2022 Subaru BRZ and 2022 Toyota 86 In Gestation
Overview: There will be no 2021 versions of either model, the first 2022 BRZ to arrive at Planet Subaru in the spring of 2021. It will be all-new model, the first since 2013. Atypically, Subaru is skipping an entire model year of the BRZ. You can buy or order a 2020 BRZ into the beginning of 2021 but they will not be building a 2021 model. You can order a 2022 Subaru BRZ from Planet Subaru.
The laws of economics dictate that low-volume models get updated less frequently than the top sellers (e.g. Forester and Outback). Those volume products are usually all-new every five years, with a significant "refresh" in the fourth year. Re-engineering a vehicle can cost many millions of dollars, so the vehicles that Subaru sells in boutique quantities receive less frequent updates...Subaru annually sells over 700,000 vehicles in the United States and only a few thousand of them are BRZs. The quantities are so small relative to the development costs that it wouldn't even exist were it not for the partnership with Toyota selling a very similar vehicle as the Toyota 86 (formerly the Scion FR-S). So it's a big deal and a rare event to get a new Subaru sports car.
Subaru is famously tight-lipped in advance of their vehicle introductions, so they have not announced many details. We can guess that the extremely low volume of BRZs and 86s produced means that it would be cost-prohibitive to migrate the chassis to Subaru's Global Platform (that underpins the rest of the Subaru lineup) or Toyota's TNGA platform that carries much of their fleet. Expect a revised version of the current chassis.
The BRZ currently rides with a 205 horsepower, 2.0 liter, naturally-aspirated boxer engine. We would guess that the new 2022 BRZ will arrive with a variant of Subaru's most advanced 2.4 liter boxer engine. That bigger engine currently produces 260 horsepower with a turbocharger as the standard mill in the Ascent. (It's also optional on 2020-and-newer Outbacks). That's a compact engine, so it should fit in the tight engine bay of the BRZ with minimal repacking. That mill powers the two-and-a-quarter ton Ascent to 60mph in around seven seconds, and the somewhat lighter Outback to 60mph in about six seconds, so you can imagine how quickly it would move the BRZ, which tips the scales at less than 3,000 pounds. However, the BRZ was engineered as a high-revving, balanced track car rather than a drag strip carpet-bomber, so we would probably see the 2.4 liter mill without the turbocharger. It is not clear whether the existing feather-light platform could accommodate a heavier, more powerful engine. Also, the turbocharged engine is more expensive than the naturally-aspirated version so it would affect the value proposition.
Subaru Corporation has made no announcements confirming or denying the foregoing, but we will continue to update this page as updates are made.