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Best Mods for A 4th Gen Subaru WRX (2014-2021)

November 6, 2021

 

So, you own a 4th gen Subaru WRX and are looking to start rippin' it apart—just as any eager enthusiast would. And rightfully so.

The WRX platform has long been one of the best, most versatile, and heavily supported platforms out there. 

 

 

Whether you just picked up a new 2014 to 2021 Subaru WRX, or you've been enjoying the car as it is before you start throwing cash at it, this best mods list will make it easy to know where to start. 

If your used WRX is already modified but was poorly done, the parts of this list are FRESH and the most popular parts and brands on the market. 

 

A show-oriented, blue 2019 Subaru WRX Limited running Aodhan DS02 18x9.5 +22 wrapped in Nankang NS-20 225/35 and Air Lift Performance Air Suspension

2019 Subaru WRX Limited | Aodhan DS02 18x9.5 +22 | Nankang NS-20 225/35 | Air Lift Performance Air Suspension

Thanks to our friends over at MAPerformance, every performance part on this list can be sourced directly from them! 

MAP is the holy grail of performance parts destinations for the Subaru WRX and STI platforms if you didn't already know, so make sure you add your car to their garage once you're set up with wheels, tires, and suspension from your friends here at FI. 

 

CHECK OUT THE 2014-2021 SUBARU WRX GALLERY

 

Quick Links:

- Overview of the 4th Gen WRX 

- Best First Mods for 4th Gen Subaru WRX

Best 4th Gen Subaru WRX Performance Parts 

   - Better Breathing

   - Exhaust Upgrade

   - Downpipe Upgrade

   - Plug and Play 

Final Thoughts 

 

2019 Subaru WRX Base running JNC Jnc005 19x9.5 +35 wheels with Continental Extremecontact Dws06 245/35 and Whiteline Lowering Springs

2019 Subaru WRX Base | JNC Jnc005 19x9.5 +35 | Continental Extremecontact DWS06 245/35 

 

 

Overview of the 4th Gen WRX 

Releasing in 2014, Impreza was removed from the name, so this generation is only known as the "WRX" and "WRX STI". Compared to previous generations, the 4th gen sports a renewed body style with a unique front end and rear quarters.

This is also the first generation of the WRX that moved away from the notorious EJ-series motors and replaced them with the FA20F 2.5 turbo 4-cylinder engine pushing out a respectable 268HP with a broader torque curve—258 lb-ft at 2,000 RP. 

Overall, the 4th gen WRX has a sportier feel with stiffer suspension, bigger brakes, bigger intake, and a lower center of gravity—all good things. This is the perfect platform to modify even though it's pretty snappy from the factory. 

 

 

While Subarus are generally known to be very reliable cars, every car has its downfalls. If you're new to the platform, here are a few things to watch out for before tossing new mods on and pushing out more power. 

The entire clutch and flywheel assembly on the 2015 and 2016 WRX models seems to be a big pain point.

 

2019 Subaru WRX Limited running Rays Engineering 57cr 18x9.5 +38 wheels wrapped in Firehawk Indy 500 255/40 and Air Lift Performance Air Suspension

2019 Subaru WRX Limited | Rays Engineering 57cr 18x9.5 +38 | Firehawk Indy 500 255/40 | Air Lift Performance Air Suspension

Additionally, the connecting rods can be at risk of failing with aggressive boost and tunes (duh, but it's still worth mentioning). If you're stock, you shouldn't have any problems with failing connecting rods. 

Another common issue with this gen WRX is carbon build-up since it has direct injection. While this issue occurs slowly over time, it can be corrected pretty easily with regular maintenance. 

 

2019 Subaru WRX Base running ESR Sr07 18x9.5 +22 wrapped in Federal 595 Rs-r 245/35 and riding on BC Racing Coilovers

2019 Subaru WRX Base | ESR SR07 18x9.5 +22 | Federal 595 Rs-r 245/35 | BC Racing Coilovers

 

 

 

Best First Mods for 4th Gen Subaru WRX

So, what are the best first mods for your 2014 to 2021 Subaru WRX? You guessed it—wheels, tires, and suspension.

This may sound a little biased, but no one can deny that throwing on a fresh set of sticky tires, new wheels, and coilovers is necessary for this enthusiast car. 

 

SLAP SOME WHEELS + TIRES ON YOUR WRX

 

2019 Subaru WRX Base running JNC Jnc005 19x9.5 +35 wheels with Continental Extremecontact Dws06 245/35 and Whiteline Lowering Springs

2019 Subaru WRX Base | JNC Jnc005 19x9.5 +35 | Continental Extremecontact DWS06 245/35 

Most, if not all, Subie WRX owners go with a set of adjustable coilovers because they get the lower stance and the freedom to adjust the ride quality.

Here are the most common brand/series of coilovers we see WRX owners running:

- BC Racing coilovers (BR or DS series)

- Fortune Auto 500 Series coilovers

- Tein Flex Z coilovers 

 

FIND COILOVERS THAT FIT YOUR WRX

 

A baby blue modified 2019 WRX running Work Emotion D9r 18x9.5 +38 with Barum Bravuris 3 245/40 and Faction Fab Coilovers

2019 Subaru WRX Premium | Work Emotion D9R 18x9.5 +38 | Barum Bravuris 3 245/40 | Faction Fab Coilovers

Lowering springs will improve handling for sure, but there's no adjustability.

If you're more interested in lowering springs, here are a few options:

- Tein High Tech Spring Kit

- Tein S.Tech Spring Kit

- H&R lowering springs

- Eibach Pro-Kit performance lowering springs

 

FIND LOWERING SPRINGS THAT FIT YOUR WRX

 

A deep blue 2019 Subaru WRX Base cruising down the street with  Aodhan Ah-x 18x9.5 +35 wrapped in Nitto Neo Gen 245/40 and riding on Eibach Lowering Springs

2019 Subaru WRX Base | Aodhan AH-X 18x9.5 +35 | Nitto Neo Gen 245/40 | Eibach Lowering Springs

If you're shooting for a stance build-style, air suspension is ideal because you'll get the lowest ride height while having control over the ride quality, like coilovers. 

 

A bright pink modified 2019 Subaru WRX Premium running the iconic Work Emotion Cr Kiwami 18x9.5 +25 wrapped in  Dunlop Sp Sport Maxx 245/40 and riding on Air Lift Performance Air Suspension

2019 Subaru WRX Premium | Work Emotion CR Kiwami 18x9.5 +25 | Dunlop Sp Sport Maxx 245/40 | Air Lift Performance Air Suspension

When it comes to wheels and tires, this is totally a personal choice. If you're building a track-oriented WRX, keep the wheel weight in mind and find sport, sticky tires.

You'll want to aim for a high level of steering response with the lowest unsprung weight, so lightweight wheels wrapped in performance tires are going to be your best bet. 

 

CHECK OUT LIGHTWEIGHT WHEELS FOR YOUR WRX

 

 

On the other hand, if you're purely interested in looks, wheel weight isn't much of a concern, and the tires you run won't matter as much either unless you want a stretched setup. In that case, you'll want to find tires with a soft sidewall that's easy to stretch. 

Finding your perfect fitment is the biggest challenge here, so I'd highly suggest checking out our online fitment gallery for the 4th gen WRX and look at what other people are running. You can filter the results by suspension, wheel sizes, tires sizes, and so much more. 

 

2019 Subaru WRX Base running ESR Sr07 18x9.5 +22 wrapped in Federal 595 Rs-r 245/35 and riding on BC Racing Coilovers

2019 Subaru WRX Base | ESR Sr07 18x9.5 +22 | Federal 595 Rs-r 245/35 | BC Racing Coilovers

We also have a wheel fitment guide that runs through several popular fitment styles for 2014-2021 Subaru WRXs. 

This should help narrow down your choices and provide a good foundation for Subaru WRX wheel and tire fitment. 

 

CHECK OUT THE 2015-2022 WRX FITMENT GUIDE

 

A bright orange 2020 Subaru WRX Base running F1R F01 18x9.5 +38 wrapped in Toyo Proxes Sport 245/35 and riding on BC Racing Coilovers

2020 Subaru WRX Bas | F1R F01 18x9.5 +38 | Toyo Proxes Sport 245/35 | BC Racing Coilovers

 

 

Best 4th Gen Subaru WRX Performance Parts 

Now on to the go-fast parts...well, the help-you-go-fast-parts. 

Since the WRX is equipped with a lil' turbski, most people will go straight for a tune. Before that, there are a few other goodies you might want to consider first. 

 

SAY HI TO OUR FRIENDS AT MAPERFORMNACE

 

A purple 2020 Subaru WRX Base running the Enkei Nt03 18x9.5 +40 wrapped in the Hankook Ventus Rs4 265/35 and riding on BC Racing Coilovers

2020 Subaru WRX Base | Enkei NT03 18x9.5 +40 | Hankook Ventus Rs4 265/35 | BC Racing Coilovers

 

Better Breathing

An internal combustion engine has four essential components: air, fuel, compression, and a spark. For a turbocharged car, like the 4th gen WRX, having an efficient breathing system to bring in colder air is imperative to its performance.

While the factory intake is bigger than previous generations, an aftermarket intake can help your FA20F breathe even better and give you all the cool intake noises—yes, this is important too. 

 

CHECK OUT INTAKES FOR YOUR WRX

 

A modified Subaru WRX running the MAPerformance Stage 2 intake

MAPerformance Stage 1+ Power Package | 2015-2020 Subaru WRX

MAP carries several different intakes for the WRX, including their own intake pipe made from 304 stainless steel for superior corrosion resistance and a sexy appearance with a K&N filter.

The nice thing about this specific intake is the heat shield and the MAF extension harness. The heat shield keeps the intake protected from hot air from the engine, and the extension harness allows you to relocate the MAF for optimal placement. Remember, cold air is better for boost! 

 

A modified Subaru WRX running the MAPerformance Stage 2 intake

MAPerformance Stage 1+ Power Package | 2015-2020 Subaru WRX

MAP also carries several more intake kits from Cobb, AEM, Grimmspeed, Perrin, Mishimoto, K&N, and more. 

Regardless of what brand you go with, an intake is one of the best and most simple upgrades you can make. 

 

2016 Subaru WRX Premium running Cosmis Racing Xt-006r 18x11 +8 wrapped in Federal 595 275/45 and Air Lift Performance Air Suspension

2016 Subaru WRX Premium | Cosmis Racing Xt-006r 18x11 +8 | Federal 595 275/45 | Air Lift Performance Air Suspension

 

Exhaust Upgrade

One of my personal favorite upgrades is a new exhaust system. Aside from the heavenly engine/exhaust noises, upgrading your WRX's exhaust also contributes to better breathing.

Paired with an intake, you'll definitely be able to gain some more power, even if it's a small gain. 

 

CHECK OUT EXHAUSTS FOR YOUR WRX

 

MAP Catback Exhaust System for a 2015-2020 Subaru WRX / STI

MAP Catback Exhaust System | 2015-2020 Subaru WRX / STI

A less restrictive exhaust system allows the exhaust gases to flow through and out of the car much more smoothly—again, letting your car breathe better.

Because of this, you're likely not going to pass emissions if your state and/or county has emission testing (ew). Keep this in mind if you want to upgrade. 

MAP loves exhausts, so much so they also have their very own axel back and full cat-back exhaust using 304 stainless steel, so rust isn't an issue. Everything is expertly tig welded, so it looks as good as it sounds. 

 

A MAP full catback exhaust for a 4th gen Subaru WRX

MAP Catback Exhaust System | 2015-2020 Subaru WRX / STI

Of course, MAP carries tons of other exhaust systems, especially for the 4th gen WRX from brands like Invidia, Remark, Tomei, Cobb, Borla, and more! 

Make sure you research the sound of each exhaust system before you grab one. 

 

An invidia exhaust matted to a 2019 Subaru WRX

2019 Subaru WRX Base | ESR Sr07 18x9.5 +22 | Federal 595 Rs-r 245/35 | BC Racing Coilovers

 

 

Downpipe Upgrade

Forced induction adds an entirely new list of upgrades to your standard car modifications list.

For the turbocharged WRX, upgrading the stock downpipe to a bigger and less restrictive downpipe helps the built-up pressure from the exhaust gasses easily escape through the exhaust. 

 

CHECK OUT DOWNPIPES FOR YOUR WRX

 

A bright orange 2020 Subaru WRX Base running F1R F01 18x9.5 +38 wrapped in Toyo Proxes Sport 245/35 and riding on BC Racing Coilovers

2020 Subaru WRX Bas | F1R F01 18x9.5 +38 | Toyo Proxes Sport 245/35 | BC Racing Coilovers

MAP's catted downpipe is an awesome upgrade to help open up that airway, even more, using 304 stainless steel and a CNC'd turbo outlet flange. 

Again, it's all about letting the car breathe better. This is the first step to any bigger power gains in the future. 

 

A turbo downpipe for the 4th gen WRX from MAPerformance!

MAP WRX Catted Downpipe Rev 2 | 2015-2020 Subaru WRX MT

 

You can also pick up an aftermarket downpipe at MAP from brands like Cobb, Grimmspeed, Mishimoto, Perrin, ETS, Invidia, and STM. 

 

 

 

Plug and Play 

The final and most anticipated mod for the 4th gen WRX is a tune. And yes, I'm talking about the golden standard for WRX tunes, the Cobb Accessport.

This is a handheld tuner that makes it easy to unleash the potential of your engine, especially after throwing on an intake, exhaust, and downpipe. In fact, once you make those upgrades, you need to redo the factory tune to take advantage of the power gains. 

 

CHECK OUT TUNING KITS FOR YOUR WRX

 

A bright orange 2020 Subaru WRX Base running F1R F01 18x9.5 +38 wrapped in Toyo Proxes Sport 245/35 and riding on BC Racing Coilovers

 

The Cobb Accessport not only allows you to easily increase your engine's performance, but you can monitor engine metrics in real-time all while. This unit blends perfectly with the WRX interior and is considered a staple for any modified Subaru WRX. 

Our friends over at MAP have all versions of the Cobb Accessport, including the Stage 1 Big SF Power Package, the Stage 2+ Big SF Power Package, the Stage 2 Power Package, and the Cobb Accessport V3 tune. 

If your WRX is stock, MAP actually includes an off-the-shelf tune for FREE when you grab the Cobb Accessport from them. That's a steal, so take advantage of that if your WRX is currently stock. 

 

 

 

Final Thoughts 

The modification possibilities are seriously endless, especially for this massive platform, but this list is a perfect starting point if you just bought a used WRX, your WRX warranty expired, or you're about to send it. 

 

CHECK OUT THE 2014-2021 SUBARU WRX GALLERY

 

A silver modified 2017 Subaru WRX Sport-tech running AVID1 AV20 18x9.5 +38  wrapped in Dunlop Sp Sport Maxx 245/40

2017 Subaru WRX Sport-tech | AVID1 AV20 18x9.5 +38 | Dunlop Sp Sport Maxx 245/40

Once you're ready to upgrade your wheels, tires, and suspension, make sure you package your wheels and tires together so you can that fat package discount.

Plus, we'll mount, balance, and ship your setup for free! We also have guaranteed delivery dates on select packages, so you'll get your stuff before Christmas! 

 

SLAP SOME WHEELS + TIRES ON YOUR WRX

 

What do you think about the new WRX?! Love it? Hate it? Tell me your thoughts in the comments!

 

 

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