Equipped with Subaru’s famous Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system and hallmark Boxer engine, the new WRX combines sports-car performance with four-door saloon practicality.
The new WRX adopts some of the design elements of the Concept seen earlier in the year, with aggressive yet refined styling. The front of the new model features Subaru’s unified design motif, the hexagonal grille, while the shape of the new ‘hawkeye’ headlights helps emphasise the car’s low, wide stance. The base of the A-pillar has been moved forwards 200mm giving the car a sleeker silhouette, while the C-pillar flows more smoothly into the rear of the car which is characterised by a diffuser and twin exhausts integrated into the rear bumper while a lip spoiler is designed to enhance aerodynamic performance.
At its heart, the US specification WRX features a new, high-performance 2.0-litre horizontally-opposed direct injection turbo (DIT) Boxer engine, which offers much improved performance over the outgoing 2.5-litre model. The new engine produces 268bhp at 5,600rpm and 258 lb ft torque from 2,000-5,200 rpm (compared to 265bhp at 6,000rpm and 244 lb ft torque at 4,400rpm for the 2.5-litre engine). It also offers improved environmental performance.
The new WRX is equipped as standard with a six-speed manual transmission and a newly developed Sport Lineartronic CVT with an eight-speed shifting mode is available as an option. The shift response of the Lineartronic transmission has been improved for its application in the new WRX.
Subaru engineers have optimised the WRX’s suspension geometry for high performance handling. A stiffer body and carefully-tuned suspension have quickened the vehicle’s response to driver inputs and raised the WRX’s cornering limits. Combined with Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) and Active Torque Vectoring, Subaru has manged to achieve even more predictable, yet engaging handling. The electric power steering features more rigid steering gearbox mounts for improved fuel efficiency and a more direct steering feel.
Greater use of ultra-high tensile steel throughout the body of the car has also made the new model lighter and more rigid than the previous-generation, while new safety structures for the bonnet and bulkhead, and greater use of collision-absorbing materials in the engine bay, further improve crash safety performance and pedestrian protection.
Realising improvements to the WRX’s everyday usability, Subaru engineers have stretched the wheelbase of the new model by 25mm (to 2,650mm), expanding rear legroom and improving elbow- and shoulder-room for all passengers. Door openings for front and rear passengers have been enlarged for easier ingress/egress and boot space has been expanded.
US specification models also benefit from new 17-inch alloy wheel designs which are both more rigid and lighter. LED lighting is employed for front and rear lights.
Crucially, the driver-focused interior of the new WRX features higher quality materials and improved design over the outgoing model, with carbon and metal trim accents throughout the cabin and greater use of soft-touch materials. A new flat-bottomed steering wheel and supportive sports seats leave driver and passengers in no doubt about the WRX’s intentions and sports oriented styling carries into many of the details with subtle silver ‘WRX’ logos, red stitching and red lighting. A new 3.5-inch LCD colour display shows the vehicle status at all times, while a revised multi-function display includes a boost pressure gauge.
The new Subaru WRX will go on sale in North America and Japan later in 2014. It is currently unconfirmed whether a new WRX model will come to the UK.