A turbocharged Subaru BRZ sounds nice, but there are costs attached to it, too

Visually, the second-generation Subaru BRZ is a major departure from its predecessor. It’s also packing a bigger 2.4-liter engine, which counts as an answered prayer to everyone who wanted the new BRZ to pack more power than the first-generation model.

The 2.4-liter four-cylinder mill is still naturally aspirated, bursting the bubble of those who wanted the new BRZ’s engine to be turbocharged. As disappointing — for some — as that sounds, Subaru had reasons for sticking with a naturally aspirated engine.

What’s all the fuss about?

Subaru Says There's a Good Reason the 2022 BRZ Doesn't Have a Turbo Drivetrain
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Calls for more power sat at the heart of Subaru’s objective for the new BRZ, and the automaker addressed that in a satisfactory fashion.

The new BRZ is now powered by a larger 2.4-liter horizontally opposed, naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine that produces 228 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque.

The new output represents an increase of 23 horsepower and 28 pound-feet of torque, which is great news for people who wanted more oomph out of the BRZ. The automaker even managed to keep the new BRZ’s weight just slightly above what the first-generation model weighed. With a weight of just 2,815 pounds, the new BRZ is just 17 pounds heavier than the model it’s replacing.

All of these point to a more performance-focused sports car, and the masses should be rejoicing, right? Well, the new BRZ still isn’t turbocharged, and a lot of people are curious as to why that’s the case.

Why isn’t the new Subaru BRZ not turbocharged?

Subaru Says There's a Good Reason the 2022 BRZ Doesn't Have a Turbo Exterior
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In a nutshell, Subaru explained that turbocharging the new BRZ would’ve led to a lot of compromises on other areas of the car that could’ve compromised the performance gains it would’ve otherwise had.

Subaru decided against using the turbocharger because it would’ve raised the car’s center of gravity by a significant amount. Sure, we’re talking about a few centimeters, but even that plays a huge role in altering a car’s handling and performance. Subaru had a decision to make: fit a turbocharger and coax more power out of the FA24 engine or get rid of the turbocharger and keep the sports car’s center of gravity right where it’s supposed to be.

Subaru Says There's a Good Reason the 2022 BRZ Doesn't Have a Turbo Drivetrain
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Beyond that choice, adding a turbocharger also has consequences for Subaru’s bottom line. More importantly, a turbocharged engine would increase the cost of development, and increased cost in that department would mean a higher price tag for the people. That would move the BRZ away from its identity as an affordable and lightweight sports car that handles like a fine Subie.

Will this quell the complaints from those who want a turbocharger?

Subaru Says There's a Good Reason the 2022 BRZ Doesn't Have a Turbo Exterior
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Probably not, but that’s what the aftermarket industry is for. It’s easy to be an armchair quarterback and criticize Subaru for the compromises it made and didn’t make with regards to the next-generation BRZ. But the automaker made these decisions based on what it thought would be best for the sports car and the people that would eventually buy it.

There’s no perfect formula to building a perfect sports car anyway, and even with all the difficult choices it had to make, Subaru managed to roll out a new and improved BRZ that, for now at least, is leaps and bounds better than its predecessor.

2022 Subaru BRZ specifications
Engine 2.0-liter flat-four
Horsepower 228 HP
Torque 184 LB-FT
Transmission six-speed manual/six-speed automatic
Weight 2,815 pounds (manual)/2,881 pounds (automatic)

Source: Road & Track

Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read More
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