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Is Subaru about to expand its performance line-up beyond WRX and BRZ? Levorg's hi-po move opens door for new 2022 Subaru Outback, Forester and XV flagships

The new WRX Sportswagon is essentially the latest Levorg with the upcoming WRX’s engine and transmission fitted.

Subaru has a rich history of performance models, with nameplates like WRX, WRX STI and, more recently, BRZ synonymous with adrenaline-pumping fun. But has the brand just started a revolution that will see more models added to its hi-po line-up?

Earlier this month, Subaru revealed the Australian market’s exclusive new WRX Sportswagon, a load-lugging five-door that gives WRX buyers a more practical – but just as punchy – alternative to the traditional four-door sedan.

However, the WRX Sportswagon isn’t just simply a two-box version of the next-generation WRX sedan that was revealed last month. If anything, it’s actually a sportier Levorg.

You see, Australia has been waiting a while for the second-generation Levorg to be launched locally, but it turns out Subaru won’t sell it here, after all – well, kind of.

It doesn’t matter what the badge on the tailgate says, the WRX Sportswagon is quite literally the new Levorg – but just with one of the WRX sedan’s two latest engine and transmission combinations.

Confused? It’s important to keep in mind all Subaru models sold in Australia – excluding the BRZ two-door coupe – will soon be based on the brand’s SGP platform.

In fact, the WRX and yet-to-be-revealed WRX STI sedans are the last two purely Subaru models to make the switch to the SGP underpinnings, meaning the performance pair won’t be that far removed from the current Impreza, XV, Forester and Outback.

Which brings us to what could happen in the future. But before we go there, it’s worth mentioning the following is mostly speculation. As always, time will tell which way it goes.

Anyway. Subaru has just shown a willingness to put the WRX sedan’s new 2.4-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine in other models. Again, we’re ignoring the fact the brand is marketing the hi-po Levorg as the WRX Sportswagon.

So, which other models could also be in line for a serious engine upgrade?

Firstly, we’ll exclude the Impreza small car from our speculation because it is the model the WRX and WRX STI were variants of until its previous generation.

2022 Subaru WRX sedan 2022 Subaru WRX sedan

The chances of the XV small SUV getting a performance variant are stronger, but given its close relationship to the Impreza hatchback (it’s basically a higher-riding version) and, therefore, WRX and WRX STI sedans, we certainly wouldn’t bet on it.

That said, an XV ‘WRX’ would seemingly be a better offering than the WRX Sportswagon (née Levorg ‘WRX’) given it would be based on an SUV – or, more to the point, a crossover. After all, one body-style (SUV) is significantly more popular than the other (wagon).

An XV ‘WRX’ would certainly put the frighteners on the Hyundai Kona N, Volkswagen T-Roc R and company, especially if it shares the WRX sedan’s 202kW/350Nm tune, like the WRX Sportswagon is expected to.

And then we have the second likeliest to get the WRX treatment, the Forester mid-size SUV. The series won hearts and minds with its previous turbocharged XT flagships, but its fifth generation doesn’t offer such a variant.

Yes, the Japanese-market Forester is now available with a 1.8-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine – having debuted in the second-generation Levorg locally – but it’s not a hi-po unit like that in the WRX sedan, making ‘just’ 130kW/300Nm.

2022 Subaru Forester 2022 Subaru Forester

The WRX sedan’s 202kW/350Nm 2.4-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine gives Subaru a way to bring back the Forester XT and really put the pressure on the Volkswagen Tiguan R and even the comfort-focused but still turbocharged Mazda CX-5 Turbo and Ford Escape.

However, if you were going to put money on one of Subaru’s models to dip into the WRX parts bin, make sure it’s the Outback large SUV. After all, its eighth generation is already available with a version of the 2.4-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine in North America.

Funnily enough, the Outback’s take on the so-called ‘FA24’ unit is actually torquier than that of the WRX sedan. Yep, it has a 25Nm advantage, at 375Nm, although it does concede 6kW of power, at 194kW.

But keep in mind the Outback isn’t available with the WRX sedan and WRX Sportswagon’s Subaru Performance Transmission (SPT), which has 30 and 50 per cent faster (simulated) upshifts and downshifts respectively, and rev-matching functionality over the former’s ‘regular’ continuously variable transmission (CVT).

2022 Subaru Outback 2022 Subaru Outback

In other words, Subaru could take the Outback even further than it already has, to give it a proper performance bent and send shivers up the proverbial spines of the models it competes with, most of which offer turbocharged four-cylinder or naturally aspirated V6 engines.

As reported last February, CarsGuide understands Subaru will eventually add the FA24 to Australia’s Outback range. At the time, the brand’s local general manager, Blair Read, described it as a better fit for the model than the Forester.

“In terms of a preference perspective, the Outback and its use lends itself better to other engine options than the Forester,” he said.

“A turbocharged engine has never been in the Outback – that’s something we’re looking at and discussing with the factory.

“We’ve seen what’s been written and the customer feedback, and we know there is some demand out there, and we are looking at future options.”

Needless to say, it appears Subaru isn’t done with putting its highest-performing engine in more Australian-market models. Stay tuned.