It was the question that kept the rumour mill churning for years: will the Subaru BRZ and Toyota 86 sports-car twins move on from natural aspiration and turn to turbocharging in their second generations? Well, we finally got the answer this week.
Yep, the new BRZ has been officially revealed, and its engine is naturally aspirated just like that of its predecessor. And while the fresh 86 is still yet to make its debut, let alone be teased, the writing is on the wall, with it set to make the same move… or non-move.
So, all of this begs a new question: why didn’t Subaru and Toyota go with a turbocharged unit instead? Road & Track got the answer from Subaru of America director of corporate communications Dominick Infante.
According to him, while the BRZ’s new 2.4-litre boxer four-cylinder petrol engine (FA24) does come with a turbocharger in the Ascent large SUV, fitting it to the small coupe would’ve led to too many compromises.
In the Ascent, the unit in question uses a bottom-mounted turbocharger, which would’ve required the BRZ’s engine height to be raised and in turn lifted its centre of gravity significantly, spoiling handling for the sake of extra power.
The BRZ now has more power across the board, while peak torque is made at a much earlier engine speed.
Another roadblock was the increased cost and weight a turbocharger would’ve brought, with the BRZ and 86 originally conceived as affordable, lightweight sports cars – a concept neither Subaru nor Toyota clearly wanted to move away from.
As reported, the first-generation BRZ’s 2.0-litre boxer four-cylinder petrol engine (FA20) produced up to 152kW of power at 7000rpm and 212Nm of torque at 6400rpm, while its successor’s unit develops 170kW at 7000rpm and 249Nm at 3700rpm.
These numbers indicate the BRZ now has more power across the board, while peak torque is made at a much earlier engine speed. A criticism of the original was the need to rev it out for meaningful progress, and Subaru seems to have addressed that.
So, will the turbocharger many hoped for be missed? We’ll need to get behind the wheel and test the fresh BRZ when it arrives in Australia late next year to find out, but for those intent on lamenting the loss, aftermarket tuners will undoubtedly be standing by.