The Subaru WRX is a car for the PlayStation generation—quite literally. It was thanks to the success of racing games like Sony’s Gran Turismo that helped convince Subaru to release its high-performance WRX in the North American market. And as that generation of gamers grew up, so did the WRX. Through the years, Subaru’s rally-inspired sports sedan grew in size, power and refinement. Though the WRX continues to earn accolades as a driver’s car, this all-new fifth-generation 2022 WRX looks to mark the end of an era.
First, the bad news: Subaru has recently announced that there will be no STI edition of this current WRX. While many love the overpowered, hardcore nature of the STI, it no longer aligns with Subaru’s ethos of environmental stewardship. If a new STI is to come, it will arrive on a new platform that will be electrified; something this newest WRX can’t provide. What the WRX does provide is one of the last great analog driving experiences you’ll find in this increasingly digital world.
Visually, this WRX is polarizing. Previous iterations weren’t necessarily considered beautiful, but the latest WRX is such a radical departure from what came before, even diehard enthusiasts have yet to warm up to the new design. One could infer that the acres of black exterior plastic are meant to evoke the design language of Subaru’s super successful line-up of crossovers. But just like every WRX before it, function informs form in this model, with each aspect of the exterior crafted to help Subaru extract every last ounce of performance. That hood scoop helps cool the charged air entering the 271-horsepower, 2.4-liter turbocharged boxer four. Front fenders are constructed of aluminum to help shave weight. Every exterior vent you see is engineered to direct turbulent air out from cavities inside the body for enhanced stability.
The most dramatic exterior accents, the over-fenders and lower door trim, are finished in matte black for a reason—specifically their aerodynamic texture which similar to the dimples on a golf ball help further reduce air resistance.