2022 Subaru BRZ First Drive: History Repeats Itself


2022 Subaru BRZ First Drive: History Repeats Itself

Cast your mind back to 2013 or thereabouts, when Subaru’s rear-drive BRZ and its cousin, the Toyota 86—then known as the Scion FR-S—were new. Although nearly identical, the rear-drive sports cars had different personalities: The FR-S was more playful while the BRZ was more shy about shaking its tail feathers. Fast-forward to 2022, and as Yogi Berra once said, it’s déjà vu all over again. The Toyota is a slide-happy goofball, and the new 2022 Subaru BRZ is even more serious about getting through the curves as quickly as possible—i.e., with fewer speed-robbing slides.

We got our first taste of the second-generation Subaru BRZ coupe on the track at Connecticut’s Lime Rock Park, not far from Monticello Motor Club where we’d tried out the 2022 Toyota GR 86 just a couple of weeks prior. The choice of venues was telling. Monticello is a curvy, playful track, while Lime Rock is shorter (just seven corners) and deceptively fast. Monticello highlighted the GR 86’s love of oversteer, while Lime Rock’s higher-speed turns showed off the Subaru BRZ’s ability to keep its rear end solidly planted at high velocities.

Truth be told, we felt some initial disappointment at the BRZ’s reluctance to rotate, but as we got the hang of the track and its rhythm, our level of respect for the Subaru rose rapidly along with our speed. The BRZ stayed tight on our chosen path, allowing us to concentrate on our line and make subtle adjustments with the throttle. Like the Toyota, the Subaru is a patient teacher; it highlights mistakes with a little slip from either front or rear, rather than punishing them with snap oversteer. As we refined our technique, we could appreciate what BRZ line manager Michael Redic had told us about the team’s guiding philosophy: “Our focus was on making sure that what the driver puts in, the driver gets out—that their expectations are met every time.”

We also took Subaru’s sports car for laps on Lime Rock’s autocross loop, which is more like a miniature racetrack than a traditional autocross, and that gave us a better opportunity to poke and prod at the limits of traction and handling. Like the GR 86, the BRZ comes in two trim levels, in this case the higher Limited with 18-inch wheels and sticky Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires and the lesser Premium with Michelin Primacy tires on 17-inch wheels. (Both wheels are nearly identical 10-spoke designs; we had to scope the tires’ lettering or size information to tell them apart.) For the full story, check out this article from Motor Trend.

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