Subaru has revealed its new BRZ coupe, a second-generation of the small, back-to-basic rear-wheel drive coupe. As before, the BRZ is paired to a Toyota variant, but while we’re due to see the GR86 in Europe some time next year, the Subaru isn’t planned for Europe this time around. While it is a shame to see Subaru’s presence here continue to shrink, the Toyota’s imminent arrival does make up for it, as the two packages are set to be near-identical to drive, save for some subtle suspension tuning changes.
The basics are familiar, with the BRZ featuring a small, mixed metal chassis, rear-wheel drive and a horizontally opposed flat-four engine. What’s new this time around are key powertrain, interior and styling updates that should modernise the package.
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The body itself is 60 percent stiffer than before and features a bespoke design of MacPherson-style strut that keeps the bonnet as low as possible, while the rear is a double-wishbone design with passive dampers fitted on all four corners. The two-plus-two seating layout remains, so too its 50:50 weight distribution. Kerb weight is rated at 1276kg, around 40kg more than before.
The endless calls for Subaru and Toyota to offer a more potent powertrain have been partially answered with the fitment of a larger 2.4-litre flat-four borrowed from the US-only Subaru Ascent SUV. In this specification, the engine produces 225bhp at 7000rpm and 184lb ft of torque from 3700rpm. These figures put it 25bhp and 33lb ft more than the previous naturally aspirated 2-litre.
The BRZ features a six-speed manual transmission, but depending on market is also available with a six-speed automatic, sending drive to the rear wheels via a limited-slip differential.
While the sheetmetal is new, the similarities to the previous models are clear, with little more than an update on the theme without straying too far from the original design language. Larger 18-inch wheels are available on high-specification models, but they still have a compact 215mm wide contact patch at all four corners, albeit with a much more serious set of Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres in contrast to the eco-focused rubber of the previous models.
The interior has also gone through a subtle update, with a familiar dash layout finished with new trim pieces and a properly integrated infotainment system in contrast to the aftermarket setup in the previous model.
While Subaru doesn’t need to worry about getting too close to other performance models in its range, it’s clear that Toyota’s GR86 will be yet closer to the entry-level 249bhp four-cylinder Supra that’s still under consideration for sale in the UK and available in other markets. The difference between them exists in ethos though, with the GR86, and indeed this BRZ, being lighter, narrower and more-driver friendly coupes compared to the spikey Supra.