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The New Subaru WRX TR - Lesson Not Learned

Subaru needs a performance star, and they don't have one. Why the Subaru WRX will never thrive but will only survive in its current form. Here is what the WRX needs now.


I remember when the Subaru WRX STI was the top performer in creating excitement and passion among performance fans. The Subaru WRX has lost its magic, and Subaru needs to find a way to get it back. The Subaru WRX and STI used to be the talk of the performance world, but it's different now. 

Sales of the WRX performance car dropped in September.

The 2023 Subaru WRX sales dropped 2.7 percent in September, with 1,630 performance models delivered to customers compared with 1,676 sales in September 2022. Sure, the WRX is up 61.7 percent in the first nine months after a fast start at the beginning of the year. SOA has sold 20,574 sport-tuned models this year. 

2024 Subaru WRX TR reveal

The WRX is on pace to see about 27,000 performance sedans, which is good but not great. If Subaru wants to be something other than average, they need a performance star and don't have one. The Subaru WRX will never thrive but will only survive in its current form.

Subaru performance is stuck in the waiting mode until they develop an all-electric STI. But fans can't wait another four to five years for the STe to arrive. They want some excitement now. 

2024 Subaru WRX TR is revealed at Subiefest Florida

What does the WRX need right now?

Subaru Corporation could easily give the WRX more power, which they should have with the 2024 WRX TR they revealed this past weekend at Subiefest in Florida. But the WRX STR stays with the same 271 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque as the standard model. It didn't get fans excited. 

The WRX TR would have been the perfect trim level to get additional power and give it more than the 310 horsepower the former STI had. The WRX STR already has other performance goodies with an upgraded suspension, tires, steering, and larger high-performance Brembo brakes to support the added power. Performance fans would have lined up in droves to buy a higher-performing WRX TR. 

Where is the rear Wing?

Why didn't Subaru give the WRX TR an STI wing? The performance wing would have set it apart from the rest of the WRX trim levels and given it more appeal. The wing would have been an easy way to excite the WRX TR visually. And the wing does have a specific purpose.

Subaru used the wing on the STI for much more than flashy looks. It has a particular function. The STI's big wing on the rear of the performance car produces downforce at high speeds and improves performance. 

In an interview with Motor1, Subaru of America Manager, Product Public Relations, Todd Hill said that the newly-revealed WRX TR does not have a rear wing because the automaker is worried people will confuse the warmed-up sedan for a hot, nonexistent STI version.

"In the U.S., the rear wing has always been associated with the WRX STI and has only ever been offered on it," said Hill. "In other markets, the large wing has also been offered on WRX models."

No WRX hatch 

Subaru could have given the WRX TR a hatchback body style, and that alone would have created a buzz around the new performance car that would have lasted for years. A hot WRX TR hatch would have sent sales through the roof and off the charts. 

I can find fault with Subaru's decisions with the WRX, but Subaru has always marched to a different drummer. It's been this way in the two decades I've been covering Subaru, and it's not likely to change anytime soon. 

Subaru needs a performance star, and they don't have one. The Subaru WRX will never thrive but will only survive in its current form.

For additional articles related to the Subaru WRX TR, here are a few for your consideration:

Check out the YouTube video from Auto Enthusiast: 2024 Subaru WRX TR Edition Arrives - Everything You Need To Know

Denis Flierl - I have over twenty years of Subaru and automotive journalism experience. I enjoy bringing you, the Subaru fans and customers, the most up-to-date Subaru news, reviews, and new model information. You'll find the latest Subaru stories on the Subaru page. Follow me on my The Dirty Subaru website, Subaru ReportAll Subaru and WRX STI social media channels:  Also FacebookSocial Platform X, and Instagram

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Photo credit: Subaru


dyanrucar (not verified)    October 11, 2023 - 10:56PM

I don't know what the current spec top speed is, but the bench wing's downforce only mattered at top speed (155mph).
Would sure love a Sportwagon!