We’ve known since 2017 what the new 2022 Subaru WRX would look like. It’s a dead ringer for the Viziv Performance Concept that appeared at the Tokyo Motor Show that year, right down to its relative proportions and character lines. Which is cool, right? Reality often fails to live up to fantasy, so it’s a welcome change when an automaker knows all along almost exactly what it wants to deliver to the buying public.
The 2022 Subaru WRX is the fifth generation of the company’s famous rally-racing-inspired all-wheel-drive compact sedan, and Subaru wanted to start over. Not so much to redo everything but rather to evolve and mature the 2022 WRX. It appears to have accomplished its mission thanks to a new, larger-displacement engine; stouter underpinnings; and a list of improvements and expansions that include a new sporty GT trim.
WRX fans will be pleased to see the new engine’s displacement increase, only to put on a big frowny face when they learn the unit’s output. Subaru, however, claims the numbers don’t tell the whole story. (Speaking of stories, be sure to check out our First Ride review of the 2022 WRX.)
Every 2022 WRX is equipped with a 2.4-liter turbocharged horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine that develops a peak of 271 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. That’s 3 more horses and no more torque than the model’s outgoing 2.0-liter boxer engine. But with bigger pistons and an improved turbo system outfitted with an electronically controlled wastegate and air bypass valves, Subaru says the WRX’s new engine is more responsive and produces a broader torque curve. (We expect slightly better acceleration numbers than those we recorded during our most recent test of a WRX, which yielded a 0-60-mph time of 5.6 seconds and a quarter-mile time of 14.0 seconds at 98.7 mph.)
A six-speed manual gearbox is standard and is by far the larger seller, according to Subaru (that goes for the BRZ, too). Buyers can also opt for what the automaker is calling the Subaru Performance Transmission (SPT), a heavily revised gearbox that nevertheless is still a CVT like the Lineartronic it replaces. The SPT is standard on the WRX’s new GT trim and comes with its own oil cooler, and is said to deliver significantly quicker up- and downshifts through its software-enabled, automatic-transmission-aping stepped ratios. All-wheel drive and active torque vectoring are also standard, like always, and base models come outfitted in 235-width summer performance tires; higher trims get meatier 245s.
The 2022 model is the first Subaru WRX built on the Subaru Global Platform, which offers increased chassis rigidity as well as a lower center of gravity, both things you want in a fun driver’s car. Because of the fresh underpinnings, the new car is both 1.2 inches wider and 2.9 inches longer than the old one. Track is also 1.2 inches wider, and the wheelbase increased by 0.8 inch.
The sedan’s track-tuned suspension features a longer stroke that reportedly gives the new WRX greater stability and lateral grip. It also increases ground clearance by 0.5 inch over the outgoing WRX. Body roll is allegedly negated by a new rear anti-roll setup that mounts directly to the car’s body instead of its subframe. Ventilated disc brakes now occupy all four corners rather than merely the fronts, to better manage temperatures and help prevent fade.
Healthy Body Image
For more than 20 years, the Subaru WRX was a trim level of the Impreza, but in 2015 that changed when Subaru gave the WRX its own line. The manufacturer has since further differentiated the two models, and the strategy continues with the 2022 WRX’s exterior styling. Classic distinctive features like the hood scoop for the top-mounted intercooler, widebody fenders, and hawk-eye design…