2022 Subaru WRX debuts with new look, evolutionary upgrades

9/16/2021

Subaru finally took the wraps off the all-new, fifth-gen 2022 WRX. The car rides on a new platform, features a new engine, and comes with a whole lot of other upgrades inside out. You even get to choose between a performance-tuned CVT and a manual gearbox. While it doesn’t look too different from its predecessors, the automaker has made quite a few changes to make it more performance-oriented and engaging.

Wider and longer than the previous generation, Subaru has also massaged the WRX’s widebody design with beefier fenders that have unusual, SUV-like asymmetric wheel openings. Those rear fender bulges are so dramatic that the 2022 WRX has a totally different trunk opening shape from the Impreza sedan it’s based on. Framing that rear end are new tail lights that look like they were pulled straight off of the BRZ — not necessarily a bad thing.

Up front, Subaru’s hawk-eye projector headlamps are a bit smaller and the grille is a skosh larger. The WRX’s front fenders are now made from aluminum, which saves about 5 pounds overall. The model’s iconic functional hood scoop is still in full effect, but there are also new functional vents behind the front wheel arches and tucked into the rear bumper to help curb aerodynamic drag.

Inside, there’s a pair of Recaro sports seats, carbon fibre dashboard trim and a flat-bottomed leather sports steering wheel. Subaru has also fitted its new 11.6-inch portrait infotainment system, which contains the car’s heating and ventilation controls and supports both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard.

There’s plenty of other equipment, such as a rear-view camera, electric seat adjustment and an 11-speaker Harman Kardon stereo system. Buyers also get a host of driver assistance technology, including lane departure prevention, adaptive cruise control and a newly available automatic emergency steering assist system, which works in tandem with the car’s pre-collision braking assist set-up to mitigate collisions at speeds under 50mph.

The new WRX’s burbling heart is a new 2.4-liter turbocharged boxer four-cylinder that outputs 271 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. That’s not a huge bump over last year’s 268-horsepower 2.0T, but Subie promises a heartier torque curve thanks to the increased displacement. Additionally, the turbo’s new electronic wastegate and bypass valves should reduce lag and improve responsiveness and acceleration.

Of course, Subaru’s symmetrical all-wheel drive is standard, as is a six-speed manual transmission. Alternatively, the Rex can be optioned with Subaru’s Performance Transmission, a sport-tuned continuously variable transmission with paddle shifters and an 8-speed “manual” mode. The new SPT is said to upshift 30% quicker than the old unit, downshift 50% quicker and Subie claims to have eliminated the “rubber band” effect that turns many enthusiasts off of CVTs.

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