December 05, 2022 2 min read
The new “VB” chassis 2022 Subaru WRX has received a lot of attention for its new FA24 motor and the unique exterior design. Somewhat less attention has been paid to the new suspension and chassis changes. These changes are more than the usual spring and shock valving tweaks between generations and account for an impressive improvement in handling out of the box.
Overall vehicle weight and individual corner weights of the new generation are similar to the previous. However, the VB chassis WRX has a wheelbase that is almost a full inch longer than the previous generation. Track width increases a substantial 1.2 inches in front and rear. These dimensional changes are significant and add both stability and grip.
In terms of spring rates, the front coils were measured at a relatively soft 219 lbs/in and were linear. The rear springs are dual rate, with the first progression measuring at 172 lbs/in and the second at 280 lbs/in.
The softer rear progression soften impacts for certain types of bumps and helps add droop travel to the rear suspension.
Total suspension travel is impressive, allowing for improved handling and the ability to soak up bumps. Ample bump (compression) and droop (extension) travel is an important element of the standard car’s handling and ride abilities. Coilovers with significantly less travel may compromise these abilities.
The 2022 WRX use digressive dampers both front and rear. The front dampers are rebound biased, meaning more rebound damping than compression damping. The rear dampers have a fairly close ratio between rebound and compression damping. The standard damper valving is fairly good for a factory Subaru.
The 2022 WRX also uses the new Subaru Global Architecture rear swaybar mounting method. This means that the bar mounts directly to the chassis and removes a small amount of deflection through the subframe bushings. This is a good but minor change.
The stiffer chassis structure of the VB platform and Subaru Global Architecture is an important improvement. This can be felt from the driver’s seat but is difficult to quantify. Reducing chassis flex has the effect of an overall increase in spring rate and helps the car feel more consistent.
An important consideration is that a car with a stiffer chassis structure will be more sensitive to suspension changes than one a softer chassis structure. This means that a properly designed suspension is necessary to maintain a good handling. Furthermore, suspension adjustments from a baseline will have a more noticeable effect, requiring more attention to make the right changes for the desired impact on ride and handling.