MAPerformance's Lifted WRX | Check Out This Impressive Ride

MAPerformance's Lifted WRX | Check Out This Impressive Ride

Apr 13, 2023Charlie Mayne

Part 1: Just trying to fit in

Living in the Midwest has its pros and cons as a car enthusiast. Our seasons provide a 4-6 month window for you to work on your car – which is debatably a pro or con – while there’s snow on the ground and salt on the roads. Arguably the worst part about all of that is that during those 4-6 months you really shouldn’t be driving your lowered car at all. So the car either sits under a cover, undergoes extensive modifications, or a mix of both if you happen to put it off as most of us do. However, with the release of new platforms like the 2022 Subaru VB WRX, we wanted to figure out how we could build something that embraces the winter wonderland we call home.

wrx 2022 lifted

2022 WRX Lifted

As I’m sure you already know, we settled on building a lifted VB WRX that would pull styling inspiration from the overland communities that have become so popular. But we also made sure to stay true to our street car modification roots and improve the drivetrain characteristics, cooling capabilities, your vehicle's handling, and even kicked the styling up a notch.

We started with the obvious which was addressing the ride height of the car. In its existing state the car was lowered on a set of Fortune Auto 500s and some Rays TE37s in Bronze which were wrapped in a set of Falken RT660s for our track days. Certainly not a Wheel, Tire, or Suspension setup that would be best suited for harsh winter off-road driving.

To combat the cold Winter weather, we connected with our friends at Eibach to explore their lift spring that's specifically designed for the VB chassis. Could we try out the innovative component to tackle all of winter's challenges?

We had to find out.

To my astonishment, Eibach had an extra set they produced during the R&D process ready and waiting, allowing us to get it from California to Minnesota in what seemed like record time. Huge shoutout to Eibach and the team over there for the killer support as always.

Next, we reached out to the guys at Fitment Industries and Custom Offsets to see if they had a recommendation for the right wheel and tire setup - as building an “off-road” or “overland” vehicle just isn’t our standard build path. After considering our styling and brand preferences, we settled on a set of 17x8 +38 Fifteen52 Metrix MX’s, and for tires, we chose to stay loyal to Falken and got a set of 225/55R17 Falken Wildpeak A/T’s. We stuck with the bronze front and rear wheels just to have a cool comparison shot with our old set of TEs that we’ll put back on come summer. Surely this setup with original camber specifications on the lifted 2022 WRX would allow us the clearance and traction to go through some bumpy gravel trails or some of the less-than-ideal snow drifts that pop up on MN roads from time to time.

Next was to try leaning into the overlanding-styled light pods. For those, we used some easy installation Diode Dynamics pod lights (Thanks, Diode Dynamics for sending those out for the project!) And for the light bar up front, we custom fabricated our light bar that would fit both the Diode Dynamics pod lights and a Diode Dynamics 18” LED light bar in scenarios where extra light would be necessary.

A few more pieces were necessary to complete the look of the overland/rally-inspired car.

One was our roof rack. For that, we used a set of roof rails for a VA Subaru WRX (this fit, but not necessarily perfectly) and a roof basket that we picked up from Harbor Freight. This basket helped achieve the storage and styling we wanted for the build. The last mod to complete the look was initially not at the forefront of my mind - but it needed a set of Rally Armour Mudflaps. How could I have forgotten one of the most commonly stereotyped parts of a Subaru?? Anyways, once that was installed it finally looked the part.

2022 WRX lifted and dual exhaust

And with that, we conclude part one of our VB Overland build, next up we will address the performance and power side of this platform. Although new, we are already seeing some awesome products that we can't wait to get on the car!

Part 2: Where do we go from here?

The car was previously set up for what would have been nearly stock + coilovers/wheels/tires testing - so it didn’t have much done to it yet. For the exhaust, we kept our MAPerformance VB WRX Catback on. But added a Cobb Accessport, Cobb Stage 1 Drivetrain Upgrade Kit (highly recommended for any VB owner), and a Cobb Intercooler to help keep temps down. Of course, the engine bay wouldn’t have been complete without adding some pieces from Perrin to the mix. We added the Perrin VB WRX Intake, Perrin Oil Fill Cap, Perrin Alternator Pulley Cover, and not that it fit in the engine bay, but we also added a Perrin Transmission Mount to firm things up a little more.

And with that, the build was finally in a stage where we felt like it was complete! The only thing left to do was take the car out for some testing to see what it could and couldn’t handle so that we could get some kind of feel for what this overlanding craze has been all about, and also to have a good time driving down some windy mud filled gravel roads. 

For that, I took the car from our home base in Cottage Grove up to Split Rock Lighthouse. On the trip, I had plans to check out some rock crawling trails to see if they’d even let me try, a perfect windy gravel forest road, a tunnel through the mountain-side that felt like it had been MADE for doing window-down tunnel pulls, and a few scenic windy roads that overlooked the Great Lake Superior.

wrx 2022

As expected, the guys at the rock crawling place wouldn’t even let me enter. It’s just not built enough for that. However, this car truly came to life and felt at home on the wooded forest roads in northern MN. The added lift from the Eibach Springs gave me the clearance I needed to get through the one-off obstacles I encountered and the handling improvements over stock gave me enough confidence to drive the car harder than normal. Of course, the crisp shifts provided by the Cobb Drivetrain Upgrade Kit made every shift more enjoyable than it would have otherwise been. The added induction noises from the Perrin intake also gave the car some fun characteristics as I modulated the throttle through various turns along the road.

Overall, this is where I felt like the car impressed me on this trip. Being the car enthusiast that I am, once I got comfortable with the car at the limits I was driving at, I only wanted more. This is where I can certainly see how people get down the rabbit hole of rally racing. Which is something that our existing suspension setup just isn’t meant to handle. Spirited drives around gravel backroads felt great, which is where I’d imagine most people would be using the car in this manner.

So, knowing that the car can’t go over major obstacles often found in rock crawling, but felt very at home on groomed gravel/muddy back roads I was certainly eager to drive it on a paved scenic road to feel how it would perform in standard every day driving situations to understand if the lifted car had me feeling like I was missing out on the fun I’d normally experience in a lowered street car.

And that’s exactly what I did on the rest of my spirited drive up to the Lighthouse. Carving along the edge of the highway that runs parallel to the breathtaking shoreline of Lake Superior I found myself forgetting the car was even lifted in the first place. Aside from some added noise from the tires, and the obnoxious howling from our roof basket, every other sound and feedback from the car I had as the driver led me to believe I was driving a car on a set of stiffer lowering springs. Which, for the everyday user, seems like an incredibly compelling offer. You get the option to shred some gravel back roads (worry-free), or enjoy the car as a fun daily that happens to have some added ground clearance.

Sounds like a win-win in my book.

My recommendations

My trip ended at the lighthouse, which was just a destination and point to turn around at for me. But it was still cool to see in person and was a fun experience to share with my girlfriend. We made our trip back down the shoreline stopping at various restaurants and trading posts to check out some of the local businesses. But aside from the occasional tunnel pull with the windows down, it was just a relaxing 3.5 hour drive back home.

wrx lifted

I’d highly recommend at least trying out the lifted build path if you’re a 22+ VB WRX owner. I’m sure there are some pretty polarizing opinions out there about this route. But it truly is a ton of fun and has certainly opened my eyes to another lens to look through and determine what it means to be a car enthusiast.

how to lift a wrx | larger diamter tires

Our Lifted WRX Build

Check out our latest lifted WRX build that's sure to offer some serious adventure. We've got everything listed for your convenience. From the lift-kit springs to the bronze wheels and the Diode Dynamics lighting, we've got you covered. We've also included a Cobb Accessport, a drivetrain package, and a cold air intake to make sure no obstacle gets in your way. Don't miss out on the chance to take your WRX to the next level with this build.

Our 2022 WRX lift kit includes:

Oil fill cap
Steering dampener lockdown
Manual transmission mount
Cobb Accessport
Drivetrain package
TIG welded catback exhaust
Catted downpipe
Mud flaps
Cold air intake
Bronze wheels
Lift-kit springs
Diode Dynamics lights
Bracket kits
Pulley covers
Air intake heatshield

Shop now

    When it comes to fixing up your 2022 Subaru WRX, it's important to pay close attention to the product details before making any purchases. While some parts may come with all the complete hardware required for easy installation, others may require additional components to properly install. However, you can rest assured that no matter what parts you need, MAPerformance has you covered with lightning-fast shipping so you can get back on the road in no time. From swapping out your TMIC to upgrading your exhaust system, we've got everything you need to keep your 2022 Subaru WRX running like a dream. So go ahead, add those parts to your cart, and get ready to hit the road in style!

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