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An orange 2022 Subaru WRX is shown off-roading on a dusty road.

Just Around the Corner: The Ingenuitive Engineering of the Subaru WRX

There are all kinds of sports cars on the market. A lot of them have incredibly exciting performance capabilities and also have very creative, out-of-the-box designs that set them apart from every other car on the road. So, you may see the Subaru WRX and be tempted to pass it by, as it looks like a slightly sportier standard compact car, more along the lines of a Chevy Malibu than a Corvette. It doesn’t necessarily look like the kind of sports car that would tear up the road. But, leaving exterior appearance aside, a visit to a Subaru WRX dealer may actually give you a more exciting drive than many other sports cars.

In essence, the capabilities of the WRX can be reduced to just one word: cornering. The WRX is specially designed to have advanced and exciting cornering capabilities to give every corner the potential for thrills and excitement. You need not go to a Subaru dealership to learn more about the WRX because we’ll give you the whole lowdown right here. But, after this article, you may still find yourself heading over to the dealership to go for a test drive… we’ll see. So, let’s rip around the corner and see what the WRX has in store.

Cornering

The Subaru WRX bears two key features to produce its incredible cornering capabilities: Subaru Boxer engine and symmetrical all-wheel drive. Both of these serve as umbrella features from which stem subfeatures that play vital roles in producing the vehicle’s impressive cornering capabilities. So, let’s further examine both the engine and symmetrical all-wheel drive.

A Boxer engine is shown in an orange 2022 Subaru WRX.

The Subaru Boxer Engine

The full title for this engine (are you ready?) is the Direct-Injection Turbocharged Subaru Boxer Engine. This engine has a unique horizontal design. Most other engines are upright, with the pistons moving up and down. With this ingenious horizontal design, however, the Boxer engine has pistons that move from side to side, thus canceling out the other’s vibrations. This makes for increased vehicle efficiency and a smoother drive.

Because of this flat design, the Boxer also has a very low, balanced profile which makes for a lower center of gravity, producing a symmetrical and highly responsive vehicle. This, of course, will make for very balanced and powerful cornering capabilities while maintaining incredible thrill because, in the 2022 WRX model, the new 2.4-liter turbocharged Boxer engine allows for 271-horsepower.

But, the engine is not the only thing that produces cornering. In fact, the engine alone can’t do much about cornering. For that, you need some wheels.

Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive

The WRX also bears Subaru’s signature Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive. This system constantly keeps the power distributed to all four wheels, producing excellent grip and traction in all weather conditions. The symmetrical all-wheel drive system works closely with the Boxer engine’s inline design with the drivetrain to make this even and balanced transfer of power happen. And because the engine is inline with the drivetrain rather than being transverse-mounted like most vehicles in this class, the symmetrical system does not require additional components as do many other all-wheel-drive systems. Once again, this serves to make the WRX a highly efficient vehicle.

There are times when conditions are slippery and the traction is low; in these kinds of situations, the symmetrical all-wheel drive system automatically sends power to the wheels with the most traction to make sure that you are driving with a high level of grip. In short, the symmetrical all-wheel drive system takes care of the balance, so you can take care of the driving.

Now apply this symmetrical all-wheel drive system to cornering, and consider once again that it is paired with the Boxer engine. This unique, horizontal engine combined with this symmetrical all-wheel drive system will make for an easy, smooth, and balanced cornering experience no matter what your speed.

To increase this capability is track-tuned suspension paired with double-wishbone rear suspension. The track-tuned suspension has incredible spring and damper rates, making for excellent control while cornering. The double-wishbone rear suspension bears pillow ball bushings, which smoothes out the vehicle’s driving on bumpy road surfaces, allowing your experience inside the vehicle to remain smooth, sharp, and on-point, providing you with control over corners.

On a more technological level, the presence of Subaru Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) in the WRX helps increase cornering capabilities by overseeing stability control. VDC uses a network of sensors to monitor wheel speed, steering wheel position, yaw rate, and lateral acceleration. If the system senses that the vehicle is not performing as it should for the given situation, it will automatically take corrective action through a variety of means, such as braking.

The combination of VDC and symmetrical all-wheel drive makes for the highest levels of smoothness, stability, and safety, which are all things that make the WRX a corner-ripping feat of automotive engineering. VDC doesn’t just bring about control and stability, though, because of the fact that the symmetrical all-wheel drive system is employed full-time. So, the fact that it is always working and always combined with VDC means that it maintains forward momentum and does not sacrifice power for stability.

The black interior of a 2022 Subaru WRX is shown at a Subaru WRX dealer.

Steering and Transmission Features

The 2022 Subaru WRX has a very competitive steering ratio. Its electric power steering provides a steering ratio of 13.5:1, making for sharp yet on-center cornering. In some ways, a steering system means more than anything in a vehicle. Regardless of what is going on within the inner workings of the vehicle, the steering wheel is the most direct point of driver engagement and will have the most profound effect on the driving experience. Even more so than the pedals, the driver develops a familiarity and comfort level with the steering wheel and seemingly develops an almost subconscious knowledge of how and when to react in any situation, based upon his or her familiarity with the steering wheel. With a steering ratio this quick, the steering wheel reacts almost exactly when the driver does, which makes cornering an experience like you’ve never had before.

One final element of the 2022 WRX’s impressive cornering capabilities is its all-new Subaru Performance Transmission, which is specifically designed to accompany the Subaru Boxer engine as well as the symmetrical all-wheel-drive system. This is still a CVT that works to reduce fuel consumption by providing a stepless gear ratio, allowing for both agility and maximum power. However, it has been retuned for more aggressive shifts, and the 8-speed manual mode now offers 30% faster upshifts and 50% faster downshifts. If you don’t want to drive an automatic, then don’t worry – the 2022 WRX is still sold with a 6-speed manual transmission as well.

Back Around the Corner

While any one of these features is enough to make the WRX a unique and excellent vehicle, what really makes the WRX itself is not any one of these features but the combination and collaboration of all of them. The Boxer engine with symmetrical four-wheel drive, combined with the quick steering ratio and all of the other features here discussed, make the WRX an extremely sharp, quickly-reacting vehicle designed to conquer corners of all types. It does all of this while maintaining an understated exterior; nobody would ever know of what the vehicle is capable of simply from looking at it, increasing its mystery and intrigue. I’ll leave you with this question: which is better? A sports car that looks fancy and impressive on the outside but fails to deliver high performance or a sports car that keeps it relatively simple on the outside but works overtime to deliver on the road? I’ll let you be the judge of that.

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