The FAQs about the Subaru WRX. The Subaru WRX is one of the most popular tuner vehicles on the market right now. It has been around for two decades in the United States and even longer in Japan. The WRX is well-known for its adaptability, performance, and distinctive design. It’s one of the few cars still available with a manual gearbox, and more than 90% of current WRX purchasers choose it over the automatic or CVT alternatives.
The WRX, previously the Impreza WRX, has seen numerous alterations since its launch in the United States in the early 2000s. Almost everything on the automobile for 2022 is different from the first generation – you might not even recognise them as the same car. This guide is designed to answer any of your questions about the Subaru WRX, from engines to the Subie rumble to a discussion of the numerous chassis codes and best customizations. Let’s get this party started.
FAQ on Subaru WRX Models and Years
What exactly does WRX stand for?
WRX is an abbreviation for World Rally eXperimental. Subaru bestowed the moniker to the quickest version of the Impreza in 1992 as a tribute to the Impreza World Rally Car (WRC) on which it was based. The WRX was distinguished from the basic Impreza by firmer suspension, a turbocharged engine, and AWD as the only available option.
Is the Subaru WRX a true “rally car?””
While the styling, engine, and suspension of the WRX were inspired by Subaru’s WRC vehicles, calling the WRX a true rally car would be a stretch. In actuality, Subaru designed the WRX to be a budget car with rally-style thrill. The turbocharged engine and strengthened suspension set it apart from the ordinary Impreza, but it was still a long way from anything seen on the WRC circuit. Even the WRX STi is more of a commuter car than a rally car.
When was the first WRX released?
Subaru introduced the first WRX in 1992, but it was exclusively offered in Japan. Subaru introduced the WRX STi, a Subaru Tecnica International (STi) variation of the automobile, in 1994.
When did the Subaru WRX first appear in the United States?
The WRX originally appeared in the United States for the 2002 model year. The STi made its first trip over in 2004. Since then, both have sold well in the United States.
Why is it frequently likened to the Saab 9-2X?
Between 2005 and 2006, Subaru and General Motors agreed to sell a rebranded version of the WRX in America under the Saab brand. The 2005-2006 Saab 9-2X is nearly identical to the WRXs of the same year, including the engine, though the suspension, interior, and design have been updated.
What’s the story behind the hood scoop?
The characteristic hood scoop that has appeared on all WRX models serves a functional purpose. The turbocharged engine’s intercooler is located on top of the engine, slightly below the hood, and the open hood scoop directs air over it. This cools the intercooler, lowering the temperature of air entering the combustion chamber. Cooler air means more oxygen and hence more power, as well as less engine detonation and pre-ignition.
What are the different chassis codes for each WRX generation?
There have been five generations of the WRX, with four of them being sold in the United States. The first generation lasted from 1992 to 2000, the second from 2000 to 2007, the third from 2007 to 2014, the fourth from 2015 to 2021, and the current generation, which began this year in 2022.
What exactly are the Bugeye, Blobeye, and Hawkeye WRXs?
The terms Bugeye, Blobeye, and Hawkeye allude to different versions of the second generation Subaru WRX, which were available from 2000 to 2003, 2004 to 2005, and 2006 to 2007. The names were given to them by enthusiasts because to the similarities in the appearance of their headlamps and front fascia.
There are also Mean Eye, Stinkeye, and Evo Eye WRXs, which are less well-known. The Mean Eye corresponds to WRXs from 1992 to 2000, the Stinkeyes to WRXs from 2008 to 2014, and the Evo Eyes to WRXs from 2015 to 2021. Again, the names are inspired by the appearance of the headlamps and front fascia.
What exactly is a GC8 WRX?
If you’ve spent any time around a WRX or STi fan, you’ve certainly heard of the GC8 WRX, the holy grail of WRXs. However, the GC8 is not a single model, but rather a word that indicates a WRX from 1992 to 2000 with an EJ20 turbo engine. The code is as follows: G = Impreza, C = Sedan, and 8 means EJ20T. So GC8 is an Impreza Sedan powered by an EJ20T engine.
Because the WRX was the only Impreza sold with the EJ20T, any GC8 is a WRX by default. Subaru manufactured the first generation of WRXs, which are highly after for their distinctive appearance and historical significance.
Why is it no longer referred to as the Impreza WRX?
From 1992 to 2014, the WRX was known as the Impreza WRX, indicating that it was based on the basic Impreza but with rally-inspired features such as turbocharging and strengthened suspension. However, Subaru dropped the Impreza name from the WRX and WRX STi lineups beginning in 2015. Apparently, Subaru wanted to differentiate the WRX from the rest of the Impreza lineup as a new “sporty car,” so starting in 2015, it was simply known as the Subaru WRX, despite the fact that it retained the same styling as the standard Impreza.
What significant modifications have occurred to the WRX?
Since its introduction in 1992, the Subaru WRX has undergone numerous revisions. The engine has been upgraded numerous times, the suspension has been tightened and enhanced, and the interior is much more sumptuous. The exterior styling is likewise vastly different today than it was in the 1990s or even in the mid-2000s. In short, the WRX has undergone significant changes. AWD, turbocharged boxer engines, manual transmissions, and the iconic hood scoop are the only true constants.
FAQ on Subaru WRX Engines and Performance
What exactly is a boxer engine?
A horizontally opposed engine is sometimes known as a boxer engine. This means the pistons are horizontal rather than vertical or at a severe angle, and they move from side to side rather than up and down. Boxer engines have a lower centre of gravity than inline or V type engines due to their unique structure. This enhances straight-line stability while reducing body roll in and out of corners. Boxers are frequently contrasted with Inline, V, and W engines.
What engines are available for the WRX?
Throughout its history, the WRX has been sold with five different engines, three of which have been sold in the United States. Subaru used two versions of the EJ20 turbo in the WRX from 1992 to 1998, the EJ20G and EJ20K. The WRX received the EJ205 from 1999 to 2005. From 2006 to 2014, the engine was the EJ255, then from 2015 to 2021, it was the FA20DIT. The FA24DIT engine is now installed in the WRX.
They are all turbocharged four-cylinder boxer engines with displacements ranging from 2.0 to 2.5 L. The engines of the EJ20, EJ205, and FA20 are all 2.0 L, while the FA24 is 2.4 L and the EJ255 is 2.5 L. We have already released guides for both the EJ205 and FA24 engines, so make sure to read those as well.
What does AVCS on Subaru engines mean?
Subaru’s unique variable valve timing (VVT) system is known as AVCS (Active Valve Control System). AVCS is available on the EJ255, FA20, and FA24.
What gearbox options does the WRX have?
The WRX was offered with both a manual and automatic gearbox from 1992 until 2022. Subaru began offering a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) option in the lineup in 2015. The WRX has 5-speed manual (5MT) and 4-speed automatic (4EAT) gearboxes from 1992 until 2014. The WRX received a new 6-speed manual gearbox in 2015, which is still in use today.
Is the gearbox in the WRX truly “glass?””
The 5-speed gearbox in the WRX from 2002 to 2003 is popularly regarded to be “glass” due to numerous early breakdowns. This is a contentious issue, but the general agreement is that the issues were caused by driver error.
The WRX was one of the first turbocharged AWD automobiles to arrive in the United States, and it packed a punch. Many drivers were inexperienced with AWD and attempted to launch their Subie like a RWD muscle car, which resulted in obvious problems. This resulted in numerous breakdowns and gearbox destruction, earning the 5-speed its “glass” nickname.
However, Subaru did not make significant changes to the gearbox in the years following 2002-2003, and the majority of the problems were resolved. This strongly suggests that the problem is the result of bad driving and shifting techniques. As long as it is properly maintained and not unduly mistreated, the Subaru 5-speed gearbox is a perfectly capable gearbox. However, power begins to fail after 400whp. Because they bolt directly into the WRX’s bell housing, STi 6-speed swaps are common.
What are the most typical WRX engine issues?
The turbo-EJ20 series of engines, which includes the EJ20G, EJ20K, and EJ205, are all extremely dependable and robust. The only significant concern with them is that they can develop fractured coil packs over time. Early EJ20s had closed deck-blocks, which made them more robust than later open-deck designs.
The primary issues with the EJ255 are ringland failure, spun rod bearings, and thrown connecting rods. The majority of these problems are caused by detonation and pre-ignition caused by inadequate tune and rash adjustments. We already created a guide for typical EJ255 issues, so be sure to read that as well.
The most serious problems with turbo-FA engines are carbon buildup on the spark plugs and weak connecting rods. Carbon buildup is caused by the direct injection fuel systems used by FA engines and is not usually a concern. The connecting rods are only good up to about 330whp before cracking, and they are also particularly vulnerable to high quantities of low-end torque. Check out our FA20 common problems guide for difficulties unique to that engine.
We also have a broader page about the WRX’s dependability over the generations. Make a point of reading that as well.
How much power and torque does the WRX produce?
What are the WRX’s 0-60 mph and 14 mile times?
Despite the fact that there have been various engines with variable power ratings, the zero to 60 mph and 14 mile times have remained rather stable. Almost all models will touch 60 mph in 4.9-5.8 seconds and the 14 mile in 13.5-14.2 seconds at 94-100 mph.
Surprisingly, older model years were actually faster than newer ones, owing to aggressive clutch dumps at 5,500 RPM starts. The clutches on current WRXs are substantially lighter and more difficult to perform high RPM launches from, resulting in slower timings.
What is the source of the “Subie rumble?””
The iconic Subie rumble, which is present in all WRX and WRX STi models, is caused by the boxer engine configuration and unequal-length headers. Because of their design, all boxer motors have a small rumble. The WRX and WRX STi models emphasise it even more with unequal-length headers, resulting in the famed Subie rumble. The distinctive sound is caused by the irregular timing of exhaust pulses hitting the turbo. Unequal-length headers degrade performance more than equal-length headers, but they provide an interesting sound.
What makes the Subaru WRX’s AWD system so unique?
Subaru’s AWD system has a 50/50 split, which means power is delivered equally to the front and rear differentials. This is in contrast to VW-style AWD, which favours the front wheels, and BMW-style AWD, which favours the rear wheels. Subaru claims that this improves traction and stability, particularly on non-pavement terrain and when making abrupt turns.
Is the WRX identical to the WRX STi?
While the WRX and WRX STi share many similarities, they also have many differences. The WRX was a gentler version of the STi, with less power and softer suspension. Check out our guide for a complete discussion of the differences between the WRX and WRX STi.
FAQ on Subaru WRX Mods and Upgrades
How much power can a Subaru WRX produce?
This is a contentious issue, but both the EJ and FA series engines have proven to be capable of producing significant power. The EJ205 is a highly productive tuning engine that can produce 500+whp with the right tweaks. The EJ207 block is frequently combined with EJ205 heads to create a hybrid motor.
The EJ255 is also a highly adjustable engine capable of producing a lot of power. Again, with the right mods, 500+whp is definitely attainable. Pump petrol, on the other hand, is unlikely to suffice for the truly high horsepower Subie designs. To properly achieve those high power figures, you’ll most likely need to use E85.
Although the FA20 and FA24 are relatively new to the scene, there have already been some very impressive builds. Both the FA20DIT and FA24DIT have been demonstrated to be capable of 500+whp with accompanying mods, similar to the EJ series. Again, E85 is strongly advised for high horsepower builds on the FA family of engines.
What are the best WRX modifications?
There are various good mods for all years of the Subaru WRX, with the most significant mods for each engine being a downpipe and ECU tuning. These tweaks can add 20-40 whp/wtq to EJ20 engines. The increases on the FA series are similar, ranging between 20 and 50 whp/wtq. Suspension improvements for the WRX are also available, with coilovers being the most popular.
Fortunately, we’ve already looked at a slew of possible WRX improvements. We investigated turbo, intercooler, downpipe (j-pipe) and cat back, and intake improvements for the FA20. We also have a guide for the top 6 FA20 upgrades, so be sure to check it out as well. We previously investigated downpipe enhancements for the EJ255. We also have an amazing coilovers guide for all WRX years.
What are “full bolt ons” (fbo) for the Subaru WRX?
For the WRX, “full bolt ons” generally refers to an intake, downpipe, headers, intercooler, tuning, and electronic boost control solenoid (EBCS). Mods may also be referred to using the phrases stage 1-3. Stage 1 for the FA series is often an intake and a tune; stage 2 is typically a downpipe and a tune; and stage 3 is typically a downpipe, tune, intake, EBCS, and intercooler. Stages 1-2 of the EJ255 are the similar, but stage 3 includes a tune, intake, downpipe, EBCS, fuel injectors, fuel pump, and fuel pressure regulator.
What kind of power can the Subaru WRX handle?
The EJ20 and EJ25 engine series can handle 350whp with a completely stock block and internals. At 400+whp, forged pistons and connecting rods are recommended, and at 500+whp, head studs, stronger rod bearings, and eventually block sleeves.
Furthermore, the fuel injectors, fuel pump, fuel pressure regulator, and crankshaft should be replaced. Modifications such as a full exhaust, air-oil separator, intercooler, intake, EBCS, tune, and a larger turbo are also required.
The connecting rods, which are usually regarded to be only good till 350whp, are the FA20’s weakest point. Aside from those, nothing needs to be upgraded internally until 400whp, when pistons, head studs, and rod bearings are typically upgraded. The block is capable of producing 500whp or more without difficulty. For 400+whp, additional upgrades such as a full exhaust, intake, intercooler, air-oil-separator, EBCS, tuning, and a larger turbo are required.
Because the FA24 is a relatively new engine, it is unclear what it can withstand. Having said that, Prime Motoring has at least one example of an FA24 engine with forged pistons and rods producing over 500whp. They have since sold the project, but they allegedly had no problems while building it.
Summary of Subaru WRX FAQs
The Subaru WRX has gone a long way since its debut in Japan in the early 1990s. After several engines, suspension configurations, and body styles, the 2022 WRX is a vastly different machine. Nonetheless, with its rally-inspired moniker and boxer engine, it pays homage to the ’90s version. The turbocharged engine, AWD drivetrain, manual transmission, and hood scoop have always been present and have preserved the WRX’s character.
Whatever you think of the design of the 2015+ WRX, it still delivers a powerful punch under the hood. It will be interesting to see where Subaru takes the WRX in the future, as well as how long it is powered by an internal combustion engine. Hopefully, the WRX’s days are only getting started, and Subaru will continue to produce decades of Japanese rally-inspired brilliance.