The fifth-generation all-wheel-drive Subaru WRX is finally here. It debuts today in the US with a new look inside and out, which is paired with a new platform and engine. The car looks quite familiar at first glance, but Subaru made several changes to improve its performance beyond just adding more power. The automaker is also introducing a new top-of-the-line GT trim for 2022.

As a reminder for our UK readers, the Impreza WRX was cancelled in the UK market in 2017 and there are no plans for its return.

Subaru grows the 2022 WRX's flat-four turbocharged engine from 2.0 to 2.4 litres. The new engine makes 271 bhp (202 kilowatts) and 258 pound-feet (349 Newton-metres) of torque from 2,000-5,200 rpm. Torque is unchanged from the fourth-gen model, but the new WRX does make three extra horsepower. The new engine pairs with either a six-speed manual or the Subaru Performance Transmission – a CVT – that pumps the power through Subaru's AWD system. The CVT features an eight-speed manual mode accessible through the steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. An external transmission fluid cooler is also available.

Gallery: Subaru WRX (2022)

The new engine might be a tad disappointing to some, but the 2022 WRX rides on the Subaru Global Platform, bringing several improvements. The new chassis is stiffer than before – a 28 percent increase in overall torsional rigidity and a 75 percent increase in suspension mounting point rigidity – and it helps lower the car's centre of gravity. Subaru also now mounts the rear stabiliser bar to the body instead of the subframe.

The 2022 WRX's styling could be called evolutionary, but it is all-new. New LED headlights bookend Subaru's signature hexagonal grille, which is larger than on the fourth-generation model. A large, wide bonnet scoop emphasises the model's wide stance. It's the same at the rear, where new taillights – designed to glow like volcanic magma – highlight the updated styling elements. Subaru made less obvious changes, like using aluminium for the front wings/fenders, which shaves off five pounds 

New for 2022 is the GT trim. It's only available with the automatic, but it features electronically controlled dampers. It has three settings – Comfort, Normal, and Sport – and it pairs with a new Drive Mode Select that gives drivers 430 different customisation options. Recaro seats are exclusive to the model, which features an eight-way power driver's seat that's wrapped in black Ultrasuede with red contrast stitching. It also comes with exclusive 18-inch matte-grey wheels with 245/40 R18 summer performance tires. Non-GT models receive either 17- or 18-inch alloy wheels.

Inside, the 2022 WRX will greet passengers with an all-new layout. There's an 11.6-inch infotainment screen. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth connectivity, and more are standard. Options include an 11-speaker Harman Kardon sound system. The WRX will also come with Subaru's EyeSight Driver Assist Technology.

Subaru hasn't provided any pricing information, but the 2021 model starts at just over $27,000. The price could increase a bit, but we don't expect to be a massive increase. With the new WRX finally here, we can turn our attention toward waiting for the hotter WRX STI variant. Rumours point to it debuting next summer.