WRX edges closer

Subaru’s performance icon is set for a 2014 launch.

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JAPAN’S performance-car renaissance continues with Subaru’s upcoming WRX.

Though touted as a concept for now, the turbocharged all-wheel drive four-door sedan is poised to debut at this year’s Tokyo motor show, in either close-to or even actual-production guise, with a 2014 on-sale date looking most likely at this stage.

With no drivetrain or interior, the concept car on Subaru’s New York International Auto Show stand is there to signal the company’s performance intentions as well as its styling direction.

However, we understand that the production version will include a 2.0-litre direct-injection forced-induction four-cylinder boxer unit, a six-speed manual gearbox, and – of course – AWD, with a variation of the Impreza small car’s modular architecture serving as the platform base.

With length, width, height, and wheelbase dimensions of 4520mm, 1890mm, and 1390mm, the WRX Concept is 80mm shorter, 150mm fatter, and 75mm lower to the ground than the existing G4 Impreza sedan respectively, while its wheelbase is 115mm longer at 2760mm (and 10mm more than the Liberty sedan’s for that matter).

According to Subaru of America boss Tom Doll, the goal is to offer the BRZ experience in a more practical four-door package.

“We want it to drive almost as good as the BRZ,” he told Wheels magazine at the NYIAS.

Mr Doll added that the production car will most likely share some body parts with the existing Impreza sedan, although whether that means exterior as well as interior bits and pieces is not known.

“We are trying to split the Impreza and WRX brands off from each other… and away with their own unique styling and driving attributes,” he said.

“They may share some body panels, but the WRX is trying to create its own style, its own definition, away from the Impreza model.”

Other than that, Subaru is keeping mum on any further details surrounding the WRX Concept.

What we do know is that the design is meant to complement the Viziv Concept’s design as shown at last month’s Geneva show, evolving it for a performance sedan application rather than as a crossover one. Subaru calls it “Confidence in Motion” design.

The Pleiades badged brand isn’t the only Japanese manufacturer ready to rock the Tokyo show.

Come November 23, Nissan’s long-time coming 200SX/Silvia replacement will evolve into a sub-Zed, petrol-electric hybrid or full EV, lightweight, rear-drive sports car, similar to the 2011 Geneva motor show Esflow Concept.

Japan, it seems, is finally waking up to what real enthusiasts want.


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Byron Mathioudakis

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