SUBARU Australia will bring an STI-badged halo model to the Levorg range in July – but more power and a manual transmission sadly won’t be part of the deal.
Rather, the Levorg 2.0 STI Sport will follow the template set by the Forester tS, with a range of cosmetic enhancements from the STI catalogue adding visual tinsel to the existing 2.0-litre turbo mechanical package. That means no changes from the current car’s 197kW/350Nm outputs, nor the availability of a six-speed manual in lieu of the standard car’s CVT auto.
Technical specification for the Levorg 2.0 STI Sport should mirror that of the Levorg 2.0GT-S B-Spec, with Bilstein dampers, STI-branded strut braces and a few other minor tweaks on top of the standard GT-S package.
In the Japanese market, the Levorg 2.0 STI Sport benefits from some light chassis fettling by way of additional frame reinforcements and unique damper settings, but it’s unclear whether those changes will make their way into Australian cars. Don’t expect that JDM car’s 220kW/400Nm engine for this one, either, as it hasn’t been homologated for Australian conditions.
Despite only being offered in an enthusiast-oriented specification since it arrived 11 months ago, and wearing a starting price of $43,240, Australia’s appetite for the sporty Levorg has caught Subaru by surprise.
Notching up a respectable 420 sales year to date, it’s apparent that Subaru’s local operation reckons the time is right to make a mainstream play with its mid-size wagon, bringing more budget-friendly, lower output models to Australian showrooms.
But an STI flagship isn’t the only treat Subaru Australia has in store for the Levorg. Joining it in July as part of the wagon’s model year update will be a pair of 1.6-litre turbocharged variants – the 1.6GT and 1.6GT-S.
Those models will use an engine new to Australia – Subaru’s 125kW 1.6-litre turbocharged flat four. Already available overseas, Subaru’s downsized turbo four is expected to drive the Levorg onto the shopping list of mainstream buyers turned off by the performance slant of the 2.0-litre turbo variants.
With 125kW of power and 250Nm of torque, the turbo 1.6 exists at a healthy midpoint between the 115kW/196Nm 2.0-litre naturally aspirated engine of the Impreza family and the Levorg 2.0GT’s 197kW powerplant.
Natural rivals include the Skoda Octavia wagon, Mazda6 Touring wagon and Hyundai i40 Active Tourer. Expect a starting price somewhere in the low- to mid-$35K region – making it a natural walk-up from high-grade Imprezas – and 17-inch alloys on the base GT and 18-inch alloys on the GT-S.
The existing Levorg 2.0GT and 2.0GT-S will carry over with minimal mechanical changes to their WRX-sourced 197kW 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder.
Subaru will release full specifications and pricing for the 2018 Levorg range closer to its July launch.