The 2022 BRZ isn’t on sale yet, but Subaru’s cheapest sports car is already generating plenty of buzz. However, it faces plenty of competition in the four-cylinder segment, and not just from the likes of the Mazda Miata. Four-cylinder muscle cars like the Chevy Camaro 2.0T have gained a sporty edge over the years. Does the 2022 BRZ have what it takes to take the Camaro on?
2022 Subaru BRZ vs. 2021 Chevy Camaro 2.0T 1LE: lightness vs. power
While the 2022 Subaru BRZ and the 2021 Chevy Camaro 2.0T (aka ‘Turbo’) 1LE are both rear-wheel-drive sports cars, they approach speed in different ways.
That’s not to say power isn’t important to the 2022 Subaru BRZ. The coupe’s new engine is arguably the biggest news regarding its update.
The 2022 BRZ has a 2.4-liter flat-4 engine rated at 228 hp and 184 lb-ft. That’s 23 more hp and 28 more lb-ft than the outgoing model, Car and Driver reports. Plus, the 2.4-liter engine’s peak torque arrives significantly earlier than in the 2.0-liter one, Motor Trend reports. A 6-speed manual is standard, while the optional 6-speed automatic now has a Sport Mode.
However, in terms of raw output, the 2021 Chevy Camaro Turbo smokes the Subaru BRZ. Its 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine makes 275 hp and 295 lb-ft in base and 1LE form, Autoweek reports. While the Camaro Turbo also offers a 6-speed manual, its optional transmission is a 10-speed automatic. The latter, though, isn’t available on the 1LE trim.
But the Subaru BRZ has at least one big advantage over the Chevy Camaro Turbo: weight. In 1LE trim, the Camaro Turbo weighs 3430 pounds, Car and Driver reports. In comparison, with the manual, the 2022 BRZ only weighs 2815 pounds, Road & Track reports. That’s only 17 pounds more than the equivalent 2020 model.
How do the 2022 Subaru BRZ’s and 2021 Chevy Camaro 2.0T 1LE’s performance features compare?
R&T put both the outgoing Subaru BRZ and the current Chevy Camaro Turbo 1LE on its list of best four-cylinder track cars under $40k. And on the features front, it’s easy to see why.
Like the previous-gen car, the 2022 Subaru BRZ comes standard with a limited-slip differential. Its stability control is now more adjustable, though, The Drive reports. The 2022 BRZ’s chassis is also significantly stiffer than the one in the 2020 car, MT reports. The whole car is also slightly wider, longer, and wider. Plus, while it isn’t turbocharged, the new engine’s design means it can be mounted low in the chassis for a better center of gravity, R&T explains.
The 2021 Chevy Camaro Turbo 1LE, though, has its own bag of handling goodies. It gives any LT trim Camaro the FE3 suspension from the V8 SS model, Roadshow reports. That means larger stabilizer bars, upgraded dampers, as well as stiffer bushings and ball joints, MT reports.
The 1LE package also comes with a limited-slip differential, larger-than-stock Brembo brakes, a Track driving mode, launch control, and a dual-mode performance exhaust. Plus, it gives the Chevy Camaro Turbo a short-throw shifter as well as engine oil, transmission, and differential coolers.
Which one should buyers consider?
Given that the 2022 Subaru BRZ won’t be available until fall 2021, it’s difficult to say how well it compares to the 2021 Chevy Camaro Turbo 1LE on a track. Ditto when it comes to acceleration. Though it’s worth pointing out that the Camaro Turbo 1LE goes 0-60 mph in 5.1 seconds, Car and Driver reports.
However, R&T found the outgoing Camaro offered more grip and better damping than the outgoing BRZ tS, which featured Sachs dampers and additional chassis bracing. But to the Subaru’s credit, its lightweight design and neutral handling made it arguably the better choice for fun-seekers. And from the passenger’s seat, the 2022 model seems to offer everything the 2020 model did, just “more, and better,” R&T reports.
As of this writing, Subaru hasn’t officially released the 2022 BRZ’s pricing. But Car and Driver estimates it will start around $31,000. That’s roughly the same as the cheapest 2021 Chevy Camaro Turbo 1LE. So, while the budget isn’t really a factor, driving style is.
And in the end, that’s exactly where a proper 2022 Subaru BRZ vs. Chevy Camaro Turbo 1LE comparison needs to happen.
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