Fifth-generation Subaru WRX launched in the US with 271hp 2.4-litre boxer engine and optional six-speed manual
This is the 2022 Subaru WRX, a refreshing display of the Japanese carmaker's commitment to continue making the type of driver's cars it is adored for in an increasingly electric and autonomous landscape. The fifth-generation model is said to have the 'most advanced features, designed and performance' in its near 20-year history. And it's built on the Subaru Global Platform, meaning it's a brand new WRX from the ground up and not a mere rehash of the previous sports sedan.
Under the hood, the 2022 WRX continues to be driven by Subaru's signature boxer engine. The latest one is 2.4 litres in capacity and turbocharged, giving drivers access to 271hp and 350Nm of torque that goes to all four corners of the car via the brand's Symmetrical AWD system and active torque vectoring. For power delivery, customers (in the US at least) get to choose between a six-speed manual with optimised gear ratios and improved shift quality or the new 'Subaru Performance Transmission'. The latter is essentially an auto box with 30 percent quicker upshifts between second and third gear and 50 percent faster downshifts in the same region. It can also be manually overriden via paddle shifters.
Subaru says that the stiffer chassis attributed to the WRX's new platform has improved torsional rigidity by 28 percent and suspension mounting point rigidity by 75 percent. The suspension is also 'track-tuned' for quicker response to driver inputs and steering feel that's more accurate and natural. Things like steering feel and damper settings can also be tuned using the Drive Mode Select, which offers a whopping 430 different customisation options to pique the interest of simulator geeks.
Design-wise, the new WRX packs aggressive and angular cues that are more functional than the naked eye may suspect. The front fenders are 2.3kg lighter than before through the use of aluminium while the air outlet at the 'trailing edge of the front wheel' reduces lift on the front tyres and improves driving stability. A similar aerodynamic feature exists at each side of the rear bumper while the wheel arches and engine undercover are textured to reduce air resistance. Subaru says that the taillights are designed to glow with a look reminiscent of volcanic magma, but, like many Malaysian critics, we're struggling to shake off the similarities they bear with the rear clusters of the Perodua Bezza.
Inside, the new WRX features Subaru's new 'Starlink' infotainment which includes a massive 11.6-inch full-HD central display. For a car that sells on its sporty features, the system is curiously hooked up to an 11-speaker Harman Kardon sound system with a 504-watt amplifier. It goes without saying that Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also part of the deal. Subaru's Eyesight Driver Assist Technology is also present in the WRX, giving it semi-autonomous features such as adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency steering and pre-collision braking among others.
Subaru has yet to announce an STI variant, but one can only assume that it's on the way given the Japanese carmaker's efforts to keep the WRX's tried-and-tested recipe intact as others dilute their formula or retreat from the enthusiast market altogether - yes, we're looking at you Mitsubishi. So, what do you think internet? Is the 2022 WRX everything you hoped it would be?