The 2022 Subaru WRX has been spied testing, ahead of its Australian launch by the end of 2021.
The WRX prototype spotted by our spy photography partners wears little more than a vinyl camouflage wrap, revealing the next generation of Subaru's rally-inspired hero will borrow heavily in the styling department from 2017's Viziv Performance concept.
Up front, compact LED headlights similar to those fitted to the new Levorg wagon form part of an aggressive fascia design, with pentagonal lower air dams and a bonnet scoop to feed the turbocharged flat-four engine hiding under the bonnet.
Wheel-arch extensions (with vents behind the front wheels) feature along the side, matched by wide rear haunches with similar surfacing to the new-generation Levorg – a car rumoured to gain the WRX's engine and name upon reaching Australian shores.
At the rear, the Viziv Performance similarities continue, with C-shaped tail-lights connected across the tailgate by an LED strip, quad exhaust tips, triangular faux air vents and a small lip spoiler on the boot lid.
Filling the prototype's arches are large alloy wheels, wrapped in Dunlop SP Sport Maxx performance tyres.
The prototype bears a notable resemblance to renderings published by CarAdvice in 2020, which used earlier spy photos and the Viziv Performance concept as a base – showing just how close the production WRX's design is to the concept that previewed it.
Zooming into the spy photos provides our first glimpse at the fifth-generation WRX's cabin, which appears to share its flat-bottomed steering wheel and 11.6-inch infotainment touchscreen with the aforementioned Levorg.
Previous rumours out of Japan suggest the new 'rex will be powered by a 2.4-litre turbocharged "boxer" four-cylinder shared with a number of US-market Subaru models, retuned to develop 213kW and 412Nm.
Should those outputs prove correct, they'll represent a 16kW/62Nm increase over the current model's 197kW/350Nm outputs, and will come within spitting distance of the outgoing WRX STI's 221kW/407Nm outputs.
Drive will reportedly be sent to all four wheels through a six-speed manual or CVT automatic transmission, as before.
Japanese media reports the new model ride on the Japanese brand's new Subaru Global Platform, and will measure 4650mm long, 1850mm wide and 1450mm high, sitting a 2670mm wheelbase – 55mm longer overall, 55mm wider, 25mm lower and 20mm longer in wheelbase than the outgoing car.
The 2022 Subaru WRX is expected to make its full debut in the coming months, ahead of an Australian launch slated for late 2021.
The halo WRX STI will follow in 2022, rumoured to be powered be a tuned version of the 2.4-litre turbo-four, producing 294kW and 490Nm.