Subaru Corporation announced a new high-performance Levorg STI Sport R and STI Sport R EX trim levels equipped with the newly developed 2.4-liter direct-injection turbocharged engine sourced from the 2022 WRX. It's a significant upgrade that gives the Levorg hatchback instant performance credibility. But the new performance hatch only comes with an automatic transmission.
The 2022 Subaru Levorg STI Sport R produces the same 271 horsepower as the U.S.-spec 2022 WRX, though the Levorg's torque is 19 lb-ft more at 277 lb-ft, the same as the 2022 WRX S4.
Like the 2022 Subaru WRX GT trim, the Levorg's 2.4-liter turbocharged Boxer engine comes mated to a Continuously Variable automatic Transmission (CVT) with eight simulated ratios and what Subaru calls their new Subaru Performance Transmission. But the 6-speed manual gearbox is not available in the new performance hatch.
What is Subaru thinking?
We are not surprised Subaru decided to drop the 6-speed manual in its high-performance Levorg STI Sport R and STI Sport R EX models. The Levorg gets its next-generation EyeSight x advanced safety system that is not compatible with the driver-assist technology.
The smart safety features can function with manuals, but Subaru has chosen not to spend the money to adapt its EyeSight driver-assist system to work with manual transmissions. And for Subaru, safety is more important than keeping performance fans happy.
Every 2022 Subaru WRX trim level, except for the WRX GT, still comes with a quick-shifting 6-speed manual transmission controlled through a short-throw shifter. Subaru says it's been "fitted with optimized gear ratios and refined for improved shift quality."
About the new Subaru Performance Transmission ( SPT automatic), Subaru says the new SPT offers up to 30 percent faster upshifts (2nd to 3rd), and 50 percent faster downshifts (3rd to 2nd).
The SPT automatic incorporates adaptive shift control that Subaru says "Can quickly respond to perform rev-matching downshifts under braking, maintain the ideal ratio through corners, and respond faster on corner exit." The CVT's total ratio coverage range has been enlarged, and lower 'fixed' gear ratios have been revised to improve acceleration and response.
We'll have to see how the new SPT automatic performs once we get our hands on the new 2022 WRX GT. It's not a surprise that Japan's performance enthusiasts can't get a 6-speed manual shifter in the new high-performance Levorg STI Sport R and STI Sport R EX trim levels.
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Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press. Check out Subaru Report where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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Photo credit: Subaru