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Subaru reveals all-new WRX ahead of Q2 2022 arrival

New look, new engine, new platform and more tech headline all-new Subaru WRX

13 Sep 2021

FOLLOWING the cancellation of the New York international motor show, Subaru has finally debuted its new-generation WRX performance sedan, which scores a new look, bigger engine and new platform – if not a whole lot more power.


Expected to arrive Down Under in the second quarter of next year, the new WRX is powered by a turbocharged 2.4-litre flat four-cylinder petrol engine developing 202kW/350Nm, marking a power increase of just 5kW over the outgoing 2.0-litre turbo.


Interestingly, the same engine is available the overseas in certain versions of the Outback wagon, Legacy sedan and Ascent large SUV, in which it produces 194kW/376Nm.


Why Subaru chose to dial down the torque figure for the WRX remains unclear, but it says the bigger engine capacity combines with a new electronic wastegate to widen the torque band – compared to the old model – which should improve real-world performance and driveability.


As before, drive is channelled to all four wheels via either a six-speed manual or an automatic continuously variable transmission (CVT), the latter dubbed ‘Subaru Performance Transmission’.


Despite local pricing and specification details still being far from confirmed, CVT-equipped vehicles come with a heap of extra go-fast and safety goodies compared to the manuals, including variable torque distribution, drive mode select and the full Subaru EyeSight suite.


While the new powerplant may not deliver as big an output jump as most would have hoped and expected, the brand has placed a lot of emphasis on the WRX’s new underpinnings, the Subaru Global Platform promising sharper dynamics, increased ride comfort and a reduction in vibrations.


Up front is a McPherson strut arrangement with 20 per cent stiffer anti-roll bars whereas the rear features a refined double wishbone set-up, with all four corners getting a longer functional stroke to better maintain contact with the road when surfaces deteriorate.


In terms of the contact patch itself, all versions at this stage will roll on 18-inch alloys shod with 245/40 rubber – the outgoing model ships as standard with 245/40R18 Dunlop Sport Maxx RTs.


Visually, the new WRX closely resembles the second-generation Levorg currently available in Japan, albeit with a few more aggressive features including extended black grilles and vents, black SUV-style cladding and less-contoured cheeks.


The differences are more profound at the rear, where the WRX dons similar tail-lights to the new BRZ coupe as well as an extreme contrasting bumper combining elements of both a rear diffuser and more of the rugged-look cladding, while the now-familiar quad exhaust tips have been retained.


With the new looks come bigger dimensions – the new model is 74mm longer (4667mm), 31mm wider (1826.26) and 7mm lower (1468mm) than its predecessor with 20mm of that extra length being found in the wheelbase (2672mm).


According to Subaru, the bigger dimensions have liberated more shoulder room and more rear legroom for occupants.


The interior itself is an all-black affair with a new D-shaped multi-function steering wheel, sports seats as standard, red stitching, Outback-style vertical 11.2-inch infotainment screen offering Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility, aluminium sports pedals, imitation carbon trim, analogue instrument cluster and black headliner.


Stepping up to the GT trim (confirmed for US) adds more aggressive Recaro bucket front seats, lashings of suede trim and upholstery and adaptive dampers, a first for any WRX.


Given its bigger dimensions and only modest power increase, we expect the new WRX to stop the clock from 0-100km/h in about six seconds as per the current model – no official claim has been made yet.


Despite the new model still being at least six months away from landing on Aussie shores, Subaru Australia general manager Blair Read said the local arm was “incredibly excited” by the reveal and that he was looking “forward to sharing more information about this highly-anticipated model” in the coming months.


Expressions of interest are now open for the new WRX even though local pricing is yet to be confirmed – though it is expected to start from the mid-$40,000s given everything is new.


For reference, the current model starts at $40,990 plus on-road costs.

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