2020 Subaru WRX, WRX S4 STI Sport with CVT
Denis Flierl's picture

All 500 Subaru WRX S4 STI Sport Models With A CVT Sell Out In Only 2 Weeks

Subaru just launched a limited production 2020 WRX S4 STI Sport with a CVT automatic and it’s already sold out. This would never happen in the US.
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Subaru started orders for the limited production 2020 Subaru WRX S4 STI Sport on May 26 and two weeks later the special performance model has been sold out. Subaru Japan announced a limited production (500 units) of the sports car would be produced and would be available until October 22, 2020. What surprised us was this model would only come with a CVT automatic gearbox.

What’s more of a surprise, buyers in Japan snatched them up quickly and apparently aren’t concerned it only comes with a Sport Lineartronic CVT automatic and not a 6-speed manual. Performance fans in the U.S. are different than their Japanese counterparts.

2020 Subaru WRX, WRX S4 STI Sport with CVT

We reached out to Subaru of America, and they told us about 90 percent of WRX buyers are opting for the standard 6-speed manual transmission over the automatic. It’s no surprise because the Sport Lineartronic CVT, (Continuously Variable Automatic) transmission is not a popular choice with performance enthusiasts here. While it’s better than the previous generation CVTs, it’s still not up to speed with a 6-or-8-speed automatic.

Why CVT?

Subaru is committed to the CVT because it saves fuel, but not on WRX. The WRX with a manual is actually more fuel-efficient and picks up a 3 mpg gain over the more fuel-thirsty CVT, and the automatic is an additional $1,900 option (includes EyeSight).

2020 Subaru WRX, WRX S4 STI Sport with CVT

Subaru even dropped the 6-speed manual on all Outback, Forester, and Legacy models in the last three years. The performance-tuned WRX STI has always been the only model in the lineup that doesn’t have a CVT option and only comes equipped with a 6-speed manual gearbox.

Will Subaru eventually drop the 6-speed manual in the WRX too? It’s not likely anytime soon and we would be shocked if Subaru doesn’t offer the manual gearbox in the next-generation 2022 Subaru WRX. Subaru still offers a manual gearbox in the refreshed 2021 Crosstrek subcompact SUV and also the Impreza sedan and 5-Door compact cars. It doesn’t make sense that they would discontinue it in the sport-tuned WRX.

The question now is, what engine will Subaru use to power the next-generation 2022 WRX and WRX STI?

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Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. All of his reports are archived on our Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Subaru Report. Check back tomorrow for more Subaru news and updates at Torque News!

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Photo credit: Subaru Japan


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Comments

Subaru lost customers like me because of CVT and no manual option.
The CVT is more fuel efficient than the manual. It's just that by US standards the multi mode nature of the CVT opens manufacturers to litigation if the driver always selects the full power mode (they can pursue recourse IF their fuel use is higher). But Intelligent (economy) mode IS more fuel efficient than the manual. Just check Australian figures which allow the use of the most efficient multi mode selection criteria for automatic transmissions. Ask Subaru, they will confirm this. Also automatics are the main seller in a lot of other countries, it's only a matter of time until manuals decrease in number.
I have owned both 19 CVT and 20 Manual WRX. Even I use Intelligent mode all the time and its average is only 26mpg the best. Manual is easily average 28mpg, both under the same driving condition and mostly highway. No Doubt CVT is not more fuel efficient on WRX.
just for the writer's own info. have a look on YouTube: john cadogan's (previous writer for major car magazines) WRX reviews on the CVT, very enlightening.