Second generation of Subaru’s lightweight coupe retains a boxer engine and rear-wheel drive – but isn’t due to come to the UK
The new version of the rear-wheel-drive coupé has been given an extensive makeover and is slightly longer than its predecessor while sitting slightly lower. Unlike the first generation of the BRZ, launched in 2012, there are no plans to offer the new version in the UK.
The BRZ uses Subaru’s 2.4-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder boxer engine, tuned to deliver 228bhp at 7000rpm, an increase from 197bhp in the previous, 2.0-litre model. It also produces 184lb ft of torque, a 15% increase on the previous version.
Buyers can choose from six-speed manual and automatic gearboxes, with the latter gaining a new Sport mode that uses automatic throttle blipping to enable faster downshifting. There is a choice of 17in or 18in wheels.
The BRZ uses a bespoke platform, with elements taken from Subaru’s Global Platform, developed for it and the mechanically identical GR86. It has a 2575mm wheelbase and what Subaru claims is “near perfect weight distribution”. The BRZ weighs 1315kg, aided by an aluminium roof, bumpers and bonnet.
The front suspension uses a strut and coil spring set-up to reduce weight, with custom-designed MacPherson-type struts. There are double-wishbone struts at the rear. A reinforced mounting system is claimed to improve the rigidity, with the firm claiming that front lateral bending rigidity has been improved by 60%, in order to improve the turn-in and response. The vehicle stability control system has five settings.
The new design of the BRZ features a low grille and more pronounced front bumpers, which include large side vents to reduce drag. The air pushed through those vents is directed into a side spoiler that helps generate downforce. There are also small fins on the rear wheel arches, and a ‘ducktail’ rear spoiler to generate further downforce.
The interior has a 7.9in digital driver display, with a large rev counter in its centre. When Track mode is selected, that switches to a graph display. There is also an 8.0in infotainment touchscreen using the latest version of Subaru’s Starlink system, and contoured bucket seats are offered in the front as standard.
When it goes on sale in the US next autumn, the BRZ will be offered in two trim levels, Premium and Limited. The machine will be built at Subaru’s Gunma plant in Japan.
As with the previous-generation model, the new BRZ has been developed alongside Toyota’s mechanically identical GR86 (previously called the GT86), which is also due next year. Toyota has yet to confirm when it will launch its new car as part of its expanding GR performance range, or if that model will be offered in the UK.