The blogospheres erupted earlier this year when Subaru unveiled the WRX Concept, a machine it promised would be closely replicated when the next-gen production model came to fruition. And readers loved it, salivating in how the Japanese automaker had hit its marks. But, as the months past and spy shots surfaced, rumors swilled that the upcoming production WRX might not hold the promise the concept delivered.
Today, at the LA auto show, we know for sure, as Subaru unclothed the 2015 WRX that will hit dealerships next year. The hearsay was right.
Under the hood sits a 268-hp, 2.0-liter direct-injection turbo boxer engine. It's the same engine seen in the 2014 Forester, featuring different cams and higher-rate valve springs to widen the performance window. The power increase is a negligible three horsepower over the outgoing WRX, but torque increases from 244 lb.-ft. to 258 lb.-ft. A six-speed manual replaces the old five-speed, and a CVT transmission is now optional, sporting two manual modes with either six or eight "gears" controlled via steering wheel paddles.
The steel structure of the body is said to be stiffer in key locations, coupled with a new torque vectoring system to assist in sharper cornering, and tuned suspension with larger brakes. Subaru say the new WRX will therefore be far more agile. Its all-wheel drive system meshed to the manual transmission and the CVT's new Variable Torque Distribution version of all-wheel drive will ensure its rally heritage is preserved.
Subaru's goal is to separate the Impreza from the WRX, leaving the angry performance car to stand alone with its eventual bigger WRX STi brother. But this new machine is bland, delivering a distinct impression of "been there, done that." Perhaps the upcoming STi will push the boundaries as far as the fans hope.