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Subaru kills off Japan's Impreza WRX
Australia ‘unharmed’ after Japan switches its iconic Impreza WRX for a softer S-GT
14 Jun 2007
SUBARU'S parent company Fuji Heavy Industries has launched the new Impreza range in its Japanese home market - without the model that became a cult car and introduced Subaru to a whole new audience.
While the decision to replace the no-frills WRX performance sedan with a softer luxury performance model called the S-GT in Japan could strike fear into the hearts of "Rex" fans around the world, Subaru has confirmed it will continue to offer a WRX for most export markets - including the US and Australia.
Subaru Australia spokesman David Rowley told GoAuto the WRX was safe.
"It was never really a consideration to not have the WRX in Australia," Mr Rowley said. "It was always going to be an ongoing model."The WRX brand was too well established to let die, Mr Rowley said.
"It is an iconic badge in Australia and we are keen to maintain that link with our customers," he said.
Subaru Australia sells approximately 850 Impreza models on average each month, a figure that includes between 150 and 200 WRXs.
The S-GT sold in Japan is defined by Subaru as a grand touring model. It still has considerable performance thanks to a 2.0-litre turbo boxer engine that pumps out 184kW at 6000rpm and 333Nm at 2400rpm.
The new-generation WRX bound for Australia will continue to use a 2.5-litre turbo boxer engine. While power and torque figures have not been confirmed, it is expected the Australian WRX will not match the output of the S-GT. The current WRX generates 169kW and 320Nm.
Subaru Australia will introduce the new WRX along with the regular Impreza hatch this September. There will be no Impreza sedans, in regular or WRX guise, available for at least 12 months.
An STi version of the hatchback, which Subaru said would represent a significant step up from the WRX, will arrive in Australia next February.
The new Impreza range has gone on sale in Japan with the choice of three engines including an 81kW 1.5-litre, a non-turbo 103kW 2.0-litre and the 184kW S-GT engine. The 2.0-litre engine will power the regular Impreza models in Australia, but the 1.5-litre model will not be sold here.
In Japan, the Impreza is available as a front-wheel drive or AWD, but Australian models will be AWD only. A diesel Impreza engine is being readied for European Impreza models, but the oil-burner is not on the agenda for Australia in the immediate future.
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