2021 Subaru BRZ revealed with 228hp boxer
Naturally aspirated motor, six-speed manual and a stiffer structure. That bodes well for the UK-bound GT86…
By Sam Sheehan / Wednesday, November 18, 2020
Subaru has revealed its 2021 BRZ with confirmation that it uses a normally aspirated 2.4-litre boxer engine within a body structure that’s 50 per cent stiffer. That means 228hp and more rigidity from the second generation 2+2 sports car, which, unlike its predecessor, isn’t headed to Britain. The American reveal is a signal of what’s to come with Toyota’s following GT86, though – and from what we’re told in the US release, there’s plenty to get excited about from all angles of the new car.
For starters, the motor’s lack of turbocharging is a surprise. It pretty much confirms what we were thinking before – that Subaru’s decision not to bring the BRZ to Europe relates to its need to keep fleet emissions down here. It doesn’t have hundreds of thousands of hybrid sales to soak up the CO2 of a sporting boxer model in this region, unlike Toyota. It means the four-cylinder is a revvy alloy lump, producing its 228hp at 7,000rpm, while 184lb ft comes at 3,700rpm.
Clearly, this is to remain a sports car in the traditional sense, prioritising handling balance over outright performance. It’s affirmed by Subaru’s decision to mount the 2.4-litre engine even lower in the bay than the old 2.0-litre, bringing the car’s centre of gravity closer to the ground. That, along with the more rigid structure of the two-door body, points to an enhancement of the original formula. No complaints there. Same goes with the gearbox choices; as standard the BRZ comes with a six-speed manual, while a six-speed auto is an option.
The rear-drive car gains a standard limited-slip differential on the rear axle, while the traction control now has variable levels of interference. The standard size wheel is 17 inches, but the higher-grade Limited model gets 18s. In its entry trim, the BRZ weighs 1,277kg, which is barely 20kg more than the old car, and the wheelbase is 2575mm, just 5mm more than the Mk1. It’s exactly the same width at 1,775mm, and runs on MacPherson-type struts up front with double wishbone rear suspension, said to provide “outstanding bump absorption”.
The looks are similarly evolutionary, with a familiar silhouette bearing new lights and bumpers with racier features. Inside is where the biggest gain have been made, with a much more cohesive dash design sporting a larger infotainment screen (of course) and a digital instrument cluster. Most importantly, the sports seats look to be mounted nice and low in the structure with a round wheel in seemingly easy reach. The launch photos include a car bearing three pedals and manual gear lever, which is a nice signal of intent.
Everything looks pretty much spot on from where we’re sitting; we await with high hopes for Toyota’s version of this co-developed sports car platform. It’s due next year – giving Toyota one of the most enviable sporting line-ups out there. Consider a faster and better handling GT86 to sit alongside the GR Supra and some new all-wheel drive hot hatch that’s sort of set the internet on fire…
- Toyota GT86 | PH Heroes
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