Subaru has unveiled the fifth generation of the rally-born WRX. With the new redesign comes more power, a performance-oriented transmission, and more technology. And for those wondering, no, they have not nixed the manual transmission.
Built on the new Subaru Global Platform, shared with all other Subaru models, the 2022 WRX looks much like its Impreza sibling. The front fascia, silhouette, and bodywork on the WRX are very similar to the current-generation Impreza. The WRX has a wider front grille and more aggressive wheel well edges by comparison.
The greatest changes come underneath the hood with a turbocharged 2.4-liter Boxer-style engine that outputs 271 horsepower (202 kW) at 5,600 RPM and 258 lb-ft (350 Nm) of torque starting at 2,000 RPM. That torque holds through to 5,200 RPM thanks to increased displacement and an electronically-controlled wastegate and air bypass valves on the turbocharger.
The car can be had with a six-speed manual transmission, with optimized gear ratios for the speed-oriented WRX, or a new Subaru Performance Transmission (CVT automatic) that uses adaptive shift control for rev-matching downshifts. The automatic transmission has faster shifts than the outgoing automatic it replaces, upshifting 30 percent faster and downshifting 50 percent faster. Drive mode controls will further tailor the shifts on the automatic. And there’s an 8-speed manual mode for paddle shifting under driver control. Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive and Active Torque Vectoring are still standard.
The chassis and body of the 2022 WRX see improved stiffening and a lower center of gravity. Inner frame construction on the Subaru Global Platform uses more structural adhesive points to increase overall torsional rigidity by 28 percent and suspension mounting point rigidity by 75 percent. This allows for a longer suspension stroke for better stability on uneven surfaces. The rear stabilizer bar is mounted to the body (via the subframe) to reduce roll rate in corners.
A track-tuned suspension is optimized to reduce mass in the front and dual-pinion power steering helps deliver faster responses to driver inputs and improved accuracy. Both 17- and 18-inch alloy wheels are available with summer performance tires as standard.
Several changes to the bodywork lead to weight loss and aerodynamic improvements. Front wheel openings have air outlets to allow air to exit from the wheel wells more freely, reducing lift on the front tires at speed. Rear bumper air outlets reduce sway in a similar fashion. The wheel arch trim reduces air resistance by improving air flow while increasing forward downforce. Aluminum fenders and other enhancements also reduce weight by 5 lb (2.3 kg).
Inside is a black interior with contrast red stitching (by default). A flat-bottom, leather-wrapped steering wheel is also standard. Subaru has included its full Starlink connectivity suite and EyeSight (auto transmission only) advanced safety system as standard equipment. Also available is Subaru’s new 11.6-inch full HD center display with the company’s latest infotainment user interface, which debuted in the Legacy sedan in 2020. The stereo upgrade is an 11-speaker Harman Kardon sound system with a 504-watt equivalent amplifier tuned specifically to the new WRX.
Also new for the 2022 Subaru WRX is a GT trim level at the top of the lineup. This trim includes electronically-controlled dampers and driver control systems that allow up to 430 different customizations. Recaro seating will be exclusive to the GT trim along with exclusive 18-inch alloy wheels finished in gray matte and fitted with 245/40R18 summer performance tires.
Subaru has not yet priced the 2022 WRX, but promises pricing closer to launch in the first quarter of 2022.