There’s a new Subaru WRX we can’t have

13th September 2021
Bob Murray

The bonnet scoop is back! Yup, it's the new Subaru WRX, the fifth-generation of the car that made wannabe rally drivers out of all of us in the 1990s. The latest turbocharged all-wheel-drive machine goes on sale early in 2022 – in the US at least. The last time we were offered a WRX in this country was 2018 and alas there is no news of a return to our shores for this new version.


Does it matter we are unlikely to be getting it? It's just a last-gasp attempt to resurrect a car that we have all grown out of after all. Or is it? Sadly for us, the new one comes across more as reinvigorated driving machine that's just as enticing for keen pedallers as it ever was.

It looks good for starters: recognisable as a WRX but sharper and more modern. With the exception of a big wing on the back (which might come later in a hotter STI version) signature design cues that have marked out the rally-icon-turned-driver's-favourite for almost 20 years are present and correct – hexagonal grille, bonnet scoop and quad exhausts included. There are some nice new details too, such as the air outlets at the trailing edge of the front wheel openings.


Equally familiar is the engine: it is up from 2.0- to 2.4-litres (like the BRX coupe we are equally not getting in the UK) but most important it is still that most charismatic of combustion motors, a flat-four, and it's still topped by a big turbo. Power hasn't gone crazy in US spec, but at 271PS (202kW) it is a little more than last WRX offered. The larger capacity has ensured a broader torque curve, now peaking at 350Nm (258lb ft) from 2,000-5,200rpm.

You can get it with a manual six-speed gearbox – there is also an eight-speed paddle-shift auto available stateside – and of course Subaru's brand of permanent and symmetrical all-wheel-drive with torque vectoring ensures that none of those 271 horses is wasted.


It's all combined with a new platform whose main claim to fame is increased rigidity. It is a quarter stiffer overall and 75 per cent more rigid where it really counts, around the suspension mounting points. Subaru says that combined with new electronically controlled dampers and more responsive and feelful electrically-assisted steering, the new WRX offers a "substantial" upgrade in ride and handling as well as benefiting refinement. This is the most dynamic WRX ever, they say.

As a new model on a new platform the WRX comes with the safety gear, driver aids and big touch-screen connectivity you expect, including a tablet-style 11.6-inch centre information display. In the US, the model to have promises to be the new GT variant, which also gets Recaro seats, additional driver aids and selectable drive modes.


That's the new WRX then. The boy racer grown up, but thankfully still more big kid than boring adult. We thought we were over insane Imprezas but maybe we're not after all. You don't really want one as well, do you? We can feel a petition to Subaru UK coming on...

  • Subaru

  • WRX

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