Production is limited to 500 units of the 2020 special-edition Subaru WRX model. (Manufacturer photo)

Production is limited to 500 units of the 2020 special-edition Subaru WRX model. (Manufacturer photo)

2020 Subaru WRX lineup adds new special-edition model

Bilstein sport-tuned suspension, Brembo brakes with red calipers, and Recaro front seats are highlights.

Subaru’s WRX compact sports sedan carries on its tradition of exciting performance teamed with four-door practicality and all-wheel-drive stability. For 2020 the Premium and Limited models get a couple of nice new features, and there’s a new WRX special edition version called the Series.White. That dot between the two words isn’t a typo, by the way.

The Premium and Limited enhancements are Welcome Lighting (automatic illumination as you approach the car with the key fob at hand) and automatic headlight operation triggered by windshield wiper activation and deactivation.

The WRX Series.White version is created by a $4,200 option package added to the Premium model. The package includes 18-inch alloy wheels with a matte bronze finish, Brembo brakes with red calipers, high-performance Bilstein sport-tuned suspension, performance-designed Recaro front seats with eight-way power for the driver’s side, steering responsive headlights with LED low and high beams, LED fog lights, keyless access with push button start, and exclusive trim for the interior and exterior.

The WRX Series.White comes only with a six-speed manual transmission, and for weight reduction, no moonroof is available. Production will be limited to 500 units.

The flamboyant Subaru WRX Series.White is the model I drove for this review. It has the same 2.0-liter turbocharged flat-four engine used in the other WRX trims, generating 268 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. Premium fuel is required. Fuel economy ratings for the manual transmission are 21 mpg city, 27 mpg highway, and 23 mpg combined.

The 2020 Subaru WRX compact sports sedan has a 268-horsepower flat-four engine. (Manufacturer photo)

The 2020 Subaru WRX compact sports sedan has a 268-horsepower flat-four engine. (Manufacturer photo)

Standard features inside the car include heated front seats and a multimedia system with 7-inch touchscreen, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, SiriusXM radio, and two USB ports. The front seats are supportive and comfortable, as expected from Recaro, but rear seats are pleasantly comfortable, too.

Basic safety equipment is standard, but not advanced safety systems such as emergency braking, rear cross traffic alert, blind spot monitoring and so on.

With seating for five and a goodly amount of comfort and convenience amenities, the WRX Series.White qualifies as a family sedan or daily driver, but those uses are unquestionably secondary to its high-performance driving attributes. The cabin is not a quiet one nor a soothing one. Road noise is considerable and every bump in the road registers. But when that 268-horsepower turbo engine kicks in, any thoughts of road noise or rough riding vanish. Precision steering, handling, and braking chime in with the joyful chorus and all is well.

I can’t lavish praise on the manual transmission, sorry to say. Quite a bit of herky-jerky took place during the test week. Coordinating the clutch with the engine’s dancing is not a cinch, and getting the shift lever into Reverse requires an awkward pulling up of the shift boot followed by what feels like the lever being opposed to the move.

The base price of the WRX Series.White is $34,895 including destination. Remember, $4,200 of that amount is for the Series.White option package. A WRX Premium without that package starts at $30,695.

2020 SUBARU WRX PREMIUM SERIES.WHITE

Base price, including destination charge: $34,895

Price as driven: $35,259

Mary Lowry is an independent automotive writer who lives in Snohomish County. She is a member of the Motor Press Guild, and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturers as a one-week loan for review purposes only. In no way do the manufacturers control the content of the reviews.

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