2022 Subaru BRZ automatic road test
The Subaru BRZ has one of the highest manual grab rates of any new car Offers both manual and automatic transmissions. Back when we asked Subaru in 2019, we learned that in the model’s history, only 22% of buyers opted for the available automatic mode. That makes our hearts glow with handcrafted joy.
However, it is easy to ignore the automatic feature in the rear-wheel drive system sport car, 22% is not nothing – more than 40,000 BRZs found homes during the first generation run.
Even if the percentages tell us that many of you will leave the lot with a manual, some will instead find peace with two pedals. You’re reading this review because you’re curious to drive the BRZ auto for yourself, or you’re here to peek over the fence to see what auto BRZ ownership is like. And spoiler alert: It’s a better deal than you might initially suspect.
Many important points around the six-speed automatic helper This new generation BRZ be as enjoyable as it is. Regardless of transmission choice, you get the newly created 2.4-liter flat-four 228 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. You also get a limited-slip rear differential and all the same chassis and suspension as the manual BRZ gets.
As for the critical elements of the transmission, there are both good and bad. Subaru went with a traditional six-speed automatic, which is at once sad when you compare it to the dual-clutch automatic seen in the BRZ’s competition. Both VWDSG’s in GTI and HyundaiDCT of in Veloster WOMEN can produce incredibly quick gear changes, making the driving experience almost as enjoyable as the manual versions of those cars. Meanwhile, the BRZ’s six-speed can’t react quickly to paddle touches.
The BRZ automatic is also slower than the manual on a straight line. Subaru estimates a 0-60 mph run in 6.5 seconds for the automatic, while the manual drops it to 6.0 seconds. This is largely because the automatic has longer gears. Squeeze out the high-rpm flat-four engine up to 7,500rpm – cheering the disappearance of the previous engine’s mid-range torque – but the ride up the tachometer is just a bit slower than you hair wants it to be. As a consolation, at least the engine sound (and engine noise) will sublimate during the ascent.
Continuing in the positive field, Subaru has given its love of automatics to this generation by adding a new “Sports Mode” for smarter gearshifts during spirited driving. Subaru says it uses the yaw sensor to predict downshifts and know when to hold gears longer. When put to the test, the new Sports mode performed very well. The automatic BRZ will pop down a few gears when you’re up brake Work hard around the corner, keep the gear low all the way through the sweeper, and never attempt to shift at the opportune moment.
The autopilot is much smarter than we thought, and it turns what can be a frustrating time into something where you can simply enjoy the BRZ’s amazing dynamics.
If you choose to use the paddle shifters instead of letting the car decide for itself, this is where the sad trombone comes in to play a little tune. Shift speeds aren’t the same as molasses, but they’re noticeably slower than any other sports car with an automatic transmission. Running it to the red line requires a bit of forward thinking, requiring you to rhythmically tap the uniquely sculpted paddle before you hit the limit to turn in time. Otherwise, you’ll quickly cut fuel and get bogged down between shifts. If you’re someone who likes to use the paddle shifters frequently and to the fullest, the automatic BRZ can be a frustrating experience. You don’t even bother using the shifter with the lever itself – it’s oriented in the wrong direction, so you move the lever forward to shift and back to shift. That orientation is less disappointing in people’s movement intersection, but Subaru should know better for a sports car.
The best reason to use paddle shifters is to take advantage of the BRZ’s fun-to-drive characteristics by holding down gears longer than the computer deems necessary. Press and hold the traction control and low traction controls Michelin Tires are yours to play with. Just like the original BRZ charmed with Prius-spec tyres, this BRZ is full of exciting, predictable fun, usable at any speed. It’s not rock-hard or brimming with limitless traction, but the car’s dynamics are simply fun. The low-lying flat-four keeps the center of gravity extremely low, which largely contributes to this car’s agile and balanced feel through corners. Its 2,864-pound curb weight (49 pounds heavier than the manual) proves once again that there’s no substitute for lightness, as the BRZ is practically exhilarating when thrown to the left and right, reacting with super-fast reflexes from every twist of the wheel steering wheel. It’s pure fun and nothing gets in your way.
We really want to say the last part. Sitting in the BRZ’s interior, it’s quick to see that this is the best 2000s interior for a new 2022 car we’ve ever seen. All your important controls are large knobs and knobs, which can be easily adjusted and controlled without having to take your eyes off the road. They are near and responsive with enough click feedback to respond. It’s like the anti-GTI interior; Volkswagen fully loaded Mk 8 Golf with enough sensation and touch control to drive us crazy to a certain extent. Meanwhile, the BRZ received the same enthusiastically. It’s a little haven for anyone who craves simpler, less digital interiors of the past.
However, that doesn’t mean it’s not modern where it should be. Subaru’s infotainment still runs Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto is standard in our base model tester. It works without a hitch, and the super basic layout is easy to navigate if you want to plug in your phone. The digital part of the instrument cluster intelligently transitions its look from a traditional circular tachometer to a horizontal split view as you swap in and out of Sport mode. Subaru’s driver assistance features such as adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and automatic emergency braking are standard on the automatic transmission. Plus, all the steering wheel controls are well placed and never interfere with the driving action. It’s the ideal combination of analog and digital for an affordable sports car and we couldn’t be happier to see it.
In terms of utility, the BRZ is still lacking. Your friends might hate you for putting them in the backseat. The trunk can swallow a week’s worth of groceries for two people, but no more. Its advantage over the Miata remains, as the existence of a rear seat gives you the option to transfer more cargo there. Plus, in an emergency, you could theoretically move yourself and three other people from one place to another, however uncomfortable. That said, the BRZ, regardless of the gearbox, won’t be an easy one-car solution for most people.
Subaru got it right with this next-generation BRZ in almost every respect, but it leaves plenty of potential by not developing a high-performance automatic transmission to complement the six-speed manual transmission. Other affordable sports cars or hot hatches offer a lot more flexible automatics for you to choose from, so it’s easy to overtake the BRZ automatic. Even with the obvious improvements made to cars in 2022, anyone looking for the joy of driving without a third pedal will likely find a better time in another car at this price – $30,555 to be exact as tested. And it probably goes without saying, but after trying the automatic, we’re now doubly sure that the manual BRZ will be what finds its place in our garage.