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2021 Subaru BRZ revealed, could be in Australia late next year

Subaru's second-generation rear-drive budget coupe has premiered in the USA with an evolutionary look, a more powerful 2.4-litre naturally-aspirated engine, and a significantly upgraded interior.

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Mike Costello
Comparisons Editor

The second-generation Subaru BRZ has been revealed in the United States – and while there’s nothing official, an Australian launch as soon as late 2021 is expected.

As before it’s a joint development project with Toyota, which hasn’t yet revealed its second-generation 86 version. That car is expected to take on the company’s sporty ‘GR’ branding.

There’ll be no prizes for guessing what the new Subaru BRZ is, considering it’s no stylistic revolution – especially when viewed from the side.

But there’s a new hexagonal grille set low and flanked by boldly-designed intakes, sculpted air outlets behind the front wheels, aggressive side skirts, subtle character lines, bulged rear haunches, and very different tail light and boot designs.

Under the bonnet is, of course, a Boxer flat-four engine, and the press release makes no reference to a turbocharger. However, the displacement has been expanded from 2.0- to 2.4-litres, plus there are apparently intake/exhaust efficiency gains, and fewer internal friction points.

The horizontally-opposed donk uses Toyota’s D-4S direct- and port-injection system, and puts out a claimed 170kW of maximum power and 249Nm of torque.

There’s no mention of the engine speeds where these outputs arrive, but it’s safe to assume it’ll need revs and plenty of ’em. As a reminder, the old car’s 2.0-litre engine made 152kW and 212Nm.

Keep in mind, these numbers are listed as “preliminary data” specific to the USA, and previous leaks have suggested a 162kW output. We’ll see what the production model ends up offering.

Of course, it remains a Subaru outlier in that it’s rear-wheel drive (RWD). It also continues to come with six-speed manual or automatic transmission options, the latter of which gets a new Sport mode that holds lower ratios for longer, to punch harder out of slow corners.

It appears that the platform beneath the body is a revision rather than a wholesale replacement, though Subaru does say it has applied some lessons learned from the modular AWD Subaru Global Platform that underpins many of its other models.

“Adopting new methods such as inner frame construction and structural adhesive application, BRZ’s new body delivers a 60 per cent increase in front lateral bending rigidity and a 50 per cent increase in torsional stiffness,” the company claims.

“The stiffer body contributes to improved steering response, more nimble handling and better traction in cornering.”

Subaru also says it used aluminium panels for the roof, front guards, and bonnet to offset the extra weight of the stroked engine, though we expect this new car to be a smidge heavier.

At 4265mm long, 1775mm wide and 1310mm tall on a 2575mm wheelbase, the new BRZ is 25mm longer and 15mm lower than the outgoing car, and rides on a 5mm longer wheelbase. The claimed width remains unchanged.

The suspension layout comprises MacPherson struts with lower L-arms and coils, and double-wishbones with a stabiliser bar. Models equipped with 18-inch aluminium alloy wheels feature Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres.

Inside, the simple and horizontally aligned instruments and the low bonnet “provide a wide view for more focus on driving”, in the words of Subaru. The gauges combine a 7.0-inch TFT with a segmented LCT readout, but can be made to appear analogue.

The contoured seats don’t appear to lack bolstering, and in the press shots have red stitching and accents. Below the 8.0-inch centre touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are three circular digitised dials for ventilation control, and some miscellaneous rocker switches.

Subaru makes mention of its EyeSight Driver Assist Technology that packages active safety functions such as autonomous emergency braking and adaptive cruise control. But interestingly, it only specifically mentions models equipped with the automatic transmission as featuring these functions.

“Collision safety performance is improved via the stronger body, using larger amounts of high-tensile steel and enhanced passenger protection systems,” it adds.

Now, the bit you’re all dying to know: when do we get it in Australia?

“It’s tremendously exciting to get these first glimpses into second generation BRZ,” says Subaru Australia’s general manager Blair Read.

“This car gave the whole sports segment a massive shake when it originally launched in 2012 and based on what we know so far about the second generation, we’ve got very high hopes for its ongoing appeal in Australia.”

While no dates have been confirmed, we’ve previously been told that a local launch in the fourth quarter of 2021 is on the cards. We sure hope it’s before the end of next year.


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