The redesigned 2022 Subaru WRX household appears a bit totally different from years prior. With the STI now DOA and this new GT mannequin topping the vary, you’d be forgiven for seeing this transformation as an about-face for a nameplate that grew a global following based mostly on its motorsports forays. However regardless of the GT’s extra luxurious pretensions, it brings some efficiency options to the WRX household for the primary time, meriting analysis even when its transmission — a CVT by one other identify — does little to awaken our curiosity.
We’ve coated the usual WRX fairly extensively, so if you happen to’re curious as to how Subaru’s sport compact performs sans CVT, adaptive suspension and upgraded infotainment, take a look at our earlier first drive and street check. Spoiler alert: The guide WRX is fairly rattling good.
However on to the GT. As we hinted at above, this mannequin takes the WRX formulation and provides tech. A multi-mode adaptive suspension replaces the mounted metal coils and dampers of the WRX, permitting drivers to dial of their most popular journey. The WRX’s commonplace entrance buckets are changed by some deeply scalloped and comely Recaro sport seats. The infotainment system is upgraded from the bizarre, stacked double-screen setup to a single portrait-style display screen, whereas Subaru’s Eyesight security suite is added because of that commonplace automated. Subaru hasn’t bothered to make all of it work with the guide. There are additionally some GT-specific visible parts, which you’ll be able to see within the element photographs we included right here.
As for that commonplace automated, it’s necessary and sure, it’s a CVT. Subaru would quite we use its advertising time period for it, which is “SPT” for “Subaru Efficiency Transmission.” Take that how you’ll. Like all fashionable efficiency automatics, the CVT’s programming is tied to the GT’s drive modes. Subaru provides eight mounted ratios and says the “shifts” between them are each bit as fast as these of a dual-clutch automated. Dial it again to one thing extra sedate, and it’ll carry out like another Subaru CVT — for higher or for worse.
Hearth it up, and also you’ll instantly discover the GT’s subdued exhaust be aware. It’s apparent Subaru needed to work across the NVH constraints of the CVT SPT and its engineers did a wonderful job of containing the not-so-desirable low-frequency noise usually related to rubber-band transmissions. On the flip facet, it’s quiet. GT-quiet? Maybe. No matter it’s, it’s positively not STI-loud. Mentally setting that apart, I took the GT out for a protracted drive across the Detroit ‘burbs to see precisely what it may do this the usual WRX couldn’t. If the GT goes to make sense wherever, it’s right here on the cratered streets ringing Michigan’s crumbling metropolis.
In its softer modes, the adaptive suspension performs admirably. In reality, simply puttering round on floor streets, the GT does a convincing impression of a bog-standard Impreza. Dial it over to its sportiest setting and it turns into a bit flinty, however nonetheless largely tolerable. It’s rather more at house within the curves — ideally on contemporary, easy pavement, but it surely’s not overly upset by regular imperfections. However the identical could be stated of the usual WRX’s suspension. Like its RWD cousin, the BRZ, it is remarkably snug. The GT boasts extra granularity of choice, positive, however the base suspension is a textbook instance of an ideal compromise delivered straight from the manufacturing facility.
If I am lukewarm on the suspension, I am chilly on the transmission. Round city, the powertrain moans distantly and responds adequately. Get it out on an empty again street and crank the drive mode over to one thing sporty and the CVT SPT will dutifully flip up the wick, maintaining you excessive within the rev vary. Subaru even offers you paddle shifters so you may play together with the pretend “gearing” if you happen to’re so inclined, however absent a state of affairs the place wonderful management is critical, they’re strictly pointless. For those who’re like me and you end up using such issues commonly, they’re useful for maintaining the revs underneath management in sportier drive modes, however adjusting the person drive mode configuration will repair that simply as properly — and as completely as you want.
To Subaru’s credit score, the transmission and suspension work in tandem to ship on the GT’s promise — a WRX for individuals who need slightly extra comfort and refinement. Just like the CVT’s low-frequency droning, street noise is subdued sufficient by the GT’s tuning to make it far much less intrusive than what you’d count on from Subaru, which has historically been on the coarser facet in the case of sound intrusion. In that context, the Recaros seem to be an odd inclusion. Certain, it is a premium identify for a premium package deal, however what do they contribute?
These seats look nice however they’re a bit on the slender facet; I discovered myself (36” waist) resting in opposition to the bolsters quite than being engulfed by them. However, I ended noticing virtually immediately, which is an efficient signal. The eight-way energy driver seat adjustment is welcome; it’s regular for such sport seats to regulate manually. They remind me a little bit of the Fiesta ST’s (RIP) seats, main me to consider they’ll probably break in a bit with of time, however as supportive as they have been within the twisties, they have been by no means what I might envision because the optimum alternative for any individual who needs an automated gearbox, adaptive cruise management and a plushy suspension.
Lastly, since Eyesight is a key piece of the GT puzzle, it’s value noting that its adaptive cruise management works properly sufficient and gives lane-centering steering help. The system’s largest weak spot rears its head in the correct lane of the freeway, the place exiting visitors prompts an overabundance of warning. Abrupt off-ramps make it tough for the system to discern the distinction between reputable slowdowns and visitors that’s within the means of exiting till it clears the freeway completely.
So, are all of the GT’s extras definitely worth the trade-off of the CVT SPT? Properly, the Recaro seats are engaging, supportive and the driver-side eight-way energy adjustment is a pleasant sweetener. Simply ensure you slot in them first. The adaptive suspension does an admirable job and permits for particular person customization (Subaru says the GT’s drive modes could be configured 430 alternative ways) but it surely’s not a night-and-day enchancment over the usual WRX’s mounted coils and dampers. As these are the 2 predominant attracts, the reply to the above query is finally “no” except you have been already set on getting an automated.
After I drove the WRX final yr, I instructed you all to attend patiently for the STI if you happen to felt the usual automobile wasn’t fairly sufficient. Oops. However don’t sweat the GT. On the finish of the day, you’re not lacking a lot. If the dearth of Recaros and adaptive suspension is actually consuming you, I’ve the sensation Subaru will give you an answer. Maybe a 2023 WRX tS (tuned by STI)? The elements are there, in any case.