2022 Subaru BRZ vs. 2021 Toyota Supra 2.0: Which Sports Car Should You Track?
2021 Toyota GR Supra 2.0 vs. 2022 Subaru BRZ comparison highlights:
- While a bigger, more powerful engine isn’t the only 2022 Subaru BRZ update, it significantly improves an already-solid sports car
- It’s more powerful and faster than the BRZ, but the 2021 Toyota GR Supra 2.0 is also heavier and more expensive without necessarily being a better value
- Both rear-wheel-drive sports cars were fun to drive around Road America, but the lighter, nimbler, less expensive BRZ was the more enjoyable track car
For as powerful and fast as modern sports cars are, their performance comes at a price—literally. Fortunately for cash-strapped enthusiasts, a handful of brand-new affordable sports cars are still sliding out of dealers. And the Subaru BRZ/Toyota GR86, updated for 2022, are leading the reasonably-priced charge with the Miata.
However, if you spend a little more, you can get something like the 2021 Toyota GR Supra 2.0. And while it doesn’t have the Supra 3.0’s six-cylinder power, it’s not a less-fun driving experience, especially on a racetrack. But if you do want one of these four-cylinder sports cars as a track car, which should you spend money on? Luckily, I recently spent some time lapping both at Wisconsin’s Road America to figure that out.
|2022 Subaru BRZ Premium||2021 Toyota GR Surpa 2.0|
|Price Range||$27,995 (base)|
$29,595 (as tested)
$47,895 (as tested)
|Engine||2.4-liter boxer-four||2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder|
|Horsepower||228 hp||255 hp|
|Torque||184 lb-ft||295 lb-ft|
|MPG Rating||Manual: 20 mpg city/27 mpg highway|
Automatic: 21 mpg city/30 mpg highway
|25 mpg city/32 mpg highway|
|Curb Weight||Manual: 2815 lbs|
Automatic: 2864 lbs
|0-60 MPH Time||5.4 seconds (manual, Car and Driver)||4.7 seconds (Car and Driver)|
2022 Subaru BRZ Premium
- Pros: Lighter, cheaper, offers a manual, great forward visibility
- Cons: Less power, not as efficient, fewer standard safety features
Although the outgoing Toyotbaru twins were dynamically excellent, they suffered from a major flaw. Their 2.0-liter boxer-four engines had a significant torque dip in the middle of their rev range that curtailed their performance. Also, revving past the dip wasn’t particularly pleasant to the ears.
For 2022, though, the Subaru BRZ and the Toyota GR86 solve both issues at once with their new 2.4-liter engines. The boxer-four still lacks a turbo, but it makes 23 more horsepower and 28 more lb-ft of torque. But more importantly, the torque dip is gone, and the engine responds more eagerly. And, unlike in 2020, the manual and automatic models have identical outputs. However, in contrast to much of the car market, the manual BRZ is faster.
The 2022 Subaru BRZ doesn’t just have a bigger engine, though. Like the 2022 GR86, the BRZ has a stiffer chassis, more aluminum body panels, and grippier optional tires. As a result, despite its bigger engine, the 2022 model weighs roughly the same as the 2020 one. However, its center of gravity is even lower, Car and Driver says. And while it’s mechanically identical to the GR86, the sports cars have OEM-specific suspension tuning.
In addition, the 2022 BRZ has better interior materials, a bigger center touchscreen, and a new digital gauge cluster. And if you want more standard features, such as cornering-responsive headlights, you can step up from the base Premium to the Limited, which costs $2500 more.
2021 Toyota GR Supra 2.0
- Pros: More powerful, faster in a straight line, better fuel economy, slightly more premium-feeling interior, more rear cargo space
- Cons: Heavier, more expensive even without options, no manual, less steering feedback, wind buffeting, less visibility
Introduced as the less powerful, more affordable Toyota Supra for 2021, the four-cylinder 2.0 doesn’t have all the six-cylinder model’s electronics. However, while it’s down on power and acceleration compared to the Supra 3.0, the 2.0 isn’t exactly chopped liver in comparison.
For one, not only does the 2021 Toyota GR Supra 2.0 ride on the 3.0’s platform, but it’s also lighter than the six-cylinder car. Secondly, it has the same stability control and steering programming upgrades as the 3.0. It has the same upgraded bump stops and new radiator and strut-tower braces, too. Also, it’s noticeably cheaper than the 2021 Supra 3.0; that’s vital for keeping the sports car market alive.
However, the lower price has a downside. Not only does the Supra 2.0 have fewer standard features than the 3.0, but the 2.0 doesn’t even offer some of the 3.0’s goodies as options. And that becomes a significant problem for the Toyota GR Supra 2.0 once you start browsing the 2022 BRZ’s options.
2022 Subaru BRZ Premium vs. 2021 Toyota GR Supra 2.0: Features
They’re their respective lineups’ base trims, but the 2022 Subaru BRZ Premium and 2021 Toyota GR Supra 2.0 aren’t barren, especially from a performance perspective.
For example, both have standard mechanical limited-slip differentials, adjustable stability and traction control, and subtle rear spoilers. Both sports cars also have multiple driving modes, well-bolstered sport seats, and, in automatic form, paddle shifters. However, unlike the Supra 2.0, the 2022 BRZ lacks launch control. And the sports cars really start to drift apart when you get into the daily-convenience features
The 2021 Toyota GR Supra 2.0 I drove at Road America had the $3485 Safety & Technology Package. This package adds adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, rear parking sensors, rear cross-traffic alert, a 12-speaker JBL audio system, and an 8” touchscreen with navigation and wireless Apple CarPlay. If you don’t check this package, the Supra 2.0 is stuck with only four speakers and no touchscreen. And while its center screen is slightly bigger than the 2022 BRZ’s touchscreen, Subaru offers Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as standard.
However, if you want advanced driver-assistance safety features in the BRZ Premium, you have to get the automatic, Roadshow notes. And if you want blind-spot monitoring, that’s only standard on the automatic Limited model. But even a fully-equipped 2022 Subaru BRZ Limited costs less than $40,000. And that’s with the destination charge, The Drive adds.
So, while the GR Supra 2.0 is faster, the BRZ is a better value for money where features are concerned. The Toyota Supra has more cargo space, though.
The BRZ didn’t need a turbo to be more enjoyable at the Road America racetrack
Full disclosure: I only got one lap of Road America’s 14-turn, roughly-4-mile track in both the 2022 Subaru BRZ Premium and 2021 Toyota GR Supra 2.0. Also, the lap was for evaluation purposes, not outright speed. As a result, I can’t definitively speak about things like multi-lap brake fade or long-distance fuel economy.
However, I can tell you that, while it’s not as effortlessly fast as the Supra 3.0, the Supra 2.0 is more involving and more fun. Its transmission shifts just as smoothly and quickly, but the four-cylinder’s idiosyncrasies mean you shift and pay attention more. And with less weight over the nose, it turns in more eagerly and feels nimbler overall.
But you know what’s even nimbler and more fun? The 2022 Subaru BRZ. It’s just as stable and planted in the corners as the Supra 2.0, yet because it’s over 300 pounds lighter, it rotates into those corners more eagerly. And while its steering isn’t the most talkative, it delivers noticeably more feedback than the Supra’s rack while being just as accurate.
Furthermore, while the 2021 Toyota GR Supra 2.0’s interior isn’t claustrophobic per se, the 2022 Subaru BRZ’s cabin feels airier, likely because of the lower dashboard. You can see the wheels better, meaning you can hit your lines more accurately.
And while the BRZ’s boxer engine isn’t as powerful as the Supra’s turbocharged mill, being naturally aspirated, it responds even more eagerly and linearly. Plus, while the Supra 2.0’s engine doesn’t sound bad, the 2022 BRZ sounds better, with a raspy growl that deepens delightfully as the RPMs rise. Also, its automatic is no less smooth or responsive. And again, because you have to manage the engine more, you’re more involved in the drive, which is the whole point of a sports car.
Which four-cylinder sports car should you take to the track?
Admittedly, the 2021 Toyota GR Supra 2.0 has a lot going for it as a daily-drivable track car. It might be more expensive, but it offers more performance, a longer features list and is more practical in many ways. Also, being more efficient, you’d likely get more laps out of it given the same amount of fuel.
However, if your track-day goal is having fun, rather than setting the fastest lap, the 2022 Subaru BRZ edges it out. With a more responsive engine, lower price, and lighter curb weight, driving it at Road America left me with a bigger grin. And wishing I had time for more laps.
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