More power, greater handling precision and bold new exterior styling mark the arrival of Subaru’s long-awaited fifth-generation WRX, the latest generation of the iconic rally-bred machine.
The car that became an overnight sensation in 1994 and a firm favourite in the years since has been reimagined for 2022, refined and with a broader model range increasing its appeal.
The fifth-generation Subaru WRX has two body styles – Sedan and Sportswagon – with three model variants for each: WRX AWD, WRX AWD RS and WRX AWD tS for the Sedan and WRX Sportswagon AWD, WRX Sportswagon AWD GT and WRX Sportswagon AWD tS.
The Sportswagon will be a model in its own right, with both featuring unique specs tailored to their respective audiences. For example, the sedan incorporates performance-inspired exterior design influences, including air outlets on the edge of the front wheel openings.
There’s also side garnishes and a lip-style boot spoiler, a prominent hexagonal grille, spilling over the wide, low-set front bumper and flowing back into its bulging fenders, and black body trims.
Prominent side sills feature a hexagon-patterned texture designed to reduce air resistance. Inside, the cabin features stylish black and grey upholstery on the Sedan and black upholstery on the Sportswagon, with red stitching and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
Cloth trim is used for WRX Sedan and Sportswagon (base model), while the WRX GT Sportswagon uses leather accented trim and WRX RS Sedan and tS Sedan and Sportswagon are trimmed in Ultrasuede.
A new cockpit design features an intuitive layout with highly visible and readily accessible instruments and controls. The clean instrument layout features prominent tacho and speedo displays directly in front of the driver.
An engine temperature gauge and fuel gauge are respectively integrated into the rev counter and speedometer faces. A high-resolution, 4.2-inch multi-information display with easily recognised colours ensuring high visibility is located between the two main dials.
A large 11.6-inch central touchscreen is provided for the infotainment system. That platform scores Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, DAB+ digital radio, satellite navigation on selected variants, and access to a heap of vehicle settings.
Subaru Vision Assist is included too, providing a blind spot monitor, and lane change assist with rear cross traffic alert. There’s also dual zone climate control air conditioning, 18-inch alloys, self-levelling LED headlights, steering responsive headlights and LED front fog lights.
For the first time in its history, the WRX uses the Subaru Global Platform which has been designed to both enhance the car’s responsiveness by enabling sharper handling and add comfort by reducing unpleasant road vibrations and shaking.
Under the bonnet a new, more powerful direct-injection, turbocharged 2.4-litre, horizontally-opposed four-cylinder Boxer engine delivers a lusty 202kW of power and 350Nm of torque.
Two transmission choices are on offer, including a precision six-speed, close-ratio manual, or the Subaru Performance Transmission with Sports Shift Control for rapid-response gearchanges and Drive Mode Select (on tS variants).
The latter allows drivers to change the car’s on-road characteristics to suit their own preferences with a variety of driving modes that change WRX’s driving dynamics and character. An ‘Individual’ mode allows full driver customisation.
Electronically controlled dampers debut on selected models to enhance the already sporty handling, while refining ride quality. A new dual-pinion electronic steering system reduces steering resistance, for a smooth and linear steering response.
The sedan offers comfortable cabin space, with increased shoulder room, front and rear, while increasing rear seat legroom. The Sportswagon will offer versatile load space too, with up to 414-litres of boot space.
The WRX’s impressive ride and handling comes from MacPherson-style struts at the front and double rear wishbones, designs chosen to improve handling while maximising driving stability, ride comfort and interior quietness.
Braking is handled by large, power-assisted, ventilated front and rear disc brakes. Low-profile Dunlop SP Sport Maxx sports tyres are also standard across the Sedan range.
Compared to the Sedan, the Sportswagon has slightly milder exterior highlights, with more painted surfaces and fewer black-out sections. It also features a diamond pattern on the lower blacked-out sections to increase textural appeal and build on the sports car image.
At the back, bulging fenders give the car an imposing rear stance, while air outlets mounted low at either side of the bumper help define this as a true high-performance vehicle and smooth out the air disturbances when driving at high speed.
A spoiler mounted above the rear windscreen at the trailing edge of the roof helps vehicle aerodynamics and ensures smooth airflow along the car. The tailgate on selected Sportswagon variants can be opened and closed automatically.
The powered tailgate, which opens in just 4.7 seconds, can be used hands-free when the key is near the vehicle, simply by placing a body part over the sensor fitted around the rear badge. Two-tone 18-inch alloy wheels and sporty, low-profile tyres complete the picture.
The 2022 Subaru WRX pricing starts from $44,990 for the WRX Sedan and $49,990 for the WRX Sportswagon. Both are plus on-roads. Further details are available from your local Subaru dealer. If you’d like to buy one, and need finance, visit CreditOne.