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Fresh-faced Subaru WRX uncovered

Mid-life crisis: Subaru’s WRX range will receive a mid-cycle update to keep the current-generation fresh until the expected arrival of the all-new version in 2020.

Styling, technology and performance updates incoming for Subaru’s WRX rally hero


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6 Jan 2017

SUBARU has unveiled an updated and slightly restyled WRX and WRX STI aimed at making the turbocharged all-wheel-drive pair more comfortable and easier to use.

The facelift is expected to keep the current-generation fresh until the expected arrival of the next-gen version in 2020, which will ride on Subaru’s new Global Platform that debuted in the new Impreza launched last month.

While only revealed for the North American market, Australian-spec models are expected to receive the same updates in the near future.

From the outside, the new WRX wears an updated front fascia with a restyled grille and larger lower intake, as well as new LED headlights to give the WRX range a more aggressive demeanour.

However, front-end changes are more than just skin deep, with Subaru revising the structure for better frontal collision performance.

Underneath the sheet metal, retuned suspension aimed at improving steering stability and increasing ride comfort underpins the new WRX, which rides on new-look double-spoke 18-inch wheels.

Six-speed manual cars also receive new gear synchros for reduced friction, as well as smoother clutch travel for creamier shifts, and electronic power steering units are also revised for “an even smoother, more natural feel”, according to Subaru.

Flagship STI versions also gain an alternation in the Driver Control Centre Differential (DCCD), which switches from a mechanical and electronic limited slip differential (LCD) control to an all-electronic governed unit for sharper response.

STIs also gain yellow brake callipers with upgraded six-pot Brembos at the front and two-pot Brembos in the rear, with larger, drilled rotors all round.

No changes are scheduled for the WRX’s 197kW 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder or the WRX STI’s 221kW 2.5-litre boxer engine.

Inside, all models benefit from thicker door glass, amended door sealing and a foam-filled windshield header beam for reduced noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) levels.

Updated WRX models will also make use of upgraded interior materials, rear seat armrest cup holders, a larger multi-function display, reworked door grips, and a “faster remote trunk opening”, according to the Japanese brand.

US-spec WRX cars also have access to an optional Performance Package which includes power-adjustable Recaro bucket seats, red brake callipers with uprated pads and the removal of the moonroof for reduced weight and increased body rigidity.

However, it is likely all local WRX models will still miss out on Subaru’s dual front-facing EyeSight safety technology, which is available at no extra cost on its Levorg sibling.

In the US, only one variant of the WRX is equipped with EyeSight, while the safety system can be found on local Forester, Liberty, Outback and new Impreza vehicles.

The camera-based safety system is used for features including autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and pre-collision braking.

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