The Subaru Impreza WRX, or Subaru WRX, is a sports variant of the entry-level Impreza sedan and hatchback. The Impreza is in its fourth-generation since being introduced in model year 1992. All WRX models sold in North America have been all-wheel drive, considered a staple of Subaru vehicles now. The high-performance version of the WRX, called the WRX STI, was introduced as a faster-paced, more rally-focused WRX model. The WRX name itself comes from World Rallycross racing and stems from Subaru's own rallycross racing term "World Rally eXperimental."
The first-generation of the Impreza began in 1992 and ran for eight years. During the eight years of the first-gen Impreza, the WRX model saw steady improvements to its power plant and chassis tuning, becoming more and more sport-tuned.
The second-generation Impreza entered the market in 2000 with continued tweaks to engine output and handling. The STI model saw annual updates to its race-inspired content as drivetrain developments continued.
The third-generation Impreza WRX began to popularize the five-door hatchback version of the Impreza and WRX with this 2008 release. As in previous builds, this generation of the WRX saw many improvements that trickled down from the race-inspired STI model. This generation also saw many one-off and limited-production packages being offered with paints and interior changes exclusive to them. Especially the WRX STI Special Edition offered in 2010.
In 2011, the fourth-generation of the Subaru Impreza WRX was introduced, but dropping the Impreza name from its moniker. Also changed was the engine, which became a whole new platform, which offered a broader power output curve. This became the most powerful WRX model yet.
Problems with the WRX center around the clutch on manual transmission models. Subaru's clutch is very tight-fitting and requires some practice for many drivers who're used to a more forgiving clutch. Some problems in manufacture, though, such as bad clutch plates, did sneak in during the 2015 model year, but were repaired under warranty.
True competitors to the Subaru WRX are difficult to name, though close competition does come from the Volkswagen Golf R and the Ford Focus ST or Volkswagen GTI. Only the Golf R offers all-wheel drive, but in a package that is significantly more expensive than the WRX.