The Subaru BRZ and the Toyota GR86 are identical twins. Both vehicles have the same base, engine, interior components, and even have the identical graphics for the instrument cluster. But noticeable distinctions give each a distinct personality. The BRZ’s front end has a happy expression compared to the GR86’s angry expression because it has its own headlamps and bumpers. The Subaru must now be the happier twin as a result, right? As for the BRZ’s more conventional tapered trunk lid, the GR86 makes do with an unusual, elevated ducktail spoiler.
There are variations also underneath the epidermis. The BRZ is tuned with firmer front springs and softer rear springs than the GR86, which should produce a dartier front end and a calmer, grippier back axle. Both vehicles retain their rear-wheel-drive configuration. The entire review of the 2022 Toyota GR86 can be found here, but on dry city streets, the only differences we could notice between the two were the BRZ’s firmer front springs and what appears to be a slightly quicker steering ratio. One of our complaints with GR86 was that it didn’t seem to take as much wheel movement to turn the front. The BRZ seems more lively at low speeds because every tiny movement flips the front so swiftly and without delay. Nevertheless, it’s a minor distinction, because both steering instances give the drive a conscious life. It’s simply unusual for us to get into a car and feel so at one with the vehicle, and the clear input and fidelity that both offer make it simple to achieve harmony with the road.
Similar to the BRZ’s suspension, which is entirely suitable for daily driving, it is compliant, rigid at low speeds but becomes supple as the numbers increase. When we fling the Subaru around a corner at speed, it takes the same amount of time to get it sideways, and it is just as prone to let its tail slide out when flirting with the tires. At the limit, both feel brisk and quick, and you can sense when the rears are close to give.
Unless your butt dyno is calibrated by Max Verstappen or if you’re tracking them back-to-back, the typical driver (us) probably won’t notice any differences between the Japanese names. There is therefore no right response when people ask us which one they should purchase. The choice between the two is ultimately determined by brand loyalty and the exterior’s emotive appeal. You should feel at ease to enjoy the remainder of this fantastic package after that.
The 2.4-liter four-cylinder shared by both vehicles is a peach and comes from the Subaru stable. It has a considerable 23 horsepower and 28 lb-ft greater torque than the 2.0-litre engine in the previous BRZ, which produces 228 horsepower and 184 lb-ft. Even while it might not seem like much, the additional torque and the fact that it kicks in earlier at 3,700 rpm have a significant impact on how the BRZ performs now. The mid-range is now full of enthusiasm, and the second to third gear rip is one of the most satisfying. It no longer feels like you have to climb a mountain to have any kind of forward propulsion.
For usable thrust, you still want to maintain the needle above 3,000 rpm, and there is little point in going beyond 7,000 rpm, where the BRZ starts to struggle for air. Compared to the Mazda MX-5, it has a more robust and characterful engine, however it isn’t as polished, refined, or rev-happy due to its tendency to wander across its powerband. But if you push it hard, the BRZ will accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in just 6.3 seconds, which is almost a full second faster than previously (7.2 s).
Even giving customers the choice of three pedals is unusual in today’s society; it is a luxury for some, a necessity for others, and an unheard-of idea for the vast majority. The fact that the BRZ isn’t a challenging vehicle to drive adds to its appeal for beginners. Toyota and Subaru have kept this method of rowing gears alive longer than most. After experiencing the genius and perfection of the Civic Si shifter, perhaps we’re simply being picky about the shifter travel, which is precise and brief with a slight hint of notchiness. Although the gearing isn’t exceptionally tall, the clutch bite point is reliable and forgiving, and it rewards precision shifting at the right RPMs.
The foot well doesn’t feel as confined or as tight as the MX-5, and the pedals are ideally placed for heel-and-toe moves. For my petite six-foot frame, the entire cabin feels roomy, and the driving position is excellent—low down with great outward sight. However, we do wish the steering wheel could be turned more in the direction of the driver. It’s noteworthy that Subaru’s EyeSight offers automated reverse braking, adaptive cruise control, and other driver aid functions, but is only offered with automatic transmissions for obvious reasons.
Which of the Toybaru twins speaks to your heart is ultimately what counts. You still receive the same familial driving experience regardless of the badge or the distinctive paint colors. By doing so, both greatly increase driver involvement and engagement. It’s difficult to find a better performance deal than this pair when priced around $35,000. Just pick your poison.