New leaked info straight from Japan reveal previously hidden details about the return of Subaru’s performance four-door. Some of them exciting, others potentially disappointing.
What was obvious over the past decade is the Japanese automaker’s clear pivot toward bolstering their range of SUVs at the expense of previous staples like the Impreza and Legacy. It paid off, of course, as Subaru can now boast of multiple strong sellers in many markets; a charge lead by the XV crossover and Forester SUV.
Now that that itch has been scratched, the company is now more freed up to pursue other distractions without quite as much financial pressure. In their line-up at the moment, and besides the high riding options, the most glaring absentee is the WRX, which was last introduced in 2014.
According to Japanese publication Best Car, Subaru is indeed in the closing stages of development for a new flagship performance model with a full debut poised for some time in 2021. Like before, it again will attempt to be a more independent model from the Impreza that its predecessors bore a close resemblance to - but this time, not just in name.
It’s pretty much confirmed at this point to be built upon the Subaru Global Platform, the modular architecture that also underpins the second-generation Levorg. This could mean that the new performance sedan will inherit many of the design and ergonomic interior cues from the wagon, which is already a huge upgrade over the last WRX in terms of tech, build, and safety, in addition to the Viziv Performance concept from 2017.
An 11.6-inch infotainment screen in portrait orientation will take centre stage with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster off to the side. Plenty of Alcantara will be present to offset the more luxurious feel of the leather upholstery and trim inserts, probably.
To little surprise, the report also reveals that it will be larger than its predecessor, a practice that’s become an incredibly common occurrence, measuring an additional 55mm in overall length with a 20mm longer wheelbase, 55mm wider, and 25mm lower than the previous WRX. That said, at least the car’s standard engine is equally upsized at 2.4-litres.
Based on the FA24 shared with the upcoming second-generation BRZ (and Toyota 86), the WRX’s flat-four motor is appropriately turbocharged and to a much higher output than that found on even the current Subaru Ascent, Outback, or Legacy.
Some bespoke tuning has apparently extracted at least 285hp and 412Nm in the lower rung variants, which is a healthy 20hp and 60Nm increase. As usual, power is transmitted to all four wheels via Subaru’s Symmetrical AWD system, but the disappointing part, as Best Car’s report goes, is that it again uses a Lineartronic CVT. How unexciting.
Those hoping that Subaru might have taken feedback from the previous version to heart might be upset to learn that their most common complaint was not addressed. Sadly, for those seeking an automatic WRX, the all-new car won’t be featuring a quick-shifting dual-clutch or a torque converter-type transmission. A 6-speed manual transmission will be offered in certain markets, though, so that’s some consolation, as is the inclusion of adaptive dampers across the range.
In rally-nutter STI spec, output from the WRX’s aforementioned 2.4-litre engine swells up to a much more intimidating 395hp while peak torque is quoted as being 490Nm, achieved through new high strength engine internals and a revised engine map, mated exclusively to a 6-speed manual. That’s a near 100hp advantage over the previous WRX STI. No acceleration or top speed figures have been put forward yet, but we imagine its sprint time to easily slip under 5 seconds to 100km/h.
The world will need to be a little more patient for this flagship variant as Subaru is apparently waiting for the standard spec WRX to first clear a path with its planned 2021 rollout, bumping the STI’s debut into 2022. Here’s hoping local distributors Motor Image Malaysia are just as eager as we are to see it in their showrooms, preferably with some gold wheels and a big rear wing.
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