Despite the Internet crying out for a more powerful, turbocharged Subaru BRZ/Toyota GT86 from the factory for years, it seems destined to never happen. The 2022 version of the former was revealed earlier this week, with a new engine, but still, one that does without forced induction.
Speaking to Road & Track, Subaru of America PR head Dominick Infante explained why. The BRZ’s 2.4-litre ‘FA24’ flat-four does indeed have a turbocharger fitted in the Ascent SUV, making a handy 257bhp. You’d think that’d be a great output in a rear-drive coupe like the BRZ, but it’s not that simple.
In the Ascent, the turbocharger is mounted below the engine. Using this version of the unit in the BRZ would mean mounting it higher, raising the centre of gravity and compromising the handling. Since the launch of the original BRZ and GT86, both Subaru and Toyota have made a big deal about the boxer engine allowing for a low CoG, which a snail would spoil.
Adding a turbocharger would have also added weight, complexity and cost. That last point is particularly important for Toyota’s version of the 2022 BRZ, the ‘GR86’, since it needs to slot neatly below the inline-four GR Supra in its performance car range. As it stands, the expectation is for the BRZ to be around $30,000, making it reasonably affordable in sports car terms.
As for the 2.4-litre lump, it should answer most of the criticisms aimed at the 2.0-litre unit it replaces. Sure, 225bhp seem like a modest figure when modern hot hatches routinely flirt with the 300bhp mark, but it’s enough to make the car feel a tad quicker without spoiling the whole point of it. The peak power point is still nice and high at 7000rpm, so it’ll also be a joy to extract.
Meanwhile, the torque figure of 184lb ft may not sound like a huge improvement over the 156lb ft served up by the 2.0, but what’s more important is where it arrives. While the old car made you wait until 6400rpm, the full delivery of twist arrives at 3700rpm in the new one. This means it’ll be a more pleasant car to drive around normally, and when you’re on it, there won’t be a ‘torque hole’ as there infamously is in the mid-range of the outgoing model.
The 2022 BRZ is, as far as we know, not making it over to Europe. The Toyota GR86 sibling will be, however, but we’ll be waiting long to see it - a debut isn’t expected until later in 2021. A report previously claimed the GR86 would be turbocharged, but the car is much more likely to share its mechanical setup with the BRZ.