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Australia misses out on Subaru WRX S4

Big in Japan: Sadly for Aussie Subaru fans, the high-powered WRX S4 will only be sold in its homeland.

Subaru's WRX S4 offers more power, but is strictly for the Japanese market only

Subaru logo26 Aug 2014

By RICHARD BERRY

SUBARU has revealed details of its more powerful and better handling WRX S4, but sadly for Australian performance car fans, it is a Japanese-market only offering.

The WRX S4 features a new high-performance 2.0-litre four-cylinder direct injection boxer petrol engine producing 221kW at 5600rpm and 400Nm between 2000-4800rpm, which is 24kW/50Nm more than the 2.0-litre boxer four-cylinder powerplant in the WRX on-sale in Australia.

The power output of the WRX S4 is equal to that of the hardcore WRX STI, which can race from 0-100km/h in 4.9 seconds, but it produces 7Nm less torque.

Unlike the STI, Japanese customers will not be able to get the S4 with a manual gearbox as it’s only available with Subaru’s Sport Lineartronic continuously variable transmission (CVT).

According to a statement, the S4 name refers to what the Japanese car-maker calls the “four values” – sports performance, safety performance, smart driving and sophisticated feel.

“In developing the WRX S4, Subaru strived to create a new type of sports sedan, embodying the product concept for the new WRX series, Pure Power in Your Control, and enabling more drivers to easily enjoy its impressive performance” the company said in the statement.

Subaru said it has stiffened the body and suspension of the S4 while “optimising” the suspension geometry. The steering is quicker and more direct, while the steering gearbox mounts are more ridged, and for the first time on a WRX, the S4 comes with an electric park brake.

Another first for a WRX is the addition of Subaru’s Eyesight camera driver assistance system. Subaru said it has also increased passive safety by employing more high tensile steel plating in the S4 with strengthened joints.

Exterior changes to the S4 are minor, but bigger 18-inch alloy wheels are standard. Inside it features a flat-bottomed steering wheel, black interior with red stitching and ambient lighting to match, along with carbon and metal trim.

Subaru Australia national corporate affairs manager David Rowley told GoAuto the WRX S4 is only being sold in Japan, but said the company is pleased with the existing local line-up and the sales results.

“We launched new WRX and STI in the first quarter and what you see there is what we’ll have for the foreseeable future,” Mr Rowley said.

“The new-gen cars here a selling up a storm. We’re still selling around 250 a month for WRX and STI so we’re very happy with the reception here, especially for the CVT WRX which is kicking goals for us big time.”

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