The market for the few petrol-powered performance cars that don’t cost the earth will heat up as carmakers move towards electric powertrains.
An example of a future collectable is the fourth-generation Subaru WRX, partially seen above in the first teaser photo from Subaru. The car is due to be unveiled later this year and available in New Zealand in 2022.
Already it and its go-faster sibling the WRX STi are being talked about as among the last affordable performance cars with internal combustion engines. The existing WRX is priced from $48,990 and the STi from $59,990.
The next WRX line-up will have few rivals in the performance/price category. Gone for five years now is the car that challenged it the most, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo.
The new Volkswagen Golf R is a rival. Same with the new Honda Civic Type R and Renault Megane RS. But all three are hatchbacks. The 2022 WRX will be available only as a sedan – Subaru ruled out a hatchback variant some time ago.
Expect the new four-door WRX to be powered for the first time by a turbocharged 2.4-litre flat-four engine, a larger displacement and more fuel-efficient version of the boosted direct-injection 2.0-litre in the current car.
The 2.4-litre is available in some overseas markets under the bonnets of the Subaru XV and Outback. In standard form it delivers 193kW/375Nm, down 4kW but up 25Nm on the 197kW/350Nm output of today’s 2.0-litre WRX.
Subaru watchers say the company will tweak the 2.4-litre to deliver around 220kW/380Nm in the new WRX and 250kW/440Nm in the STi. The 2.5-litre unit in the current STi is good for 221kW/407Nm.
Subaru is expected to follow form with six-speed gearboxes. The WRX will almost certainly come with the choice of a continuously variable transmission (CVT) or manual ‘box; the STI with a manual only.
Both cars will ride on Subaru’s global platform, which underpins pretty much everything from the Japanese all-wheel-drive manufacturer.
- Volkswagen has just unveiled the 2022 all-wheel-drive Golf R station wagon, pictured above. Its boosted 2.0-litre engine generates 235kW/420Nm.