HISTORY… it’s fascinating and often forms the building blocks of tomorrow.
Take the Subaru WRX for example, with a strong legacy born out of the World Rally Championship (WRC) in the early 90s, this icon immediately became a performer on the world stage. Having grown a cult-following both locally and internationally, the Subaru WRX is revered the world over as one of the most formidable sports vehicles.
Now into its fourth generation, this sharp-shooting, provocative vehicle is ready to build on its already sold heritage. Being completely reworked with an all-new body design, it still incorporates true WRX design DNA with its aggressive wide stance complemented by sharp muscular lines hinting towards its sporty persona.
The signature bonnet scoop is immediately noticeable along with the deep front air dam. While the WRX boasts a new pair of shoes in the form of dark-painted, 17-inch alloy wheels - accented by muscular side skirts and the pert rear end, which features an integrated boot spoiler and sculpted tail lights – it rounds off its athletic look with a diffuser and dual-twin exhaust outlets.
The rally ethos is still abundant in the WRX’s physique but inside the cabin, Subaru has gone for a more premium feel. The sporty attitude is still prevalent with the driver-focused setup and the D-shape steering wheel and chrome-plated pedals allure to this.
However, the long list of standard features exhibits this Scooby’s practical side along with the roomy cabin. The sense of space was achieved by moving the A-pillar forward by 200mm and increasing the wheelbase (up by 25mm), making the overall vehicle length longer by 15mm. Despite the added room, the handbrake does feel very closely positioned to the driver’s thigh and does get in the way at times. That said, the full leather upholstery, soft-touch surfaces and a carbon fibre-like dashboard finish, along with the ergonomically designed layout of the dash, help to prevent distraction while still maintaining a sporty expression.
Having driven in this sedan with three rather ‘large’ adults, the rear room has been improved, but it still remains a snug fit. The 460-litre boot is also larger than before by almost 100 litres, allowing for greater practicality along with the folding rear seats. Renowned for its impressive driveability and aggressive road demeanour, the all-new WRX doesn’t disappoint.
The new boxer powertrain feels strong and pulls across the rev range. The 2.0-litre turbocharged boxer motor produces 197kW and 350Nm, and its low centre of gravity means enhanced handling characteristics. So much so that the car can go from standstill to 100km/h in six seconds for the six-speed manual and 6.3 seconds for the Sport Lineartronic. Both derivatives have a top speed of 240km/h.
The new Sport Lineartronic CVT model presents a new age automatic WRX option, with variable torque distribution engineered specifically for application in the new WRX, with manual shift paddles for full manual control. It’s a truly capable car; it handles itself well in a variety of situations and playing with the SI-Drive allows the driver to alter the new WRX’s behaviour - to suit the driver’s mood - from the economical to the all-out crazy sports mode.
Aiding with the handling dynamics is the Active Torque Vectoring (ATV), which makes its début for the Subaru brand in the new WRX. Essentially, the system applies the brakes to the inside front wheel while distributing torque to the outside front wheel, assisting in vehicle rotation and creating more responsive and direct handling dynamics. It has the potential of being a hooligan on the black stuff, leaving long stripes while offering a thousand thrills a minute.
The time we spent behind the wheel highlighted just how much has been done by Subaru. It continues to win awards internationally and it remains an icon. Admittedly it has a few niggles, one of which is the stiffness of the six-speed gearbox, but they’re all things we can get used to.
The new Subaru WRX is also available as standard with a three-year/100 000km warranty and Subaru’s three-year/75 000km maintenance plan.
Subaru head office can also be found in its new premise, situated near Modderfontein, which will also house the flagship Scooby dealership.
Pricing: WRX Premium 6MT - R449 000
WRX Premium Sport Lineartronic CVT - R469 000