2022 Subaru WRX Debuts With Rugged Body Cladding And 2.4-Liter Turbo Boxer Engine

The 2022 Subaru WRX is the fifth generation of the brand's mythical all-wheel-drive rally-inspired sedan to hit the automotive scene. The all-new WRX is also the second-generation model to drop the "Impreza" moniker beginning in 2015. However, the new WRX is still riding on the underpinnings of the current Impreza, adopting a reinforced version of the Subaru Global Platform.

The chassis features a full inner frame construction that offers 28-percent better torsional rigidity and 75-percent stiffer suspension mounting points through the use of structural adhesives. In addition, the rear stabilizer bar mounts directly to the body (instead of the sub-frame) to further reduce body roll when cornering. The 2022 WRX also features a new dual-pinion electric power steering system and track-tuned suspension that promises to deliver tighter handling and more accurate steering.

Under the hood is a 2.4-liter turbocharged Boxer engine, a retuned version of the same FA24 engine in the Ascent SUV and the 2022 BRZ sports car. Pumping out 271 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, keen-eyed and knowledgeable readers will quickly point out the 2022 WRX is down in power to the outgoing model with a smaller 2.0-liter Boxer four. Despite this, Subaru promises faster acceleration and better responsiveness with the bigger displacement engine, and we figure Subaru is going all-out with the WRX STI version arriving soon.

The engine sends power to all four wheels via Subaru's Symmetrical All-Wheel-Drive system, which now has active torque vectoring control to deliver niftier handling and all-weather traction. Purists will love the standard six-speed manual transmission, but the brand's new Subaru Performance Transmission is worth considering.

The automatic remains a CVT, but it now delivers 30-percent faster upshifts and 50-percent quicker downshifts than before. It also has adaptive shift control with rev-matching characteristics to make you feel like the late, great Colin McRae. Furthermore, the automatic transmission has three SI-Drive settings and an eight-speed manual mode which you can toggle using steering-mounted paddle shifters.

It's time to mention the elephant in the room: styling. The 2022 WRX seems to have adopted some Outback DNA with its rugged flat-black body cladding, a first for the WRX since it came storming across the rally scene during the new millennia. Love-it or hate-it, those plastic claddings are here to stay, but some elements hark back to the original rally machine, like those prominent rear haunches and that large hood scoop.

The new WRX is also longer, wider, and taller than the outgoing model. It has slimmer LED headlights, a custom front grille, 17-inch or 18-inch wheels, four-wheel ventilated disc brakes, and aluminum front fenders to save weight. At the rear, you might mistake the new WRX for a larger and broader BRZ with those C-shaped taillights.

Inside, the 2022 WRX finally receives a new 11.6-inch tablet-style infotainment touchscreen with physical buttons for adjusting the volume and climate control. It also has Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Bluetooth connectivity. The optional multimedia system adds TomTom navigation with voice-activated directions and three years of free map updates.

Other features include a flat-bottom leather steering wheel with integrated switches, auto up/down power windows, and an optional 11-speaker Harman Kardon audio system with GreenEdge amplifier technology to deliver superior sound clarity. Automatic models also get standard EyeSight driver assist, including lane departure warning, active cruise control, automatic emergency steering, and more.

The 2022 Subaru WRX is arriving with a new range-topping GT trim level with electronic dampers, new drive mode settings, luscious Recaro seats with an 8-way power driver's seat, and custom matter gray 18-inch alloy wheels wrapped in summer performance tires. Prices remain forthcoming, but we'll know more when the 2022 WRX officially debuts in the summer of 2022.