You may have the desire to channel your inner Erik Carlsson but Saab’s long gone and it’s been eons, practically, since a Mini Cooper tamed the Monte Carlo Rally. But it’s still possible to do the bared-teeth-in-the-boonies boogie by visiting your Subaru store, especially early next year when its entirely new, fifth-generation line of compact WRX offerings storm the showrooms. With a very few notable exceptions in the global marketplace, the WRX is one of the very few mass-produced automobiles that can put you within credible striking distance of an all-out rally car’s performance capabilities, simply by passing the necessary credit check. Subaru has long been a dominating force on both the international and North America rally scenes, and that lineage clearly passes on to WRX buyers, no matter which model they select.
That scoop on the hood isn’t just for decoration. On the contrary, it slams cold air into the intake of the WRX’s standard 2.4-liter turbocharged flat-four, with 271 horsepower on tap. A six-speed manual transmission is standard but for 2022, an entirely new automatic transmission that promises to quicken upshifts and downshifts by 30 and 50 percent, respectively, with adaptive shift control. The 2022 model will also roll out a first for the WRX line, electronically controlled dampers with three driver-selectable modes, plus Drive Mode Select that will allow up to 430 combinations of kinetic personalization, such as feedback levels for Subaru’s dual-pinion electric power steering, which we can personally attest is laser-accurate and nearly effortless. No mention, at least yet, of the full-potency WRX STI variant that everybody’s hoping for, but stay tuned, because a new, premium WRX GT trim level with standard Recaro seating has already been announced. Built on the Subaru Global Platform, the new WRX arrives in early 2022.