New Car Reviews

The Subaru WRX Series.Gray Proves Looks Are Only Skin Deep

It’s true for beauty, and it’s true for, uh, the opposite of beauty.

Flat gray is a good color on cars, it turns out, whether that car is an Audi TT or a Ferrari 488 or a Subaru WRX. And having a good color on a car that’s otherwise visually awkward is a nice way to blend the form into the background and let the attitude of the color and the vehicle’s stance take center stage. That’s exactly the pose the limited-edition WRX Series.Gray strikes, and it’s even more endearing than the standard WRX.

Aside from the very earliest generations, the Subaru WRX is and pretty much has always been a standard-bearer for not judging a book by its cover. Does it look like an ungainly, inexpensive econo-box draped in a seemingly unrelated array of ostensibly aerodynamic flaps, scoops, and park benches? Yes. But it doesn’t drive like one. Not at all.

It might not be the precision scalpel that is the Honda Civic Type R, but at a few grand less (the WRX Series.Gray is priced from $33,480) it’s a relative deal, and aside from the Type R, there aren’t many cars south of $50,000 that’ll run with the Subie. But that’s not unique to the Series.Gray, which gets a decent list of upgrades over a standard WRX in addition to being limited to just 750 units. The current WRX is, in general, a heck of a fun car for the money.

Driving the WRX Series.Gray around town for most of a week, the most surprising thing was that it turned heads. Not all of them, by any means, or even many of them, but it did turn some—and in car-weary Los Angeles, turning even a single head is a feat for anything short of a brand-new supercar. We chalk that up to nothing but the simple impact of a flat-gray paint job. The least surprising aspect of our time with it was that it was a perfectly comfy, capable city runabout. Its manual transmission and punchy turbo torque made for a great traffic-hopper, too, when the mood struck, although with more appreciable turbo lag than you’ll find in most modern cars, brisk driving can require a bit of planning.

The special Series.Gray package builds on the WRX Premium with 18-inch black wheels, Crystal Black Silica badges, the gray paint, microsuede-trimmed Recaro sport seats (eight-way power adjustable for the driver), upgraded front brake pads, a moonroof delete, LED headlights that turn when you steer, LED fog lights, and keyless entry with pushbutton start. If you opt for the Series.Gray package on the WRX STI (just 250 of which will reach America), you’ll also add 19-inch wheels, special silver and black treatment for the Brembo calipers, and a revised tune for the STI’s Bilstein dampers. The WRX STI Series.Gray starts from $40,580. For those hoping to snag a WRX Series.Gray with the CVT—and who are you people?—you’re out of luck, as this enthusiast-focused version is only available with a six-speed manual.

Given the good manners and great value of a standard WRX, is the price of entry into the Series.Gray club worth it? Perhaps not, given that any WRX Premium can be equipped with a package that includes the Recaro seats, upgraded front brake pads, and moonroof delete for $33,315. But just an additional $165 gets the Series.Gray and its special exterior color (not available otherwise) and all the rest. Not bad at all.

So if you’re into the WRX Series.Gray you should definitely buy one. Is it the very best way you could spend your money? Maybe not. But is it a great way to spend your money, and one you’re unlikely to regret? Absolutely. And remember: Cars are not like marriage. You don’t have to feel bad about trading out for a different model every few years.

2019 Subaru WRX Series.Gray Specifications

ON SALE Now
BASE PRICE $33,480/$32,205 (base/as tested)
ENGINE 2.0L turbocharged DOHC 16-valve inline-4; 268 hp @ 5,600 rpm, 258 lb-ft @ 5,200 rpm
TRANSMISSION 6-speed manual
LAYOUT 4-door, 5-passenger, AWD sedan
EPA MILEAGE 21/27 mpg (city/hwy)
L x W x H 180.9 x 70.7 x 58.1 in
WHEELBASE 104.3 in
WEIGHT 3,340 lb
0–60 MPH 6.2 sec
TOP SPEED 144 mph

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