Peak horsepower isn't everything.
It's safe to say that the 2022 Subaru WRX hasn't exactly had the warm reception Subaru had hoped for. Many have derided the styling and those black plastic fender flares, and the new WRX has strayed further and further from its rally car roots. There's also the matter of the new 2.4-liter flat-four turbocharged engine, which is only 3 horsepower more powerful than before. It's that last criticism that YouTube channel SavageGeese set out to address when it hooked up the new WRX to the dyno. For Subaru fans, there's more to the new WRX's power plant than the average specification sheet reveals.
Let's get some of the headline numbers out of the way first. The new WRX produces 271 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The previous model's 2.0-liter put out an almost identical 268 hp and 258 lb-ft, despite being 0.4 liters down on capacity. However, Subaru did say that the new model is not only more responsive but has a broader torque curve. Upon closer inspection, SavageGeese uncovered that on the dyno, the new WRX makes 246 hp - the same as before - but 20 lb-ft less wheel torque at 246 lb-ft. However, the new car's maximum torque arrives nearly 1,000 rpm earlier than before, and the drop-offs seen on the outgoing model are a lot less pronounced now.
The new WRX is far better calibrated than the outgoing model, with the graph above clearly showing its even spread of torque almost all the way to the red line, as opposed to the 2019 model. This all makes the previous car significantly more peaky, whereas the new one delivers its performance in a more linear fashion. The tendency to focus only on headline horsepower, torque, and 0-60 figures doesn't do justice to the work that Subaru's engineers have put in to ensure that the new WRX is a better-balanced car. And, it's been proven time and time again that just because something is more powerful, it's not necessarily more enjoyable to drive. The new WRX may not be perfect, but it delivers on Subaru's promises and remains one of the few affordable, driver-focused cars on the market.