Looking forward to the future and embracing the seemingly endless amount of possibilities that have become our reality with years of research and development at the helm, is as exciting as it’s enticing. This ideology has become evidently clearer over the years as we’ve grown used to seeing upgraded successors to our favorite lineups on an annual basis. It’s not an easy task, but taking a familiar formula and improving upon it in every conceivable way is something many manufacturers attempt, and sometimes the results can be incredible. Next year is already heating up in the automotive industry, and details have begun surfacing regarding the all-new 2021 Subaru WRX, and it might just be a game-changer.
Subaru’s Next Step
The WRX is a model that has gone through several iterations since its inception in 1992, and multiple sources claim that next year’s model will bring with it an entirely new generation. There have been several head-turning claims within the past couple of months that have raised our curiosity, to say the least, and opened the floodgates to further speculations. Recent reports from sources who claim to have close ties with Subaru indicated that the 2021 WRX STI will feature an upgraded turbocharged 2.4L 4-cylinder engine––an FA24 Boxer to be exact. The end-result will output a strong 400 hp with 361 lb-ft of torque, which are impressive numbers considering the extensive history of 4-cylinder engines. If this turns out to be true, then this brand new WRX STI will become the strongest Subaru sold in the United States.
Apples To Apples
Although the reported 400 hp and 361 lb-ft of torque are both impressive and respectable in their own right, it’s when we take a look at the current 2020 Subaru WRX STI where these numbers become even more meaningful. When looking at the 2020 WRX STI, under the hood you’ll find an EJ25 turbocharged 2.5L 4-cylinder, which can produce 310 hp and 290 lb-ft of torque. Surely these numbers are respectable as is, but this also means you might be seeing a 22.5% increase to horsepower output and a 24.5% increase to torque with the 2021 WRX STI.
The aforementioned FA24 Boxer that we’re supposedly seeing inside of the 2021 WRX STI is most likely going to be an upgraded variant of the current FA24. This engine is currently seen in a few of Subaru’s lineups, including the Ascent, Outback, and Legacy, although general power output is lower overall. When equipped inside vehicles on the market today, this engine can produce 260 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque. This ultimately means Subaru has the chance to successfully achieve a 35% and 23% uptick to the current iteration, which would be nothing short of astonishing.
Rumors came out in full throttle nearly half a year ago regarding the 2021 WRX. Last August there was a sizeable amount of news outlets reporting that the upcoming WRX STI would be getting an engine that produces 315 hp. This wasn’t seen as much of an upgrade, considering the current STI comes with the aforementioned EJ25 boxer, which outputs 310 hp, so a mere 1.6% uptick to performance wouldn’t necessarily be an outstanding upgrade.
Obviously, the tides have turned since these reports were leaked, and the rumors of 315 hp have shifted over to the now-expected 400 hp. This leaves a big opportunity for Subaru but also a monumental task. The question remains if these newer reports do in fact turn out to be true, we have to wonder what Subaru’s motives were for such an increase to performance, but nevertheless, it’s a change of pace that we’d be more than happy to see.
There has not been much info regarding what engine we will see inside of the base Subaru WRX next year. For reference, the base engine found inside of the current base WRX is a turbocharged 2.0L 4-cylinder boxer that produces 268 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. This surely has prompted speculation on whether or not we’ll see an upgrade to performance at a base level, but for the time being, nothing is set in stone.
A Modern Exterior
Those who stay up-to-date with current events in the automotive industry may have heard that Masahiko Kobayashi is no longer the chief of Subaru’s design department. This news came as a surprise to some, considering this effectively was the end of his 20-year tenure with the company. Although Kobayashi continues to make designs through independent work, his spot at Subaru is now held by Mamoru Ishii.
This flip in management may actually result in some more experimental designs coming forward in the near future. A couple of years back, Ishii was interviewed by a reporter while promoting new designs at the Geneva Auto Show in Switzerland and gave us a hopeful glimpse into the future. Throughout his interview, he made it clear that Subaru is generally interested in bringing their older designs to the modern-day, catering to the market-trends that shoppers are accustomed to. This ultimately means we can expect the next generation of Subaru WRX to bring a stylistic overhaul along with it. Only time will tell if this will be affecting the upcoming 2021 WRX, but it’s most certainly possible.
Trims & Price
There are very few details retaining the array of trims the WRX will come in other than the STI. We imagine that the selection will remain more or less unchanged from the current offerings. When looking at the 2020 WRX again for comparison, there are five available trims, these are WRX, WRX Premium, WRX Limited, WRX STI, and WRX STI Limited. Even at a base level, it’s an impressive showpiece and Subaru’s engineering team implemented a plethora of features such as exceptional handling and an advanced Subaru Starlink multimedia center. We’re very intrigued to see most of these features make a return, but any additions to their already respectable feature set would make it an even more worthwhile contender in the 2021 market.
Subaru has been rather quiet regarding the price for the upcoming WRX lineup, but of course, this is simply due to the timeframe until release, and we’ll most likely be hearing news regarding pricing in the not too distant future. What we can attest regarding price, however, is hopefully not too much more than the current pricing, but we’d like to see it remain relatively similar. The 2020 WRX starts at an MSRP of $27,495 for the base model and further down the line is the STI which started at an MSRP of $36,995. The biggest question from fans alike is whether or not Subaru can retain the STI’s price while also obtaining the aforementioned 400 hp that is stirring in the rumor mill.
The Future is Bright
All and all, it’s getting increasingly more tempting to hear speculatory details that probably feel like an eternity between leaks and rumors for some. Although details are generally sparse, what we’ve seen so far is worthy enough of conversation and speculation. There are plenty of reasons why the WRX is a fan-favorite compact car, and its generational leaps are typically big ones. Fans are generally in for a treat this time around, and we speculate it’ll be a mixture of power and design that makes it a worthy contender in the automotive market.
For those who are generally intrigued by the idea of power and design, it becomes important to keep your eye out for the 2021 WRX. There is no official release date yet, but we speculate it’ll be on the market between Q4 2020 and Q1 2021. Subaru has a lot to offer, and now that one of their biggest critiques is being corrected with a drastic shift in the design department, there are now more reasons than ever you should check out their lineup of exemplary vehicles.