This is the second-generation Subaru BRZ

The first Subaru BRZ was a lightweight, compact, rear-wheel-drive sports coupe in an age that saw consumers abandon, in droves, fun-to-drive cars for enormous crossovers. In other words, it was practically destined to be a single-generation flash of automotive history. Eight years in the market was a long time, but the good news was that Subaru has been working on a successor. The even better news is, it seems to largely carry on the spirit of the first.

Of course, the question on everyone’s mind is, does it have more power? The answer is yes, the Subaru FA24 flat-four now kicks out 228 horses and 184 pound-feet of torque. That’s 23 more horsepower and 28 more pound-feet, thanks to a larger displacement of 2.4-liters. And, the peak torque at 3,700 rpm should address the torque dip concerns of the current gen.

It’s perhaps not the bump everyone was hoping for. But, there was no way Toyota was going to let the inevitable 86 variant overshadow the new Supra, which now comes in a four-cylinder flavor making 255 horsepower.

Encouragingly, though, despite ever-tightening regulations Subaru has managed to keep the curb weight at 2,815 pounds for the lightest trim. That’s just 17 pounds more than the outgoing model. And Subaru, thank the touge gods, kept the compact dimensions largely in tact. It’s only about an inch longer than the current gen and almost half an inch lower. All in all, it holds a better power-to-weight ratio than even the four-cylinder Supra.

The width stays the same despite a wider track, though Subaru hasn’t said how much. Other improvements, according to Subaru, include a center of gravity even lower than the previous model and a new Sport mode that automatically blips your throttle during downshifts. And, it still comes in a 6-speed transmission (though an automatic is offered as well).

The suspension continues on with struts in front and a double-wishbone rear. Subaru claims that the new chassis, built atop their global modular architecture, increases rigidity by 60 percent for improved turn-in and response.

Inside, the BRZ keeps its driver-focused cabin, now with a larger info touchscreen. Addressing the complaints of many drivers, the VSC system now offers five settings and has been revamped so it doesn’t kick in so early. It can also be turned off entirely.

A digital instrument pod keeps the tach front and center, and a readout can be selected to display a g-meter, water temp, or amps. When in track mode, the tach turns into a color linear graph for rpms at a quick glance.

Design-wise, the new BRZ doesn’t look quite as sharp as the previous model. Many of the edges have been rounded out, and it looks a bit like a chubby baby Lexus RCF. Subaru says the fender vents and wide side sill spoilers are functional, though. Wheels measure 17 inches standard on 215/45 tires, or 18 inches on 215/40 rubber for the Limited trim.

Whenever there’s a generational change, there’s always the danger of feature bloat, as well as actual bloat. Fortunately, Subaru seems to have kept true to the original’s formula. Why fix it if it ain’t broke? While design is subjective and the power increase might not be as much as people wanted, those who loved and understood the BRZ for its core principles — lightness, nimbleness, and affordability — will likely be pleased. We look forward to some seat time to find out more.

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22 Responses to This is the second-generation Subaru BRZ

  1. Dan said:

    Beautiful Honda Accord! Where’s the new brz pictures??

  2. dankan said:

    Really like it. Really want it. Can’t afford it (right now).

  3. Jim Daniels said:

    Ben, I think you nailed it. Not much left to say. The only thing I would add is that the rear from the B-pillars back looks a lot like a Mitsubishi Eclipse and I would not consider that a complement. The rear finders are too bulbous. I have no problem with venting as long as it is tasteful (questionable in this case) and functional. It may look better if the upper line from the vent faded back into the door as it looks too stubby as does the whole rear of the car. I am glad they kept the light balanced approach, more power would have been nice and that it is being made but it appears the younger sister’s looks did not quite live up to those of the the older girl.

  4. Paul said:

    No turbo,
    No all wheel drive,
    No thanks, I’ll keep my 18 Mustang GT.

  5. VincenzoL said:

    Just a major refresh, hardly what I would consider all new and not significant enough that most people wouldn’t strongly consider shopping for a used BRZ or 86. I see a car that gives very few reasons for anyone to upgrade.

    We could be looking at the last days of the petrol engine and Subaru/Toyota decided to play it safe. AKA, another half ass attempt that will create little enthusiasm and when it fails they will blame the market.

    • Mark F Newton-John said:

      Would never consider a used one, thrashed within an inch of it’s 205hp life, driven hard and likely poorly by some 20-something that has watched F&F too many times…

  6. BlitzPig said:

    I really wish the 86 version had a Toyota engine. It’s the main reason I’m holding out on buying one. I just cannot justify a car with an engine that is only good for 80K to 100K miles, then needing head gaskets and oil seal replacements, like every other Subaru does.

    • Steve said:

      Oh, Jeez! I wish I hadn’t seen your comment. My FRS now has 114k miles on it. More fun stuff to look out for 🙄🙄🙄

      But, I agree. If the Toyota version comes out with a Toyota engine, ever, I’ll be first in line to trade my FRS in. Alternatively, I would also be first in line if TRD created a 50-state legal plug-n-play powertrain swap package, that swapped the Subaru engine for a proper Toyota engine.

      Just dreamin’…

    • Mark F Newton-John said:

      Yeah, there’s a Toyota motor in the 86. They just slapped a 4U label on a Subaru one.

  7. Damian said:

    The rear of the car looks copied from half a dozen Korean cars/coupes. Pity they couldn’t leave the styling alone and concentrate on improving the performance, less weight, etc.
    Looks worse.

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