2024 Subaru WRX RS Review: Track Upgrades Make a More Fun Road Car

Jeff Wilson
by Jeff Wilson
The 2024 Subaru WRX RS is the Canadian equivalent to the Subaru WRX TR

2024 Subaru WRX RS Quick Take

With the Subaru WRX STI no longer on sale, the regular WRX has taken the reigns as the top performing Subaru. Designed to appeal to a larger crowd of consumers, the WRX is a lot fun to drive, but a bit soft around the edges for those that really like to push their cars.

To satisfy those folks, Subaru has introduced the higher performing WRX RS (WRX TR in the United States). To show off the brand's newest offering, Subaru invited us to a track day with the car, where we discovered the RS mostly succeeds in its mission.

Photos by: Jeff Wilson

It was an impressive flex by Subaru. Not only had they invited a handful of automotive reviewers to come and sample the highest-performing versions of their WRX and BRZ models at Shannonville Motorsport Park, but then they made it pour with rain.

For most car companies, rain at a track event spells disaster, but for Subaru it simply helped show off just what makes a car like the WRX so great. It’s a bonafide performance machine that isn’t just suited to sunny days and smooth pavement, but gravel roads and puddle splashes too.

What's New: A Sharper WRX

The biggest update to the 2024 Subaru WRX RS are six-piston caliper front brembo brakes and two piston rear

Even still, Subaru has heard the requests for a sharper, more track-focused WRX and that’s where the new RS trim comes in ( TR in the United States). Like its BRZ tS sibling, the biggest upgrade isn’t to the powertrain, but to the brakes. The RS gets bright red, six-piston Brembo front calipers clamping down on cross-drilled rotors that have grown an inch, while the rear, 2-piston binders squeeze discs that are roughly an inch-and-a-half bigger than before.

An upside to having the manufacturer do the tuner-car upgrades is that they tend to be really well-sorted, and Subaru has taken pains to calibrate these brakes with their steroidal stopping power to be usable in a street setting too. They’ve got fantastic bite and a firm pedal feel, but they’re not grabby, being easy to modulate even when puttering around on the road.

Although it has a different name in Canada compared to the United States, the RS and TR are nearly identical. In the United States, it lists for $42,755 (all prices include destination charges). In Canada, it's a major bargain, costing just $43,990. For comparison, the WRX TR costs $3,480 less than a 2024 Toyota GR Corolla Circuit Edition in America. In Canada, the WRX RS under cuts the GR Corolla Circuit by a whopping $14,920.

Handling: More Track Focused

Hitting the track in the 2024 Subaru WRX RS is even more fun after a rain storm

To help get the most out of those Brembos, the RS also gets a set of larger wheels (19-inchers) wrapped with sticky Bridgestone Potenza S007 tires instead of the Dunlop Sport Maxx GT600As found on the other WRXes.

The first of the two-day lapping event was a warm, sunny one. My peers on the first day didn’t hold back on their abuse of the tires and brakes, making me presume Subaru would be replacing everything for a fresh start the second day for the arrival of the second group. Not so, yet despite that, the brakes were wonderfully fade-free and the tires still clung to the track just fine, reinforcing that these upgrades are a decent choice.

The RS’s steering rack and electric power steering was retuned in the interest of sharpening up the steering immediacy and feel. The dampers were also stiffened to help flatten the WRX’s handling, too. Some of the new components added mass to the car, which has been offset by the removal of the space-saver spare tire from the trunk, and the power sunroof. The latter also helps lower the car’s centre of gravity slightly, too.

During our morning lapping session, the track was still mostly dry and we began in the smaller, lighter BRZ tS. Hopping out of the little coupe and into the WRX RS clarified just how different the two performance cars are in terms of feel and mission. The BRZ was already a fleet-footed and rewarding handler, but the slight upgrades to the tS made it sharper and better-suited to the track than before. The WRX’s turbocharged engine makes its significantly greater torque and horsepower felt as soon as the driver has exited the pit, and the new brakes are brilliant. But even initiating turn-in at the first corner, the bigger car’s mass, height and softer suspension became evident.

Drivability: Track or Rally

Inside the WRX RS does not receive any updates. It's the same as mid-trim models

The WRX’s handling upgrades are incremental, and while they’ll surely help a skilled driver shave fractional time from his or her laps, someone looking to tune their WRX with lapping days being the top priority will still likely find it still too soft. Not wanting to sound ungrateful for the efforts Subaru has done to the RS, know that it is still tremendous fun to grab it by the scruff of the neck and drive it wildly around the track. Its all-wheel-drive system means a driver can be more ham-fisted when picking a line, and jump back on the throttle early for corner exit, just as it’s always been. It’ll even make a mediocre driver feel like an ace as it drifts into little, easily-controlled slides. Plus, that compliant suspension means if a tire or two drops on to the dirt, or over the curbing, it’s not going to upset the car like it would in something stiffer and lower.

When given the choice between the two cars for lapping, the BRZ seemed to be the more popular pick amongst our group despite its relative power deficit. Such is the joy of dancing the smaller car around the course, its steering providing scalpel-sharp reactions to subtle driver inputs. But when the rain came down harder as the day went on, the BRZ became more of a handful, while the WRX just kept confidently doing its thing.

The Recaro seats are supportive when driving hard, but still comfortable for daily use

Finally, so much water was pooling on the pavement (and the maintenance crew had become weary from rescuing a wayward BRZ stuck in the mud) that officials shut down the track, at which point, a few of us took to the secondary rural roads in the area to continue our testing of the new RS. There, on the pock-marked, partly-flooded and gravel roads, the WRX had as much fun as a four-year-old splashing in puddles. Recalling its rally car heritage, the Subie blasted around, wipers furiously whipping water from the windshield, and with me grinning ear-to-ear, all the while being hugged by the RS’s standard Recaro seats.

2024 Subaru WRX RS: Final thoughts

After the lapping day was cancelled due to too much rain, ew took the 2024 Subaru WRX RS out for a street drive

This is the point of the WRX. Although it’s more refined than ever before, the new RS simply makes it more of what most buyers probably want their sports sedan to be. It’s slightly more capable at ripping off quicker lap times, but now, out on the roads, the sharper steering, better braking and grip just make it more fun to fling around. Best of all, the WRX RS is still comfortable and practical enough to be used for daily, family duties, but wild enough to be tons of fun regardless of the road surface, or whether its dry, wet or even snowy. That’s what we’ve always loved about the WRX, and it continues to be one of the best choices for a real-world, every day performance car. With the RS trim, it’s just even more fun. Nice flex, Subaru.

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The 271 hp 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine is unchanged in the 2024 Subaru WRX RS

2024 Subaru WRX RS FAQs

  • Q: How much HP does a 2024 Subaru WRX have?
  • A: All versions of the WRX come with 271 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque
  • Q: How Much is the Subaru WRX RS in Canada?
  • A: It costs $43,990 including destination charges in Canada
  • Q: Will there be a Subaru WRX STI?
  • A: As of now the answer is no. The RS/TR is the top performing WRX.



Fun on Road or Track

Still a Bit Soft

Modulation of Upgraded Brakes

No Power Increase

Pricing in Canada

We Still Miss the Hatchback


2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder


271 hp, 258 lb-ft





Fuel Economy USA (MPG):

19 city, 26 highway

Fuel Economy Canada (L/100 km):

12.3 city, 9.0 highway

As Tested Price USA (TR):


As Test Price Canada (RS):


Jeff Wilson
Jeff Wilson

If there’s anything better than a good road trip through the desert, Jeff probably hasn’t heard of it. He’s got a propensity for buying less-than-perfect sports cars like a well-worn Boxster, an M Roadster and an MR2, but has applied a lifetime of passion to more than a dozen years of automotive and motorcycle reviews. He’s even collected several awards in the process including recognition for Best Automotive Review and Best Published Photography from the Automobile Journalists of Canada in 2023.

More by Jeff Wilson

Join the conversation
2 of 4 comments
  • CJR CJR on May 20, 2024

    At least subaru knows enough not to have their CVT as an option.

  • Jeremy Jeremy on May 30, 2024

    The 2024 Subaru WRX RS is a game-changer, blending power, technology, and style seamlessly. With its turbocharged Boxer engine and upgraded features, it offers a thrilling driving experience. The interior is refined, and the exterior design commands attention. For added comfort and protection, consider investing in a car auto sun shade to keep your WRX RS cool and protected. Don't miss out on upgrading your driving experience!

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