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Subaru reinvents WRX for 2015

By Bob Nagy on November 20, 2013 11:30 AM
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Set to open a new chapter in its illustrious performance saga, an all-new 2015 Subaru WRX makes it grand entrance in Los Angeles. Edgier styling, enhanced structure, additional power and an even more capable chassis add to the already formidable appeal of this iconic Subie, which will go on sale in spring 2014 in a 4-door sedan configuration.

Borrowing much from the basic architecture that underpins the current-generation Impreza, the 2015 WRX is roughly the same size as the existing WRX but boasts an inch more wheelbase and features a stiffer, stronger core element that's significantly richer in high-strength steel to provide an even more solid foundation for its retuned sport suspension and new electric power steering system. The exterior design also gains new intensity, as virtually every main body panel and trim element has been endowed with more aggressive character. Bolder fascia treatments and new front/rear lamps give the 2015 WRX greater presence coming or going while a faster windshield angle, deeper side contouring, a reconfigured hood scoop and new 17-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 235/45 Dunlop SP Sport Maxx RT tires add more character to its profile, with or without the optional decklid spoiler.

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The 2015 Subaru WRX gets its motivation from a new 2.0-liter turbocharged/intercooled flat-4 that's derived from the engine used in the current Forester 2.0XT. Direct injection, re-profiled cams, a lofty 10.6:1 compression ratio and the Subaru Dual Active Valve Control System (D-AVCS) help it make 268 horsepower -- three more than the current 2.5-liter WRX engine -- and develop 258 lb-ft of peak torque, a gain of 14 twist units. The 2015 WRX will offer the choice of two new transmissions, each with its own dedicated version of the Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system.

Choosing the WRX's first-ever 6-speed manual brings a wider ratio spread than the current 5-speed and pairs it with Continuous AWD that features a viscous-coupled locking center differential with a nominal 50:50 front/rear torque split coupled with the Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) system. Opting for the WRX's first-ever Sport Lineartronic CVT nets the Variable Torque Distribution (VTD) version of S-AWD which has a planetary gear-type center differential and an electronically controlled hydraulic transfer clutch that shifts torque distribution between the front and rear wheels from the normal 45:55 rear bias to whatever traction conditions demand using input from steering-wheel angle, yaw and lateral g-force sensors. Configured to please enthusiasts, the new CVT also features Subaru Intelligent Drive (SI-DRIVE) power management that offers driver-selectable Intelligent/Sport/Sport Sharp modes as well as six "virtual" ratios -- eight in Sport Sharp. While the CVT's 19/25 mpg EPA fuel economy numbers are the same as a 2014 WRX with a 5-speed, the new 6-speed manual earns 21/28 mpg city/highway stats.

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Roomier and more impressively configured, the cabin of the 2015 Subaru WRX melds upscale cues with solid driver orientation. Whether trimmed in cloth or optional leather, the whiplash-reducing front sport buckets and 60/40 split folding rear bench are now easier to slip into and out of thanks to a higher H-point and lower sill height. The flat-bottom multifunction steering wheel sits atop a tilt/telescoping column and overlooks a new Impreza-style dash featuring an instrument cluster with a 3.5-inch LCD display as well as a 4.3-inch color screen in the center of the upper dash that can display everything from boost and traction control functions to climate control and audio settings. While sport remains its forte, the new WRX also boasts two inches of additional rear-seat legroom and an even larger trunk.

Pricing for the 2015 Subaru WRX will be released closer to its actual on-sale date.

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