The fifth generation of the venerable Subaru WRX has finally been revealed, after many teasers and a rescheduled debut (which was supposed to be held at the canceled New York Auto Show). But hey, better late than never, right? Patient fans are now being rewarded with a new car that hosts a whole slew of changes both inside and out.
Your eyes will be immediately drawn to the car’s massive hood scoop (a WRX hallmark), then to the flared-out fenders, which may be quite polarizing for some, especially with the black cladding the designers have added. It resembles the plastic cladding normally found on crossovers and SUVs. We’ll let you be the judge of this, but the rest of Subaru’s new design language translates well in a bolder and more aggressive form (compared to the brand’s more mature offerings like the Outback).
The biggest change comes in the new 2.4-liter turbocharged boxer engine, which produces 271hp and 350Nm (at 2,000rpm to 5,200rpm for significantly more oomph across a wider range of the power band). It has a new turbocharger with an electric wastegate to improve responsiveness and acceleration.
You have a choice of either a six-speed manual transmission or a new automatic transmission which the manufacturer calls the “Subaru Performance Transmission.” It’s claimed to have 30% faster upshifts and 50% faster downshifts. There’s also an optional external transmission fluid cooler available if you’ll be pushing the car hard, and the power is sent to all four wheels by Subaru’s AWD system to ensure you’ll have enough grip on and off the road.
Handling is also improved thanks to an upgraded suspension system, new performance tires mounted either on 17- or 18-inch alloy wheels, and ventilated disc brakes all around. The chassis is now 28% stiffer with a 75% increase in suspension mounting point rigidity (courtesy of the Subaru Global Platform it now rides on).
The interior tech also gets a much-needed update with a new 11.6-inch Subaru Starlink infotainment system (which can be paired with an 11-speaker Harman Kardon audio package) and Subaru’s EyeSight, now with Advanced Adaptive Cruise Control and Automatic Emergency Steering first seen in the Outback.
The WRX has a new top-of-the-line trim called the GT. It’s only available with the automatic transmission, but it features electronically controlled dampers that are configurable with either Comfort, Normal or Sport settings.
The car comes with a Drive Mode Select feature that allows you to configure steering feel, damper settings, and SI-Drive settings. Other GT-exclusive features include Ultrasuede-trimmed Recaro seats and exclusive 18-inch matte-gray alloy wheels.
Prices haven’t been announced yet, but the new WRX will make its way to Subaru dealers in the US in early 2022, with the rest of the world to follow afterward.