2015 Subaru WRX Details:
- New 268-hp 2.0-liter direct-injection turbo boxer engine
- New torque-vectoring system for paddle-shifted automatic gearbox
- The model's first six-speed manual transmission
- New stiffer chassis
It was slim pickings when it came to tuner car news from the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show, about the most relatable development being the 2015 Subaru WRX (and yes, we know all about the Nismo GT-R debut, but realistically how many of us can afford that?) The rally-inspired, high-performance model is all new virtually from the ground up, with a new flat-four under hood, new optional performance automatic transmission, new torque-vectoring feature, and the model's first six-speed manual gearbox.
But let's start with that power train - the 2015 WRX comes motivated by a 268-horsepower, 2.0-liter, direct-injection, high-compression turbocharged boxer engine, making three more ponies and 14 more pound feet of torque with 500cc less displacement than the previous version. That power is sent through either a new six-speed manual or "Sport Lineartronic" paddle-shifted semi auto trans, with the manual mated to a Continuous AWD version of Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive and the Sport Lineartronic teamed exclusively with Variable Torque Distribution (VTD).
The new WRX body structure makes more use of high-tensile strength steel than the previous model and features special stiffening elements at key locations. Handling is further sharpened with a specially tuned suspension and 235/45 R17 94W Dunlop SP Sport Maxx RT tires wrapped around new standard 17-inch wheels. Larger brakes are also part of the package.
On the sedan's exterior the Subaru hexagonal grille is flanked by narrower headlights, and the functional hood scoop, which supplies the intercooler with fresh air, is now set more deeply into the hood to provide better forward visibility. Other new performance-oriented details include foglight surrounds with a carbon fiber-like pattern and vertical front fender vents that feature a bright garnish and a mesh screen. Higher-grade models use new LED low-beam headlights; halogen lights are used on other models. The side sill spoilers that help to visually lower the car also help protect the doors from rock chips.
Specially designed for the 2015 WRX, the rear doors and fenders continue the model's wide-body stance. Also at the rear, the new Rex flosses LED taillights, a diffuser, LED center high-mount stop lamp and an available lip spoiler.
The interior remains driver focused but roomier thanks to a one-inch longer wheelbase than the previous WRX. There's a new flat-bottom, leather-wrapped steering wheel, dual gauge instrument layout with a 3.5-inch LCD central screen to display various functions, including oil level, remaining washer fluid and selected gear ratio and a new central display with 4.3-in. LCD for infotainment, and whiplash-reducing front sport seats covered in a new high-grip fabric. Fancy-schmancy amenities include standard automatic climate control and available Keyless Access with Push-button Start, heated front seats, a power driver's seat, and a 440-watt, nine-speaker premium audio system and navigation with smartphone integration.
"With the 2015 WRX we wanted to dramatically improve the handling and overall drivability of the vehicle," Tom Doll, President and COO of Subaru of America, tells us. "This really is the best handling WRX we've had on the market."
Bucky Lasek, Subaru Rally America driver and legendary pro skateboarder, was also at the reveal and weighed in. "They say the performance is up 40 percent on this one, from things like a lot stiffer chassis. A lot of the stuff I fixed on my street car is already fixed on this new car, with a lot of the bushing and stability stuff, so it should handle a lot better. I'll be testing it out soon."
No word yet on whether an STI version is coming, or even a hatchback, but people should be pumped on this mostly new WRX. Also, no disclosure yet of an on-sale date.