Posts Tagged ‘WRX’

Subaru Impreza Gets Moderate Facelift for 2015MY

Posted by Stephen On Friday, September 26th, 2014

2015 Subaru Impreza sedan

With the end of 2014 in sight, automakers are starting to make introductions for their 2015 models. For Subaru, they’ve made a number of changes to their conventional Impreza five-door sedan/hatchback both inside and out. As you continue reading, we’ll look at what’s new with the 2015 Subaru Impreza.

2015 Subaru Impreza Hatchback

Let’s start with the design. The exterior of the 2015 Impreza has received a minor facelift, mostly on the front end. You’ll notice a more refined mesh grille, a clean-cut front bumper with chrome accents and resculpted LEDs headlights. Subaru has also added new aerodynamic door mirrors and a slight rear spoiler. The more upscale Limited trims get a bit of extra chrome lovin’ for even more sports appeal.

2015 Subaru Impreza rear

Inside, you’ll find that the actual quality of materials hasn’t changed much, but that’s because the 2014 Impreza already had a great interior. Instead, the biggest improvement is the additional sound-deadening materials that Subaru has integrated into the cabin. There’s better insulation, thicker glass and tighter seals than ever before, giving this car one of the quietest rides in its class.

2015 Subaru Impreza interior

You’ll also enjoy a number of new tech. features in the 2015 Subaru Impreza across the entire range. The baseline model gets a standard 6.2 inch touch-screen multimedia system, while the Limited trims – which already had a touch-screen LCD – get an even better 7-inch screen. Finally, the entire instrument panel and center console have been updated… There’s even a new ECO gauge that helps drivers maintain optimal fuel consumption.

Additional tech. options that Subaru’s added to the Impreza range include:

  • Rear vision camera now standard on all trims
  • Cruise control now standard on all trims
  • One-touch lane change for the 2.0i Limited & Sport Limited
  • Safety features like EyeSight Driver Assist
  • Keyless Access and Push-Button Start for all trims, PIN code access on Limited trims

The only place that hasn’t been touched is under the hood. At all standard trims (ie. not including WRX), the 2015 Subaru Impreza will only be available with the same 2.0L boxer engine that sits in the 2014 model. That means 148hp with a stated fuel economy of 28mpg city, 37mpg highway and 31mpg combined. However, Subaru has improved their lightweight Lineartronic CVT, which is now standard on the Premium and Limited trims. The biggest mechanical change for the 2015 model year is a quicker ratio for the electric power steering, which should yield a slightly more responsive ride.

You can expect the 2015 Subaru Impreza to hit dealership floors in November.

Powerful New Subaru WRX S4 Unveiled for Japanese Market

Posted by Stephen On Monday, September 1st, 2014

2015 Subaru WRX S4 front

Last month, Subaru teased a darkened teaser image of a new WRX S4 sport sedan coming soon to the Japanese market. Now, exactly one month later, Subaru has released full details for their new quad-threat sports car.

What makes the new WRX a quad-threat car?

The S4 in the name stands for ‘Sports Performance’, ‘Safety Performance’, ‘Smart Driving’ and ‘Sophisticated Feel’. In other words, this isn’t just a sportier version of Subaru’s WRX sedan; it’s a “high-level fusion of these four [core] attributes, enabling more drivers to comfortably enjoy breathtaking Subaru performance with peace of mind.”

As you continue reading, we’ll go through each of these attributes so you can see exactly how the WRX S4 represents each one.

Sports Performance

Subaru DIT Engine

The Subaru WRX S4 runs on a tuned up 2.0L DIT (Direct-Injection Turbo) boxer with an impressive 296hp and 295 pound-feet of torque. You can compare that to the 268hp of the regular WRX. The powertrain will be configured with Subaru’s Symmetrical AWD and their Sport Lineartronic CVT, which we’ll talk more about under the Smart Driving section.

Safety Performance

Subaru WRX S4 EyeSight Technology

The Subaru WRX S4 will essentially get improved versions of Subaru’s current safety suite. For example, the S4 gets a new version of Subaru’s EyeSight technology with a wider viewing angle, longer-distance driver assistance and better color recognition. The Active Lane Keep steering assistance system is more responsive, and the car also comes with all the safety features below:

  • Pre-Collision Reverse Throttle Management
  • Brake Light Recognition
  • Pre-Collision Braking Control
  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • New Collision-Absorbing Material in Front-End

Smart Driving

2015 Subaru WRX S4 rear

The higher output engine we talked about in Smart Performance will transfer more power to the road thanks to a number of modifications to the body and chassis. The S4 will use more durable, light-weight high-tensile steel and strengthened joints throughout. It’ll also get more rigid steering box mounts and an electronic parking brake to keep the car going where you want it.

Subaru says that the Sport Lineartronic transmission is a key part of the S4’s Smart Driving philosophy. They say that it “draws out the full potential of the 2.0L DIT Boxer engine in terms of power, torque and environmental friendliness.” One of the coolest elements of the improved transmission is its Sport# mode with SI-DRIVE, which allows drivers to switch to virtual eight-speed shifting while driving in the D-range.

Taken together, these powertrain and chassis improvements all result in better fuel economy and more predictable, more enjoyable driving.

Sophisticated Feel

2015 Subaru WRX S4 interior

Finally, the Subaru WRX S4 achieves Sophisticated Feel through a number of exterior and interior refinements.

Outside, you’ll find the new Japanese sports sedan gets a slightly redesigned front clip with a silver mesh grille and a lower air dam, along with a rear diffuser and twin dual mufflers. You’ll also find redesigned head- and taillights, along with a small rear spoiler and a shark fin antenna. Newly designed 18-inch alloys complete the look.

Inside, you’ll find the WRX S4 has larger front and rear doors with more backseat space. The front seat feels like a racecar cockpit, complete with newly designed sport seats befitting a performance vehicle, along with a flat-bottom steering wheel. The color scheme is primarily piano black, with red stitching and accents throughout.

New Subaru Concepts & Cars from the 2013 Tokyo & LA Motor Shows

Posted by Stephen On Saturday, November 23rd, 2013

Subaru had two motor shows this week in which it premiered a total of three new concepts and cars for the world to see.

We, along with the rest of the web, have had a lot to say about Subaru’s concepts during 2013. Some of it was good, a lot of it was bad, but hey – there’s no such thing as bad press, right? You’re welcome, Subaru.

But I digress. As you continue reading, we’re going to cover each of the brand-new Japanese cars unveiled by Subaru over the past few days.

2015 Subaru WRX (LA Motor Show)

Subaru WRX

This is the car that has inspired so much talk about how Subaru handles concepts.

In case you missed the debate, the issue is that they’ve developed a habit for releasing incredible concept cars, and then dropping every redeeming quality in the transition from concept to production model. After a discouraging series of leaked photos supposedly showcasing the new WRX over the past couple months, the automotive press has had fine old time slamming Subaru’s failure to fulfill the expectations they create for their cars.

With all that in mind, it’s hard to make a solid opinion about the 2015 Subaru WRX. On the one hand, it actually looks quite a bit better than the unofficial leaked images had led us to believe. But the last generation 3 Series look about the C pillars, and the general lack of panache makes us wonder if Subaru have really lost the plot.

But, of course, there is more to a car that looks….

The 2015 Subaru WRX also gets a turbocharged version of the Subaru BRZ’s 2.0L FA-Series engine with a total output of 268hp, under-tuned from 297hp (likely for durability reasons). While that may seem like a negligible improvement compared to the outgoing WRX’s 265hp, the new engine offers much higher actual torque across a wider RPM range.

The WRX also gets new brakes and a tuned suspension for all-around better handling. Inside, the 2015 Subaru WRX gets one inch of extra space thanks to a lengthened wheelbase, more comfortable seats, and a premium Harman/Kardon audio system.

Subaru Legacy Concept (LA Motor Show)

Subaru Legacy concept

The other big debut Subaru made at the 2013 LA Motor Show was that of the Subaru Legacy Concept, which celebrates 25 years of Subaru Legacy production. While nobody officially specified that this is the next-gen Subaru Legacy sedan, it’s a pretty safe guess that it will be. If it is, then we’re excited – it’s refreshing to see a sportier coupe-like design language applied to a family sedan.

By the way, keep your eyes peeled for the next-generation Legacy in either 2014 or 2015. Seeing this concept now, you’ll be able to decide for yourself whether Subaru needs to work harder on translating conceptual themes to production vehicles.

Subaru Levorg Concept (Tokyo Motor Show)

Subaru Levorg concept

The name is ugly, but the Levorg Concept shown at the Tokyo Motor Show looks pretty good.

After seeing the Legacy Concept in LA, the Levorg is a fitting follow-up as the two cars share many stylistic similarities. With the debut, we get some nice information regarding specs – the hood apparently houses a new 1.6L Direct Injection Turbocharged (DIT) Boxer engine, although the prototype is also capable of handling a 2.0L DIT with a bit more ‘oomph’.

Basically, you can look at the Levorg Concept as an Outback-sized Subaru Legacy Concept with an incredibly spacious interior. Subaru says that the Levorg will launch in Spring of 2014, so there’s a good chance that this is, in fact, a Legacy wagon (which would explain the extensive similarities). If so, then we’ve just been given specs for next year’s Subaru Legacy, in addition to whatever car the Levorg eventually produces.

Subaru Cross Sport Design Concept (Tokyo Motor Show)

Last but not least, we have the Subaru Cross Sport Design Concept, also from the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show. Although, it actually is least in the sense that we know the least about it. All we know is that, “This model has a compact body with overall length of 4,300mm that allows brisk driving and yet makes available features such as easy seat access, comfortable interior, and abundant luggage space.”

The best guess put forth by the automotive community right now is that this is an SUV-ified Subaru BRZ.  Something that might fit into a similar niche as the Nissan Juke NISMO RS we talked about yesterday. But, of course, this is mere speculation and shouldn’t be taken as fact.

All in all, Subaru has done a spectacular job this week. Every single one of these cars features an excellent design, and everything we can tell about their handling leads us to have high hopes. But, you can’t drive on hope, so we’ll just have to wait and see whether or not these concepts’ production models stand up to their precedent.

Subaru WRX Teased Ahead of its 2013 LA Motor Show Debut

Posted by Stephen On Friday, November 15th, 2013

As you may know, the next-gen 2015 Subaru WRX is scheduled to debut at the 2013 LA Motor Show next Friday. Ever since the refreshingly aggressive Subaru WRX Concept from this year’s New York Auto Show, we and the rest of the automotive blog-o-sphere have held high hopes for the production model’s aesthetic.

For reference, this is the Subaru WRX Concept we saw earlier this year:

Subaru WRX Concept

However, our hopes were shaken a couple months ago when we found a disturbing story in which an unknown car made a television appearance on a Japanese news show showcasing Subaru’s new EyeSight technologies. The car looked very much like an Impreza with a hood scoop, but Subaru gave no name for the car on TV. This is what it looked like:

Subaru WRX prototype

That’s where we’re at coming into today’s story; we’re eager to see the new Subaru WRX production model, but we’re also nervous that it will share previous generations’ Impreza-ness. Especially because Subaru has specifically said that’s what they’re trying to avoid.

Fortunately, Subaru eased our fears earlier this week when it released an official front-clip-only teaser for the upcoming 2015 Subaru WRX, which is pictured below:

Subaru WRX

As you can see, the rendering looks muscular and sleek. Distinct body lines, an aggressive grille, a squared-off bumper, the signature hood scoop and new LED headlights all lead us to believe that Subaru has successfully translated the initial WRX Concept into an appealing WRX production model. If anything, it looks as if the upcoming Subie has even more musculature in production than it did in concept, which would be a rare feat.

But then, these front-and-back images were leaked online…

Subaru WRX front

Subaru WRX rear

And like a splash of ice-cold water, we were snapped back to reality. The Subaru WRX Concept was too much to hope for. The digital teaser was too much to hope for. It was all too much too hope for.

As you can see, the rear image in particular looks almost exactly like a regular Subaru Impreza. If not for the sculpted fenders and the slight rear spoiler, you wouldn’t notice a difference between the Impreza and the pictured WRX without extensive inspection.

There’s no doubt that the 2015 Subaru WRX will be significantly more attractive than its predecessors, but in the clear light of day, it simply doesn’t live up to our (admittedly) high hopes.

Fortunately, all hope is still not lost. As said earlier, these are unofficial, leaked images, which may mean they’re fake. Subaru has not released any confirmed teasers beyond the original front-clip-only image. So, if these are fake renderings, it would make sense for the rear shot to be unimpressive since Subaru’s official teaser only details the front half of the vehicle. Plus, even if they’re real, we can still hold out hope that the Subaru WRX STi will be more impressive; we should hopefully find out for sure at the beginning of next year.

Ultimately, it’s fully possible that we’re being too pessimistic. So, if you’re a Subaru fan, don’t let our cynicism ruin your excitement for the LA Motor Show’s WRX debut! The car will undoubtedly look better in the metal than in any rendering. Plus, there’s more to a car than mere design, and we’re sure that the 2015 Subaru WRX will be even more responsive and fun-to-drive than its well-loved Impreza WRX predecessors. Either way, we’ll find out for sure next week when the car officially debuts.

Until then, thanks for reading!

Say Goodbye to the Subaru Tribeca; Say Hello to the Subaru WRX

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

After an awesome week talking about roadsters from Mazda, Honda and Nissan, we’re going to start this week on an unfortunately pessimistic note about a slightly less-popular Japanese brand, Subaru.

You see, it was officially confirmed this week that 2014 will be the last year that Subaru manufactures their Tribeca mid-size SUV crossover. (This model started life as a US-only model, and was later introduced to Australasia, Europe and South America.) Furthermore, it seems more and more likely that the upcoming 2015 Subaru WRX, which looked so fantastic in concept form, may end up being less than what we’d hoped. But one thing at a time.

Why Subaru is Axing the Tribeca

Subaru Tribeca

We wish that there were some really interesting reason here, but the truth is that Subaru is simply trimming the fat from their lineup.

On the whole, Subaru has experienced consistent sales-growth every year since 2008, but the Tribeca continues to remain stagnant. Since its original release in 2005, less than 78,000 Tribeca SUVs have been driven off dealership lots in the US. Sales were astonishingly low last year with well under 2,000 units sold by year-end, and only about 1,200 have been sold so far in 2013.

As to exactly why sales of the Subaru Tribeca continue to lag behind, you only need look at the SUV to get a picture of the problem. Simply put, the design is boring… It looks too much like everything else, and in a bad way. And things aren’t much better on the inside either – the SUV was originally meant for five people, and when Subaru bumped it up to a three-row, they didn’t leave enough room for the rear passengers. So it’s uncomfortable AND ugly.

When the Subaru Tribeca originally launched back in 2005, the automotive media had a general consensus of, “This is good, but let’s hope it gets better.” Then, when it was refreshed in 2008, we almost had high hopes – Subaru sold over 16,000 Tribeca crossovers that year. But eventually everybody realized it was the same car in an even weirder-looking package, and sales began to plummet once again.

All that to say, January 2014 will be the last month that Subaru manufactures the Tribeca mid-size SUV, and the last delivery to dealerships will be in February. So, if for some reason you really want a Tribeca, now is the time to get one.

There are rumors that Subaru will be back in a couple years with a Tribeca sequel, but let’s leave that one for another time. After all, 99% of sequels are worse than the original ….

2015 Subaru WRX Coming Soon… But is that a Good Thing?

As you may or may not know, Subaru plans to unveil their new 2015 WRX sports car before the end of the year. If you’ll remember, the production model is supposed to be based on the concept shown earlier this year at the New York Auto Show, pictured below:

Subaru WRX Concept

As you can see, the concept is one slick lookin’ car. And here’s why what it looks like is so important: The WRX has traditionally been one of those cars you absolutely love to drive, but that has inferior aesthetics. You could stereotypically describe the WRX as an Impreza with a hood scoop, and you’d be almost spot-on. The new WRX is supposed to change all that. But, just as we feared, it seems more and more likely that Subaru is going to dash our dreams once again.

According to Carscoops, what you see below is a very likely a Subaru WRX production prototype:

Subaru WRX prototype

Does that look like the concept? Or does it look more like an Impreza with a hood scoop?

The image was taken from a Japanese news story showcasing Subaru’s EyeSight technology, and the pictured car was one of the vehicles used in the demonstrations. It was introduced as an Impreza… But no current Impreza has a hood scoop!

Now, maybe this is just nothing, and we’ll honestly cross our fingers that it’s not the upcoming WRX. But, “that feeling” is getting harder and harder to shake – the feeling that the next WRX is going to be another letdown.

Either way, we’ll know more when the Subaru WRX makes its official production debut at either the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show or the 2013 LA Motor Show (assuming Subaru is still on target for that unveiling). Until then, stay tuned for more Japan car news, and thanks for reading!

Subaru WRX and WRX STI Confirmed for Debut at the LA Auto Show

Posted by Stephen On Saturday, August 31st, 2013

New Subaru WRX front

Earlier this week we heard some very interesting tidbits of automotive gossip from the folks over at Automotive News concerning Subaru’s plans for future vehicles. Among the various confirmations and possibilities put on the table, the most relevant by far is that the new Subaru WRX and Subaru WRX STI will make their debut at the 2013 LA Auto Show in November.

Looking Back to the Subaru WRX Concept

Regular readers will recall the Subaru WRX Concept that was shown in March of this year at the 2013 New York Auto Show. For the first time ever, we got a glimpse of a WRX without “Impreza” at the front of its name, and it was a very sweet glimpse indeed.

While Subaru specifically stated that the WRX Concept shown in New York was NOT close to production, the car looked undeniably appealing. Here’s an image of the WRX Concept, for those of you who either missed it the first time around, or otherwise want a reminder of what we’re dealing with:

Subaru WRX Concept

As you can see, the Japanese brand’s concept WRX sedan looks great. Flashy, aggressive, and sleek; clearly a car that was meant to burn rubber.

Sedan-Only WRX and WRX STI Coming in 2014

Unfortunately, while the WRX Concept sedan looked spectacular, we now know that the sedan is the only class of WRX we’ll be seeing from here on out. So, all our readers craving a new Japanese hot-hatch will just have to look elsewhere. The old Impreza WRX hatchback just didn’t get enough attention. After all, the “classic” WRXs are all sedans.

Fortunately, if the production WRX / STI is anything close to the concept, very few people will be crying over the lack of a hatchback option. As far as we know, the next-gen WRX/STI should feature goodies such as a lightweight carbon fiber roof, an integrated rear spoiler, the iconic WRX hood scoop, a slightly wider wheelbase complete with a lower and larger front fascia to increase engine cooling and decrease aerodynamic lift.

In addition, we can be fairly certain that the new Subaru WRX / STI is coming sometime in the first half of 2014 as a 2015MY. The production model will feature Subaru’s favorite 2.0L four-cylinder boxer engine (same as what’s in the BRZ), tuned up with direct-injection and turbocharging. The Japanese automaker has confirmed the WRX will output at least 265 horsepower, if not more. And that’s just in the standard version… The higher-performance WRX STI will get a high-performance engine capable of at least 305 hp.

Note that’s “at least”. The Golf R’s going to have 296HP and get to 60 in 4.9 seconds. Subaru will want to at least match that, for sure.

Subaru BRZ STI Still a Ways Off…

I confess, when I first read about the LA debut of Subaru’s WRX STI, for a split-second my heart jumped for joy because my mind read “WRX” as “BRZ”. As you may or may not know, Subaru fans have long been waiting for a BRZ STI. Earlier this month we thought we had it, thanks to a misleading teaser for the debut of Subaru’s BRZ tS. Which explains why the “BRZ STI” was so fresh in my mind.

Nonetheless, after that teaser I think it’s safe to say we were all hoping to see a BRZ STI by the end of 2013. But alas, it’s not meant to be. In fact, Automotive News’ reports only leads us in the opposite direction… Subaru is apparently not planning to “freshen up” the BRZ line until late 2015. That’s 2 more years!

Even if we’re not getting a BRZ STI anytime soon, though, the Subaru WRX and WRX STI definitely have the potential to steal a lot of press attention at the LA Auto Show. Of course, there are still several months between now and then, and Subaru could end up watering-down the WRX Concept more than they ought, but on the whole this is excellent news for Japanese car fans everywhere.