Hype. Buzz. All of it for one car, from a very specific Japanese manufacturer, renowned for performance on a budget, and highly modifiable platforms. We speak of course, of the 2022 Subaru BRZ Coupe S, the range topping variant, tested here.

The hysteria is understandable though, especially considering how successful the first iteration of the BRZ/86 was and has been since its launch in 2012. They're not uncommon. In fact, they're everywhere, and often, they're being driven by young adults.

Any wonder then that the first 500 units of Subaru’s new coupe are already spoken for. Toyota will most likely find itself in a similar situation when it finally launches its version of the new model, in the form of the GR 86.

We were lucky enough to be loaned not one, but two BRZs, the first with a manual transmission, in Sapphire Blue Pearl.  The second came with an automatic transmission, this time in World Rally Blue Pearl, Subaru’s signature paint code.

Having driven multiple iterations of the first generation BRZ (and it's 86 sibling), we could hardly contain our excitement, especially for the manual gearbox. And while there aren't bucket loads of changes, the new models are simply so much better.


The BRZ’s front end has been redesigned, and new headlights and front bumper make it look sleeker. It’s more aggressive and sportier than it was in the past. The side profile is also a thing of beauty, despite the removal of fender and mirror mounted side indicators.

The rear completes the entire car. Basically, it’s a baby Honda NSX. We’re all about that, as it’s a truly sexy thing.

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We're not focused solely on looks here. Performance is key too, and the BRZ is now powered by a 2.4-litre flat four Boxer engine. That powerplant is mated to either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed torque converter automatic gearbox.

It delivers maximum power output of 174kW and 250Nm of torque, to the rear wheels. Drivability is amazing. It takes off without hesitation and hits max torque at such low revs it’s almost hard to believe. Throttle response is on another level.

There’s plenty of power throughout the entire rev range too, so it makes for both a good cruise, as well as an exceptional spirited drive. There are however some caveats to this opinion, and they're mostly about usability.

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On the road

Die-hard enthusiasts will opt for the manual as it’s a great base for modification and would be excellent for track-use. But if you’re planning on using the manual transmission for daily-driving, especially in that hideous thing we call traffic, you’re in for a bad time.

The clutch is relatively forgiving and quite grabby for a standard factory unit. The pedal, however, is the opposite. It’s equipped with a helper spring, so there’s a bit of resistance when you initially engage it.

Once you’ve hit the engagement point though, you’ll find your foot is suddenly on the floor and there is little resistance. We’ve concluded that this is to help people who are new to manual transmissions, but for seasoned veterans, it makes things more difficult.

Sure, it’s probably easy to remove the helper spring to give the pedal a more natural feel, but we’re writing this review under the assumption that you’re not changing anything. We spent a lot of time perfecting take off, and we didn’t come close to getting the hang of it.

The automatic gearbox on the other hand, is smooth and faultless. It changes gears quickly and does so without causing any weight-shifting in the car’s body. The ride can be a bit stiff for those who aren’t used to traditional sports cars though.

We found the steering offered a genuine sporty and direct feel, although we’d quite like it to be a DCT.


Inside the Coupe S, you’ll find heated suede and leather bucket seats with red stitching, which are the only feature separating the S from the base model, which comes with cloth trim.

Electronic adjustment is standard in the Coupe S too, although you may crush your rear seat passengers. Legally, it's a four-seater, but as has always been the case with the BRZ, we're talking glorified parcel shelf here (or toddler seating).

There are two ISOFIX points and top mount tethers in the back, but a rear facing child seat will compromise the comfort in the front row. Only a forward-facing child seat is practical in the BRZ’s small cabin.

The roof line is low too, so you’ll struggle to get taller people into the car. All that aside, the 7.0-inch instrument cluster is completely digital now and quite pretty, especially when you engage track mode, which transforms the tachometer.

It really is for track use, or ultra-spirited driving, and it will turn all the assists off, so be sure you want to use it. There’s also an array of readings and gauges, with a lap-timer included.

There’s an 8.0-inch entertainment unit mounted below the central air vents. It’s large and sticks out, but it works. It’s responsive and smooth, with in-built satellite navigation, and DAB+ digital radio. It comes with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The automatic version of the BRZ also comes with the added bonus of an extra cup holder in the centre console, rather than being hidden away. There’s also a large bottle holder in each door tray.

Pop the boot and you'll find just 201-litres of space, with a small opening too. This is further hindered by the exposed full-sized spare wheel, sat in a gaping hole right in the middle of the boot.


Safety varies between both the manual and automatic models, with the manual coming standard with cruise control and blind spot monitoring. The auto sports Subaru's brilliant EyeSight safety system, adding a host of extra tech.

This includes autonomous emergency braking, rear cross traffic alert, lane keep and lane depart assist, and adaptive cruise control.


Pricing for the 2022 Subaru BRZ Coupe S starts at $40,190 for the manual and $43,990 for the auto, with both plus on-roads. Subaru offers a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty and capped price servicing. For the price, the BRZ is a lot of car, with a lot of potential. 

To put your name down for the second allocation, you can visit Subaru Australia's website

Our 2022 Subaru BRZ Coupe S test vehicles were supplied by Subaru Australia. To find out more, contact your local Subaru dealer. Pictures courtesy of J_Hui Design / Photography.

For the full story, visit Exhaust Notes Australia.

For a great deal on financing your new purchase, contact Australia's best reviewed finance broker on 1300 Credit (1300 273 348) today or visit CreditOne.com.au

Jordan Ballard

Jordan Ballard

Automotive Content Editor

Jordan is a car finance and automotive industry specialist at Only Cars. With over 20 years of experience with frontline and management roles in sales, finance and other areas, Jordan has an incredible understanding of the automotive industry. As Automotive Content Editor, Jordan loves sharing his passion for cars with the Only Cars audience.