Appearing at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the 2018 Subaru WRX and WRX STI sport cosmetic and functional upgrades that promise to further bolster their appeal. Less visible but no less significant, these performance-focused Subarus also gain some new safety enhancements.

Both the WRX and STI boast revised front fascias with more aggressive grilles. The range-topping WRX Limited and all WRX STI versions also have new corner-following LED Steering Responsive Headlights. Revised suspension tuning and a revamped electric power steering assist benefit all models, changes that improve both steering stability and ride compliance without detracting from the handling.

Upgraded brakes

Stopping power has been improved across the WRX STI line thanks to a new Brembo Performance Brake system with larger, yellow-painted calipers, bigger pads and heat-dissipating cross-drilled rotors. WRX buyers can opt for a new Performance Package that features premium JURID brake pads along with red painted calipers, Recaro 8-way power seats and a weight-saving moonroof delete.

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The 2018 WRX maintains the existing 268-horsepower/turbocharged 2.0-liter direct-injected flat-4 engine which works with Symmetrical All Wheel Drive, Active Torque Vectoring and either a revised 6-speed manual transmission that offers improved shift feel or optional Sport Lineartronic CVT with its manual mode and seven “virtual” gears. While the WRX STI continues to be motivated by a 2.5-liter/305-horse turbocharged boxer four backed by a 6-speed manual, its Active Torque Vectoring and Multi-Mode Vehicle Dynamics Control setup now interface with an upgraded AWD system. For 2018, the Driver Controlled Center Differential (DCCD) has been changed from a mechanical/electronic unit to a purely electronic design that delivers quicker and smoother transitions. Both of these enthusiast-grade models wrap their performance rubber around new alloy wheels, 18-inchers on the WRX and 19-inchers on the STI.

Quieter, more accommodating cabin

Inside, the refreshed WRX and WRX STI receive a host of revamps highlighted by upgraded trim, lower levels of wind and road noise, a larger multifunction display, more user-friendly door grips and a rear-seat armrest with cupholders. The Base WRX gets new heated outside mirrors that are already standard on the Premium and Limited. The WRX Limited adds a power lumber adjuster on the driver’s seat and the WRX Premium moves from a 6.2-inch to a 7.0-inch display for its Subaru Starlink multimedia system.

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Subaru also added to passenger protection with a more robust front structure for better crash resistance. WRX Limited models with EyeSight Driver Assist Technology add a new monitor that uses LED indicators to display status and alerts info directly onto the windshield to eliminate the need for a driver to look away from the road ahead. The EyeSight package also incorporates a new Automatic Vehicle Hold function that replaces Hill Holder and Hill Start Assist and can hold the car on both uphill and downhill inclines to help reduce driver fatigue.

The 2018 Subaru WRX and WRX STI models will be arriving in dealer showrooms this spring. Pricing will be released closer to the actual on-sale date.

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