Welcome to the Hooniverse News! As always, this is a weekly recap of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or bull. This week: Subaru finally debuts new, more perplexing WRX, Chevrolet finally gives the Silverado the ZR2 package, Porsche hints at a future electric race car with the Mission R, Lotus takes the Emira racing in GT4, and Radford shows off gorgeous John Player Special 62-2.
2022 Subaru WRX
As promised, Subaru debuted an all new WRX this morning to an eager online crowd. The fifth generation of the beloved rally-bred sports sedan has a massively new look inside and out, a bigger motor, a lot more body cladding, and a new top-of-the-line trim with more premium features. It’s already causing quite the buzz in the car community so let’s rip that handbrake and clutch-kick our way into the
At the heart of the new WRX is a new 2.4-liter turbocharged boxer four-cylinder. It’s not often that a Subaru gets a new engine, though we don’t actually know just how new this one is. It’s likely modified from the 2.4-liter turbo unit in the Outback XT. But either way, this is a big step up from the last WRX’s 2.0-liter engine. Power is increased substantially with this newer, higher displacement engine by a whole three horsepower. Literally just three. Not 30, not 20, just three (3). Meanwhile the torque is increased by *checks notes* nothing. Power bands have been widened a good bit so that it would feel faster, but it’s actually not by that much.
Subaru’s legendary Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive and Active Torque Vectoring continues to define the WRX experience, as does its upgraded six-speed manual transmission which is still standard. It has newly optimized gear ratios and refinements for better shift quality. The automatic on the other hand is much quicker at those gear changes than before.
The new WRX is built on the Subaru Global Platform for the first time which for us means a better-performing chassis in terms of ride quality and handling with a lower center of gravity and higher rigidity. For Subaru it means cheaper development and production costs. Improving that suspension capability even more is the electronically controlled dampers that come equipped with the range-topping GT trim.
What is really getting people talking though is that styling. Thanks to the Japanese-market Levorg, we had some idea as to what the new WRX would look like and that was mostly spot on in terms of its aggressive and more pointy front fascia. What it didn’t prepare us for though was the Pontiac Aztec levels of black plastic body cladding. They must think owners will do a lot of rallying. Or go off road at all. But within those wheel arches and lower trim pieces are some functional aerodynamic elements. The texture itself is designed to reduce air resistance and the wheel arches feature air inlets and outlets for the purpose of allowing air to exit from the wheel well more freely, thus reducing light on the front tires and improving stability at speed. Meanwhile at the back are new BRZ-inspired taillights and even more black plastic just in case you didn’t think this car had enough of it.
So uh, that’s the new WRX. It’ll launch early 2022 for an undisclosed price. Are you convinced or are you shopping for a 2021 WRX now?
2022 Chevrolet Silverado ZR2
At some point Chevrolet must have realized that the only Colorado most people care about anymore is the off-road-ready ZR2. After the realization came the idea to apply the beloved formula to the biggest money maker in their arsenal. So as the refreshed 2022 Silverado debuted with new design features and cabin tech, the Silverado ZR2 absolutely stole the spotlight.
It’s likely the most capable Silverado ever made even though they don’t say that outright. It uses some of the same technology that was exclusive (from an OEM) on the Colorado ZR2 but also utilizes some of the things that could only work on a bigger truck like the Silverado. For example, it only comes with the 6.2-liter V8 which delivers 420 horsepower and 460 lb.-ft. of torque.
The Multimatic DSSV spool-valve dampers carry over with its own enhancements for the Silverado. This consists of three separate spool valves to control damping with three connected chambers for fluid flow. This means more adjustability and more confidence-inspiring control over a variety of surfaces. That plus the uniquely tuned springs for greater suspension travel, 33-inch off-road Goodyear Wrangler tires, and front and rear e-lockers means this thing can do just about anything you want it to. Desert running, rock crawling, mud pits, parking over the lines into that second space that you’re entitled to, doesn’t matter. Anything reasonable thing you can throw at this, it’ll probably take.
And if the going gets really rough, skid plates protect the undercarriage from harsh impacts in the event that you bottom out on a rock that your mate Craig said you could clear no problem. Meanwhile, the steel front bumper is specially designed to increase the truck’s approach angle to an impressive 31.8 degrees. That puts it ahead of the Ram Rebel TRX and in the ballpark of the Ford Raptor. Meanwhile, the rear bumper is redesigned so it’s easier to take off and replace if it gets smashed.
So for those who will actually use their ZR2 off the road where it belongs, it sounds like it’ll be able to keep up with a Raptor or a normal Ram Rebel without much of an issue. But we all know that’s not gonna be the case with the majority of these. Pricing hasn’t been announced yet but we do know it’ll arrive in dealerships by Spring 2022… assuming they have the chips to build them.
Porsche Mission R
The latest headline-grabbing EV is this 1,000hp racing concept from Porsche. It’s meant to preview what the future of a one-make Porsche racing series could look like. Instead of 911 GT3 Cups, you could see something like this.
What’s more interesting than the 1,000 horsepower from its two electric motors and 900-volt architecture though is the car underneath it all. At just 170.3 inches in length, it’s a bit shorter than a 718 Cayman. So take this as a preview of what a future Cayman could look like. Or something else entirely as a sub-Cayman sports car has been rumored for about as long as I’ve been covering this industry.
While this remains strictly a design study for the time being, Porsche did make a point to mention that the Mission E and Mission E Cross Turismo concept studies both ended up in production as the Taycan. I think the car that’s hidden underneath the race car wing and futuristic race car interior is something that’s destined for production.
Lotus Emira GT4
It only makes sense that the last gas-burning sports car Lotus will ever make should get a competition version as well. The Emira is going racing in the GT4 class to replace the venerable Evora GT4 beginning next year.
GT4 is about as close to production as any race car can get. These cars all run the same powertrain as the road car (albeit with some light modifications for competition) with much of the same bodywork and minimal aero work. It’s a class where the strengths and weaknesses of a sports car can really play a role in the success of a race car. The Emira GT4 will take advantage of years of Lotus competition experience in its chassis setup, its lightweight composite bodywork, and its race-proven Toyota-sourced 3.5-liter V6. Power will depend on BoP adjustments, but should be in the ballpark of 400 horsepower. In a car with slicks and just 1,260kg / 2,777 pounds to lug around, this should be an absolute riot to drive.
The Evora GT currently races in a handful of SRO-sanctioned series. From what I can tell, SRO GT4 America is not one of those, sadly. But who knows, maybe some rich American team will buy one to campaign here. If you’re one of those rich team owner type people, email motorsport @ lotuscars [dot] com. Then hit me up at @gregckach on Twitter so I can help you drive it.
Radford 62-2 John Player Special
Remember Radford? They arguably stole Pebble Beach with a stunning throwback to a classic Lotus race car called the Radford 62-2. It’s a company founded by Formula 1 World Champion Jenson Button, F1 TV presenter Ant Anstead, and designer Mark Stubbs. Two versions of the car have been shown up to this point, one is a “back to the basics” type of sports car and the other is the sportier Gold Leaf version (complete with a gorgeous throwback livery). Well now we’ve got that third version that was promised – the John Player Special.
This one is more track-focused than the others and has the most power of the bunch. So its 3.5-liter supercharged V6 from Toyota (as with the Evora and Emira) which gets beefed up to 600 horsepower. It’s paired with a dual-clutch transmission because race car, and while it may not have super crazy aero, it does have a bigger splitter and some real downforce. But it’s not nearly enough downforce to dominate the driving experience. This is the kind of sports car that’ll make you work for the lap times, and that’s kind of the point.
It’s a seriously cool car that any one of us would be lucky to even see. Just twelve of these cars will be produced, each with this outrageously beautiful hand-painted JPS scheme.
What’s your automotive news?
That’s all I’ve got for you this week, so now it’s your turn. If you saw anything, fixed something, broke everything, or otherwise did anything even remotely car related that you want to share with your fellow hoon, sound off in the comments.
Have a good weekend.