Much-awaited VA Subaru WRX successor launched with revolutionary design, features
After 8 long years, Subaru has finally unveiled the successor to the VA series WRX. The 2022 Subaru WRX debuts with a new chassis derived from the Subaru Global Platform. It comes in either the top-spec GT trim which is paired with the new Subaru Performance Transmission in automatic, or the standard version with manual gear lever.
The 2022 WRX comes with a significantly more aggressive styling which was previewed by the Viziv Performance Concept shown at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show. The following year at the 2018 Tokyo Auto Salon, an STI version was shown, probably already hinting at what the new WRX STI would possibly look like.
While the first-generation VA WRX was criticized to seemingly look like the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X, the new car comes with significantly more distinctive styling. It is highlighted with a larger grille and complemented by a likewise larger but more streamlined scoop on the hood for the top-mount intercooler. The front-end is finished off by a pair of aggressively styled projector LED headlamps and LED foglamps.
The lower portion of the bumper is largely unpainted to provide a color contrast, this continues on to the wheel arches and skirts on the side, all the way to the rear bumper. The theme gives the car a very sporty, outdoorsman character. The front fenders are now made of aluminum, reducing overall weight by nearly 2.5 kilograms.
The bold look continues at the rear with quad exhaust pipes, a low profile trunk lid spoiler, and newly designed tail lamps which Subaru claims mimic the glow of volcanic magma.
Under the hood there is now a 2.4-liter boxer turbo engine. Yes, it's the same as the one found in the Evoltis 7-seat SUV locally launched earlier this year. The FA24F found on the WRX comes with a power bump from 264 to 275 PS @ 5,600 rpm compared to the Evoltis, while torque is rated at 350 Nm @ 2,000 - 4,800 rpm, down from 376 Nm in its SUV stablemate. The engine can be mated to either a 6-speed manual gearbox or the new Subaru Performance Transmission 8-speed automatic for the top-spec GT version. The new automatic option replaces the much-criticized CVT found in the outgoing model.
A new tablet-style 11.6-inch infotainment system sits center stage of the performance-oriented cockpit. The predominantly black interior is contrasted by red stitching and accented by carbon fiber pattern inserts. The new dashboard is also more distinct that you won't feel like you're merely in a tuned Impreza.
GT versions will come with exclusive Recaro front seats, while standard versions get standard seats with "WRX" embroidered to the headrests. Drivers are treated to the meaty flat-bottom steering wheel with integrated controls for multimedia and EyeSight, along with aluminum pedals.
Subaru says they also worked on improving ride and handling performance achieved through increased chassis stiffness and lower center of gravity height. With the new Subaru Global Platform, they were able to give the car a full inner-frame construction and increased use of structural adhesives to give the car 28% more overall torsional rigidity and 75% more suspension mounting point rigidity. A longer suspension stroke has also been applied to increase vehicle stability and lateral grip on uneven surfaces. The new body-mounted rear stabilizer bar now works more efficiently and significantly reduces roll while cornering.
Subaru says it track-tuned the suspension for a more engaging drive. Steering feel and accuracy are also much improved thanks to optimized front suspension geometry that reduces mass offset of the front suspension, and a new dual-pinion electric power steering system separates the driver’s input shaft from the motor-assist shaft.
The new WRX GT offers a first-ever feature for the WRX: new, electronically-controlled dampers that can tailor the dynamic performance to the driver’s preferences with Comfort, Normal, and Sport settings. The Drive Mode Select also offers additional options to configure steering feel, damper settings, SI-Drive settings, and more, with up to 430 different customization options.
In terms of safety, it is equipped with seven airbags. The EyeSight safety suite comes standard for either version.
Our friends at Subaru have hinted at a mid-2022 arrival for the new WRX. With pandemic-driven delays and the global chip shortage hounding the global auto industry, we should expect the all-new Subaru WRX to arrive in the Philippines much later than we'd like. Either way, it's something that we can and should look forward to.