The 2022 Subaru WRX’s MPG Is Worse Than My 18-Year-Old BMW M3

  • The 2022 Subaru WRX gets 22 MPG overall
  • My 2004 BMW M3 manages 22.1 MPG overall, but the WRX’s competition does even better
  • Subaru says its EPA fuel economy scores are down to full-time AWD and selectable drive modes

Let’s get this out of the way now. No one looking to buy a sports car is going in with fuel economy as a concern. But Subaru has shifted the 2022 Subaru WRX’s focus towards an older, more grown-up audience. That’s evidenced by a higher-quality interior and the comfier WRX GT trim level. That audience might just give a crap about Subaru’s MPG ratings, which is why the new WRX’s EPA fuel economy scores are a little concerning.

A white 2022 Subaru WRX shot from the 3/4 angle
Subaru’s new WRX | Subaru

RELATED: Which 2022 Subaru WRX Trim Level Is Best?

The 2022 Subaru WRX gets 22 MPG combined

The EPA has released their fuel economy ratings for the newest Subie rally car for the street. The 2022 Subaru WRX gets 22 MPG combined, 19 MPG city, and 26 MPG highway. Strangely, that’s better than the automatic 2022 WRX’s 21/19/25 figures. But every little bit counts, especially with how high gas prices are now. Unfortunately, the bad news continues. I saw the EPA ratings and decided to see what my 2004 BMW M3 could manage after a day’s driving.

My route was roughly 13 miles (to the mechanic’s of course) followed by a roughly 25-mile roundtrip shot up the highway and into the city. I’m no EPA, but I believe the route followed a good mix of roads. I hit highways, stop-go traffic, and empty side streets while running errands. The result? My E46 BMW M3, an 18-year-old sports car, got better fuel economy than a brand-new 2022 Subaru WRX. I got 22.1 MPG according to my trip computer.

A black 2004 BMW M3 shot in profile at dusk
My BMW M3 | Chase Bierenkove, MotorBiscuit

Why is the WRX’s MPG worse than my E46 BMW M3?

The gauge cluster of an E46 BMW M3 showing 22.1 MPG
I returned 22.1 MPG on a 13-mile journey | Chase Bierenkoven, MotorBiscuit

There’s a number of explanations for it, one of which is that my car has two less driven wheels, being RWD. The other comes right from Subaru via Jalopnik. In short, Subaru says that their full-time AWD system contributes to the number, and says that the new ‘Rex’s selectable drive modes can yield more desirable results as the car is tested in “Sport” by default. Obviously, the fact remains that the EPA got worse gas mileage than even the previous Subaru WRX. As Tom McParland at Jalopnik pointed out, the new WRX should improve on the old one in all aspects, “and not take a step backward.”

But let’s give Subaru some credit and say, as a worst-case, that the EPA’s figures for my BMW M3 are more accurate (below), and I’m getting worse fuel economy than my car says. Obviously, that’s very possible given its age and mileage (124,000). The issue of the 2022 Subaru WRX’s fuel economy still stands, even if my car is getting worse fuel economy. The ‘Rex’s two biggest competitors: the Volkswagen GTI and Golf R both manage better combined, city, and highway MPG ratings.

A screenshot of the EPA's fuel economy ratings for an E46 BMW M3, a new WRX, and the new Golf GTI and R
My trip computer could be optimistic | Screenshot: EPA

How much is the 2022 Subaru WRX?

A blue 2022 Subaru WRX shot from the 3/4 angle on a rainy highway
The 2022 Subaru WRX | Subaru

Once again, to be fair to Subaru, fuel economy isn’t much of a concern for much of the WRX’s target audience. But to have it be worse than the old one while still making the same power? Tom is right when he says that the newest version of a car enthusiasts hold so dear should be better in every way. Right now, the WRX is worse in at least one.

RELATED: Buyer’s Guide: BMW E46 M3 (2000-2006)