Power from the bigger 2.4-litre engine in the 2022 Subaru WRX is pretty much the same as the outgoing 2.0-litre unit, although the new car gets to grips with maximum torque earlier in the rev range.
The Japanese carmaker has released details of the fifth-generation WRX, which will be launched in New Zealand next year. It will be the first car in the Subaru lineup in this country to have the 2.4-litre flat-four unit. The engine has been under the bonnets of the American market Outback and XV for some time.
Those who expected it to have more overall oomph in the WRX than the 193kW/375Nm it delivers in base form in the US might be disappointed.
Earlier speculation was that Subaru might up output to around 220kW/380Nm in the WRX. But, no, the new unit delivers 202kW/349Nm – surprisingly similar numbers to the 197kW/350Nm generated by the current WRX’s 2.0-litre engine.
Another surprise for WRX watchers is that maximum torque between the old and the new is largely the same. But only on paper. The 2022 WRX delivers its 349Nm between 2000-5200rpm, or 400rpm earlier in the rev range than the fourth-generation car’s 2400-5200rpm.
The modest change in the WRX’s output leads observers, particularly in the US where the car was first unveiled, to further speculate that the 2.4 engine in the next go-faster WRX STi might deliver a hell-for-leather 300kW. More reasoned opinions have STi power at a maximum 240kW/430Nm. The 2.5-litre flat-four in the current STi generates 221kW/407Nm.
There are few other surprises in the makeup of the new WRX. The 2.4 engine pairs with either a six-speed manual or an eight-step CVT – Continuously Variable Transmission – that pumps power through Subaru’s all-wheel-drive system.
As expected, the 2022 WRX rides on the Subaru Global Platform, bringing several improvements, among them a stiffer chassis and a lower centre of gravity. There’s a 28 per cent increase in overall torsional rigidity and a 75 per cent increase in rigidity around suspension mounting points. Subaru also now mounts the rear stabiliser bar to the body instead of the subframe.
Exterior styling changes include new LED headlights that bookend Subaru’s signature hexagonal grille, larger than on the fourth-generation model. New taillights – designed to glow like volcanic magma – highlight the updated styling elements at the rear. Less obvious changes include using weight-saving aluminum for the front mudguards.
Inside, the 2022 WRX has an all-new layout. There’s an 11.6-inch infotainment screen. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth connectivity, and more are standard. The WRX will also come with Subaru’s award-winning EyeSight safety technology.
Subaru NZ managing director Wallis Dumper says the company will have more information about the car and its new engine in the coming months. “Subaru Corporation have exceeded expectation with the new WRX,” he said.
“This could be the last chance for Subaru performance car devotees to get their hands on a WRX as we know it, given the rapid shift in the automotive market towards EVs and the changes imposed by Government legislation.”