Subaru has lifted the lid on its WRX and WRX STI facelift, which is set to go on sale later this year and give the all-wheel-drive performance pair a boost in showroom appeal.
The most noticeable changes are on the outside, with new bumper plastics at the front, a reshaped grille and new alloy wheel designs for both the Subaru WRX and WRX STI – the latter also receiving a set of 20-spoke mesh-style 19-inch alloys as an option.
LED headlamps that actively steer into corners will also be available on high-grade WRX and WRX STI variants.
In-cabin upgrades are modest, with upgraded materials, cupholders in the rear seat armrest, new door grips and a faster boot opening mechanism being the key changes for this year. US-market WRXs will have the option of eight-way power adjustable Recaro seats, though availability for the Australian market has yet to be confirmed.
Thicker door glass, new door seals and foam-filled structural members help filter out unwanted noise.
More substantial improvements have been applied under the skin. Though the WRX’s 199kW turbo 2.0-litre flat four and the WRX STI’s 227kW 2.5-litre turbo flat four engines carry over largely unchanged, suspension revisions to damper valving net a more comfortable and stable ride without impacting on handling.
The WRX’s electronic power steering calibration has also been tweaked for a more natural feel, but the WRX STI gets a bigger upgrade in the form of new AWD hardware. For 2017 the WRX STI will gain an all-electronic centre differential system, promising faster and smoother reaction times than the outgoing model’s part-mechanical, part-electronic AWD system.
As before, the WRX STI’s ‘DCCD’ AWD system will allow the driver to vary the front-to-rear torque split settings to their own tastes.
The six-speed manual transmission has also come in for some work, with new synchros promising enhanced shift feel and smoother, faster gear changes.
The WRX STI scores a new brake package, finished in bright yellow. With stronger 6-piston Brembo calipers up front, two-piston calipers at the rear and cross-drilled brake rotors with bigger brake pads, the STI’s new brakes promise improved stopping power and greater fade resistance.
Local arrival timing, pricing and specifications have yet to be announced.
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