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The newest version of the all-wheel-drive sport compact adds power, technology and more.

PMG PGOTO: JEFF ZURSCHMEIDE - The new Subaru WRX will be arriving in showrooms soon. If you've enjoyed any of the previous four generations, book a test drive now.Subaru has unveiled the 2022 WRX sport compact sedan, but they did a little more than usual. In addition to giving us a look at next year's model, they hired a racing driver to take us for a little ride in the updated sports car.

The 2022 WRX builds on the 20-year WRX tradition. Since the model first came to America in 2002, the Subaru WRX has been a touchstone for affordable all-wheel-drive performance. Now in its fifth generation, the WRX is substantially more sophisticated, with new technology in the driveline as well as in the cockpit.

First, the 2022 WRX will be powered by a turbocharged variant of the 2.4-liter engine that powers much of Subaru's SUV lineup and the two-seat BRZ sport coupe. In the WRX, this engine will produce 271 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The engine can be paired with a standard six-speed manual transmission or an optional Subaru Performance Transmission. This is a continuously variable automatic with eight "speeds" selected by paddle shifting. It's worth noting that the transmission has been tuned so well, we had to ask if it was still a CVT or a traditional automatic.

PMG PHOTO: JEFF ZURSCHMEIDE - The new WRX is available with a six-speed manual tramsission or a Subaru Perfoamnce Transmission that shifts like an eight-speed automatic. Recaro seats are standardard in the GT trim.

The drivetrain rides in an updated version of the Subaru WRX chassis. With enhanced unibody stiffness, the new platform offers a smoother ride and more precise cornering. Subaru improved the general platform stiffness by 28% and the all-important suspension mounting point rigidity by 75%. Then they gave the WRX more suspension travel, to enhance the overall grip and the traditional supple handling of the model. The rear sway bar now mounts to the unibody rather than the rear suspension subframe, reducing body roll under cornering.

Bold new bodywork

The WRX has always had an overtly sporty look and feel. Subaru was never interested in making this model blend in. The new design follows that tradition with bold fender flares around the wheels, and black body trim accents. The new WRX will be available in a variety of striking colors, including a white that looks almost like porcelain and a beautiful deep blue in addition to the WRX's traditional World Rally Blue. A striking orange is also available.

PMG PHOTO: JEFF ZURSCHMEIDE - The new Subaru WRX is powered by a turbocharged 2.4-liter Boxer four that produces 271 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque that powers all four wheels.

New WRX GT trim level

For 2022, the fifth-generation WRX adds a new top-of-the-line GT trim. The GT comes with the Subaru Performance Transmission as standard. The new WRX GT is equipped with electronically controlled shock absorbers that can tailor the dynamic performance to the driver's preferences with Comfort, Normal, and Sport settings. The Drive Mode Select also offers additional options to configure steering feel, suspension settings, performance, and more, with up to 430 different combinations of settings. We tried the shock absorber stiffness settings during our ride with the race driver, and the effects are dramatic from comfort to the enhanced sport driving settings. The GT package also features exclusive 18-inch alloy wheels in matte gray finish paired with summer performance tires.

Inside the car, the GT package includes new Recaro seats offer the driver and front passenger increased support for performance driving. The Y-shaped design at the center of the seat backrest embodies a design concept in which the sides and shoulder blades of the occupant are securely supported to maintain proper driving posture. The seats are wrapped in black ultrasuede with contrasting red stitching and the Recaro logo embossed on the seatbacks. The driver's seat includes 8-way power adjustments.

The Subaru Performance Transmission allows Subaru to offer EyeSight Driver Assist Technology in the WRX, including Adaptive Cruise Control and new Automatic Emergency Steering for accident avoidance. This feature works with the Pre-Collision Braking System to assist with steering control to help avoid a collision at speeds under 50 mph.

PMG PHOTO: JEFF ZURSCHMEIDE - The new Subaru WRX has  updated chassis with enhanced unibody stiffness that offers a smoother ride and more precise cornering.

New 11.6-inch touchscreen

Also new for 2022, the WRX will offer an available 11.6-inch touchscreen infotainment interface. This screen supports both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay phone integration, and offers convenient access to the car's performance settings. Subaru has wisely included physical knobs and buttons for the most commonly-used features. An available 11-Speaker Harman Kardon sound system and a 576-watt equivalent amplifier are also on the menu.

The 2022 Subaru WRX will be arriving at area dealerships in the first quarter of 2022. Pricing has not yet been announced. If you have enjoyed any of the first four generations of the WRX, you're going to want to book a test-drive.

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