Subaru BRZ

Fuel efficiency Ancap rating
$40,290–$46,890 8.8–9.5 L/100km N/A

Latest Review

2022 Subaru BRZ Coupe Blue 50

Living with the 2022 Subaru BRZ

The new BRZ is a tester's darling but what's it like to live with?

29 Oct 2022

2022 Subaru BRZ long-term review


Rear admirable

Price as tested $41,590 (+ORC)
This month 1202km @ 8.7L/100km
Overall 1202km @ 8.7L/100km

Melbourne is doing grey and wet once again. Port Phillip bay seems to have become a North Sea tribute act as the mercury hits single digits day after day and endless low pressure systems pile upon each other. And you know what? I love it.

That’s because of the latest acquisition into the Wheels garage. Keen to inject a cosier CoG into the mix of wall-to-wall SUVs, we’ve slotted in a Sapphire Blue pearl Subaru BRZ S.

Manual, of course. In case you’re not fully up to speed on BRZ trims, the S doesn’t add anything to the 174kW/250Nm quota under the bonnet, but does introduce leather and Ultrasuede heated front seats, for which Subaru tacks another $1300 to the invoice and another three kilos to the kerb weight.

Show the BRZ a deserted wet roundabout and it’ll happily give you a taste of its handling talents and that’s with all the stability control switched on. Switch it into the halfway Track ESC setting and it’ll let you have huge amounts of leeway, so exercise a little care when engaging this mode on road. Or on track, come to that.

Either way, the BRZ is huge fun when the surface is a little slippery, with fantastic steering, a benign chassis and, unlike its predecessor, no cavernous hole in the middle of its torque curve.

The cabin is straightforward, without too much in the way of adornment, but the main controls are ergonomically sound. The headlights swivel, are dusk-sensing and self-level but don’t automatically dip for oncoming traffic.

Because this is a manual car it also misses out on Subaru’s EyeSight suite, so you don’t get adaptive cruise, AEB, lane-keep assist and lane departure warning. The boot, at 201L, is smallish and filled largely with a full-sized spare, so most of your shopping will emerge smelling a little rubbery.

Unfortunately, my spell with the BRZ was temporarily interrupted after driving it through a pothole that looked like the design template for the Kalgoorlie Super Pit.

The car’s gone back to Subaru and a buckled alloy wheel has been diagnosed, evidenced by the subsequent tremor in the steering at speed. Having dodged around 500 potholes all day on frankly shocking local roads and made it to within a few kilometres of home, it was doubly galling.

Absence makes the heart do something or other though, and I’m genuinely missing the BRZ. It’s easy to forget quite how capable it is.

When tested at Phillip Island for MOTOR’s last PCOTY, its 1:54.41s lap time was quicker than every car from PCOTY in 1994, beating the Porsche 964 Turbo by around two seconds, the Honda NSX by nearly five and the FD Mazda RX-7 by almost eight. Indeed its 14.24s 0-400m time was identical to the hundredth to that of a 3.2-litre Honda NSX pedalled by Dave Morley in 2002.

On road, it feels a really well judged package. No, the gearshift’s not as sweet as that of an MX-5 but it’s still a good ‘un. I’m just counting down the days until it’s back. That and praying for rain.

Back to top

Zed's not dead!

Price as tested $41,590 (+ORC)
This month 675km @ 8.8L/100km
Overall 1877km @ 8.8L/100km

There's a lot to be said for a car that delivers excitement at vaguely legal speeds. Many years back, I recall the ex-editor of this mag, Bill Thomas, complaining that a Mitsubishi 3000GT was too easy to drive, before being chewed out at volume across a Welsh bar by LJK Setright. “No car is too easy to drive!” boomed Setright. Think Gandalf and ‘you shall not pass’ and you’ll get the vibe.

I’d take issue with the late Setright there. True, any car will get up on its toes if driven hard enough, but how those limits correspond to the public highway is another matter altogether. That’s what makes the Subaru BRZ something to revel in.

With no turbocharger, you have to work the 2.4-litre powerplant, but the rewards are well worth it, and it feels naturally at home on a twisty road where you’re changing from the upper reaches of second into third and back.

The top of second butts close to 100km/h, so the perfect BRZ road is a quiet hill route with a 100 limit and plenty of shape in the corners. I attended the launch of the original Toyota 86, held in 2011 in Montserrat, near Barcelona, and the roads were exactly like this.

Unfortunately they merely served to illustrate the torque deficit in the 2.0-litre engine, the game 86 being outdragged up long inclines by diesel Vectras. It was a disaster of a venue at the time, but the bigger FA24 engine in this car would be a joy to punt up to the hilltop monastery.

Some have complained that there’s not enough exhaust sound in the audio mix, and I can see the point but I have no contention with the Active Sound Control system that mounts a speaker behind the dash. Were I absolutely besotted with the sound of a typical flat-four, I might feel it was a little unfaithful to the architecture, but I’m not so I don’t.

It’s good to have the little Subie back in the garage though. It took fully six weeks for the car to be diagnosed after its unfortunate trip through a jarring pothole. A bent wheel was the issue and another was sourced, but while fitting it a sensor went on the fritz and had to be back-ordered.

I’m hearing this a lot from owners of many brands when having their vehicles serviced. Being out of your car for weeks due to parts shortages is zero fun.

Upon return, the car would seemingly no longer talk to my phone’s Android Auto installation. I bought a new cable to troubleshoot that link and checked that the app was updated, but it turned out that the related Google search app also needs to be updated in order for everything to work.

There have still been the odd instances when the connection seems problematic or drops out while driving. I’d be interested to hear whether any other BRZ owners have encountered instability with their wired phone-mirroring connections.

It’s great to have EQL89C back though. I recently went for a blat back-to-back with a Porsche 992 Carrera and, after swapping back and forth throughout the day, I can honestly say I had more fun in the BRZ, a car that’s a sixth of the price of the Porsche.

The 911 felt as if it was only just getting into its stride, whereas the Subaru was absolutely in its element. At those speeds and on those roads, the Porsche was insouciant where the BRZ was involving.

Setright may not have agreed, but in that scenario, yes, the 911 was too easy to drive. Getting more from a car more of the time has to count as a win. Right?

Back to top


More Reviews


More News