2022 Subaru BRZ Automatic Makes Fun Easy

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Affordable sports cars are a rarity these days. So the redesigned 2022 Subaru BRZ — and its twin, the Toyota GR86 — are worth celebrating because they offer a fun attitude for less than $29,000. And that’s despite a thorough redesign that improves performance and livability; we also celebrated both cars with this year’s 10Best award.

The Subie’s price puts it within the reach of young drivers who comprise the next generation of driving enthusiasts. We—and Subaru—need those Gen Z buyers to join a car like this, or this well-handled two-door toy would be doomed. So maybe that’s why, like the similar GR86 and Mazda MX-5 Miata, the BRZ is offered with a six-speed automatic option. With a slushbox, this little performance behemoth can serve as a sort of gateway drug to the sports car. But does auto in BRZ really turn off?

HIGH: Fast throttle response, pleasant road behavior, equipped with driver assistance technology.

While it’s true that the six-speed manual transmission unlocks the BRZ’s maximum performance potential, the six-speed automatic still knows how to have fun. Throttle response is fast, and there’s enough torque to make the rear tires chirp for a bit, which makes the BRZ feel excited. Shifting is a bit slow when called upon via the steering wheel paddles, so it’s best to let the gearbox do the work. Throttle and transmission oblige with downshift, and the engine sings.

Our base-level Premium test car hit 60 mph in 6.3 seconds and set a quarter mile time of 14.8 seconds at 97 mph. With a manual transmission, the BRZ Limited we tested managed to sprint 60 mph in just 5.4 seconds and cruise the quarter mile in 13.9 seconds at 101 mph.

Unsurprisingly, the performance of this BRZ is very similar to the GR86 automatic, but the two cars are not exactly the same. The Toyota hit 60 mph 0.2 seconds ahead of the Subaru and finished the quarter mile 0.1 seconds faster, despite having the same 97-mph speed trap. The Toyota is just a pound under the Subaru’s 2863 pound curb weight, so the difference here likely comes down to the tires. Both sport summer rubbers, but while Toyota comes with a set of Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires, Subaru wears the HP Michelin Primacy. At the BRZ, the Sport 4s was downgraded to the more expensive Limited model.

The braking distance of 70 mph from 167 feet for the Subaru and 153 feet for the Toyota highlights the differences between the Michelins. The cornering grip is different too, with the Subaru losing grip at 0.89 g on our 300ft skidpad while the Toyota managed to hold on to 0.95 g. The test results don’t mean there’s a stark difference between the Subie and Toyota in terms of road manners. The automatic BRZ still delivers a great time on winding roads, and the braking performance is convincing in its consistency.

We admit that without the distractions of manual switching, we are more aware of the shortcomings of the BRZ. The drab, plastic interior materials aren’t exactly impressive considering the car’s $30,590, and the infotainment interface looks and feels sophisticated—for 2010. That might not help endear it to digital natives, which is a shame, but maybe Subaru will fix that with a bigger display. and a prettier interface.

LOW: Not as fast as manual, basic infotainment, standard tires lack grip.

One of the advantages of auto-choosing is that you get a Subaru EyeSight driver assistance package, which isn’t available with a gear stick. The package includes automatic high-beam headlights, automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning and adaptive cruise control. Everything works fine and is a convenience that is sure to make life with the BRZ a little easier, although this type of driver assistance isn’t on our list of priorities when it comes to sports cars.

That’s why we opted for the stick anyway—and we also wanted the upgraded tires that came with the Limited. But it’s nice to know that the auto retains the BRZ’s fun-to-drive nature despite its declining performance. Giving the BRZ (and GR86) the widest possible traction will hopefully help both models hold on, and this two-pedal version could provide a boost into our hobby for next-generation drivers who haven’t learned to paddle a gearbox for themselves—yet.



2022 Subaru BRZ Premium Auto
Vehicle Type: front engine, rear wheel drive, 2+2 passenger, 2 door coupe

Basic/As Tested: $30.590/$30,590
Option: none

DOHC 16-valve flat-4, aluminum block head, ports and direct fuel injection
Displacement: 146 inches32387 cm3
Power: 228 hp @ 7000 rpm
Torque: 184 lb-ft @ 3700 rpm

6 speed auto

Suspension, F/R: struts/multilink
Brakes, F/R: 11.6-in/11.4-in ventilated disc
Tires: Michelin Primacy HP
215/45R-17 87W

Wheelbase: 101.4 inches
Length: 167.9 inches
Width: 69.9 inches
Height: 51.6 inches
Passenger Volume: 78 feet3
Rod Volume: 6 feet3
Curb weight: 2863 lb

60 mph: 6.3 seconds
1/4-Mile: 14.8 seconds @ 97 mph
100 mph: 15.8 seconds
130 mph: 30.8 seconds

The above result eliminates a 1 foot 0.3 second launch.
Rolling Start, 5–60 mph: 6.5 seconds
Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 3.3 seconds
Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 4.0 sec
Top Speed ​​(redline ltd): 135 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 167 feet
Braking, 100–0 mph: 349 feet
Roadholding, 300-ft Skidpad: 0.89 g

Observed: 21 mpg
Driving on the Highway 75-mph: 37 mpg
75-mph Highway Range: 480 miles

Combined/City/Highway: 25/21/30 mpg


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