhanced by a stiffer structure and a lower centre of gravity than the outgoing model’s, but this doesn’t come at the cost of ride comfort. It’s firm, sure, but there’s a surprising amount of give such that everyday journeys don’t turn into a trial.
Perhaps best of all, the steering is accurate and direct, with no dead spot around the straight-ahead. It’s perfect for carving through corners, but you’ll need to concentrate on the highway to keep things straight and lane-changes smooth.
Leaving aside the GR86, rivals to the BRZ at this price point are few in number but huge in scope, from the Ford Mustang to the Mazda MX-5. As a driver’s car we feel the BRZ is hard to beat at this level; we just wish the interior made it a little easier to live with every day.
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