Offering a tantalizing tease of a faster-than-ever future, the Subaru WRX Concept turned heads big time in the Big Apple. Subaru would only admit that its ultra-bold styling merely "hints" at the next-generation WRX design language, but went on to offer some pretty credible explanations as to why this one-off looks like it does, leading us to believe we're looking at a good deal more reality than dream here.

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Lower, wider, and sleeker than any previous WRX, this exercise in extreme attitude reflects a synergistic melding of stunning form and purposeful functionality, appropriately set off by its striking new "WR Blue Pearl III" paint and fluorescent yellow accents. Subaru says the bold but athletic shape of the WRX Concept is optimized to enhance both aerodynamic and cooling characteristics, from prominent grille and air intakes to deeply sculpted body sills to a catch-me-if-you-can tail treatment that matches a subtle but effective integrated decklid spoiler with a flow-enhancing diffuser. Completing the view from behind are dual-paired exhaust outlets and lighting elements similar to those seen on the VIZIV Concept Subaru presented in Geneva.

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Set off by well-integrated hawkeye headlights, the WRX Concept's classically scooped hood features a large power bulge that affords clearance for a new-but-unspecified turbocharged engine and intercooler unit. Speculation is that the new WRX could use a modified version of the 2.0-liter boxer-4 from the BRZ, pressurized by a new electronic turbo unit. The WRX Concept is crowned by a lightweight carbon fiber roof that helps lower the center of gravity, which will no doubt bolster the formidable capability of a chassis engineered to place even greater emphasis on sharp handling and steering response, and more fully exploit the potential of its high-performance all-wheel drive system. To keep it in tight touch with terra firma, this Alpha-spec predator-to-be also wears a set of 20-inch BBS "RI-D" one-piece forged Duralumin wheels wrapped in Z-rated 245/40 Dunlop tires that feature a custom tread pattern.

Subaru offered no hard timeline for the arrival of the production version of the next-gen WRX, but it seems likely to be sometime in 2014. Based on this preview package, we say it can't get here soon enough.


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