2022 Subaru BRZ keeps the lightweight, back-to-basics sports car formula alive

Subaru's rear-wheel-drive sports car gets a little more style, a little more power and a little more tech.

Steven Ewing Former managing editor
Steven Ewing spent his childhood reading car magazines, making his career as an automotive journalist an absolute dream job. After getting his foot in the door at Automobile while he was still a teenager, Ewing found homes on the mastheads at Winding Road magazine, Autoblog and Motor1.com before joining the CNET team in 2018. He has also served on the World Car Awards jury. Ewing grew up ingrained in the car culture of Detroit -- the Motor City -- before eventually moving to Los Angeles. In his free time, Ewing loves to cook, binge trash TV and play the drums.
Steven Ewing
3 min read
2022 Subaru BRZ
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2022 Subaru BRZ

Pure, simple fun.

Michael Shaffer/Subaru

The best thing about the 2022 isn't what's changed, it's what hasn't. Making its debut Wednesday, the new BRZ improves upon its predecessor in a number of ways, but it's still the same lightweight, rear-wheel-drive sports car we know and love.

Arguably the biggest update is outside, where the 2022 BRZ wears cleaner, meaner sheetmetal. Overall, it's a good look, with more stylish taillights, LED running lights and a choice of 17- or 18-inch wheels depending on trim. The new BRZ isn't much bigger than the outgoing model, either -- it's about an inch longer and half an inch shorter in height. Compared to the 2020 BRZ, the new coupe is only 17 pounds heavier, coming in at a svelte 2,815 pounds for a Premium with the manual transmission and topping out at 2,881 pounds for the high-end Limited with an automatic.

Which brings us to the powertrain. A lot of folks subscribe to the belief that the BRZ needs more power, or perhaps a turbocharged option. But we're big fans of the whole slow-car-fast thing -- a little coupe that'll make you smile without hitting go-directly-to-jail speeds.

2022 Subaru BRZ: Evolutionary changes for a simple sports car

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A new 2.4-liter flat-four offers 228 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, increases of 23 hp and 28 lb-ft over the old BRZ's 2.0-liter engine. A six-speed manual transmission is standard while a six-speed automatic is available, the latter adding paddle shifters and automatic rev matching on downshifts.

Make no mistake, the new BRZ definitely won't be super-quick, but throw some wider wheels and sticky tires on one of these and you'll be able to carry lots of speed through corners. (Premium models will come standard with 215/45R17 tires while the Limited versions will have 215/40R18s.) says the 2022 BRZ's chassis is a lot stiffer, which should help make it a little more nimble. The BRZ will also continue to use a rear-wheel-drive layout, bucking Subaru's well-known trend of standard all-wheel drive, and the five-mode traction control can either keep things tight and snappy or will let you hang the tail out for nice, controlled drifts.

Inside, the BRZ gets a nice tech upgrade. There's a 7-inch digital gauge cluster, which is reconfigurable to show all sorts of driving data. Move to the admittedly busy-looking dash and you'll find an 8-inch screen running Subaru's Starlink multimedia system, with Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto all standard.

2022 Subaru BRZ
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2022 Subaru BRZ

There's a 7-inch digital gauge cluster and an 8-inch infotainment screen.

Michael Shaffer/Subaru

Like the current car, the 2022 BRZ is technically a four-seater, but it's really only comfortable for two. The rear seats make great places to put backpacks or purses, and they fold flat to allow longer items to pass through from the trunk.

Since the new BRZ isn't all that different from the old version, it should stay the course as far as pricing is concerned, too. That means the BRZ Premium should start in the mid-$20,000 range, with the Limited cresting $30,000 all loaded up. The 2022 BRZ should hit dealers next fall, following the start of production at Subaru's Gunma, Japan plant.

Of course, the 2022 BRZ also gives us a good idea of what to expect from its fraternal twin, the next-generation . Look for that coupe to bow sometime next year, largely with the same underpinnings as this Subaru.

Watch this: 2022 Subaru BRZ: If it ain't broke, don't fix it