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.