Introduced in September for the 2022 model year, the new Subaru WRX has a torquier sibling in Japan. Dubbed WRX S4, the JDM-only variant promises 25 more Nm (18 more pound-feet) from a 2.4-liter boxer.
Rated at 275 ps (271 horsepower) and 375 Nm (277 pound-feet), the Japanese sibling is offered with a continuously variable transmission. Indeed, there’s no stick-shift option available, which is a missed opportunity if you ask me. The CVT does offer an eight-speed manual shifting mode, but at the end of the day, this gearbox lacks the feeling of a manual tranny.
Tipping the scales at 1,600 kilograms (3,527 pounds), the WRX S4 is differentiated from the regular WRX by one too many exterior badges that include STI emblems on the front grille and trunk lid. Speaking of which, it’s been a long time since I have seen a four-door sedan with a rear wiper.
Just like the U.S. relative, the biggest issue of the WRX S4 is the black plastic that dominates the lower parts of the vehicle. It’s a cheap-looking way of bringing the point home, but on the other hand, I’m glad that Subaru’s designers refrained from giving it a BMW-like huge front grille.
In the Land of the Rising Sun, there are four trim levels to choose from: GT-H, GT-H EX, STI Sport R, and STI Sport EX. All feature Symmetrical all-wheel drive and active torque vectoring while the STI trim levels add Drive Mode Select. As the name implies, we’re dealing with a system that alters the characteristics of the engine, steering, AWD, and electronic dampers.
In the first instance, Subaru intends to manufacture 500 units per month as long as there’s no chip shortage-related issue. Pricing for the WRX S4 starts at 4,004,000 yen, which converts to roughly $34,710 at current exchange rates. The range-topping variant is 4,774,000 yen (equivalent to $41,385).