Walking With Dinosaurs - The New WRX And WRX STI

BY Burnpavement

Rejoice, rejoice, for the Rex has returned!

If there is one car we petrolheads in Singapore covet as the ultimate bang-for-buck proposition, surely this is it? At a star-studded launch event held at Vivocity, hosted by Allan Wu and featuring a performance by the cast of Ah Boys To Men, Subaru finally gifted upon us the new WRX and STI.

Compared to generations past, the pair has now grown up somewhat, a definite sign of the times. Luxury touches such as cruise control, wheel-mounted audio controls, and a dual-zone climate control system (for the STI) might have hardcore enthusiasts crying foul over Subaru going soft, but features like these can only serve to widen their appeal and increase their viability as family transport.

Be in no doubt though, that performance is still very much at the heart of proceedings. The WRX gets a variant of the 2.0-litre Direct Injection Turbo (DIT) FA20 engine that also sees service in the Forester XT and JDM-spec Legacy GT, here producing 268PS and 350Nm. Curiously however, its default gearbox option will be Subaru’s Lineartronic CVT, with a six-speed manual available on an indent basis. If our experience with the Forester is anything to go by, this CVT should prove a competent alternative to an ordinary slushbox, though needless to say the stick shift will be better suited to extracting every last ounce of performance.

Meanwhile, the STI soldiers on with the 2.5-litre EJ25 engine that saw service in its predecessor, developing 300PS and 407Nm via a delightfully short and notchy six-speed manual. Torque output is normally split 41:59 front to rear, but this can be altered with the Driver Controlled Center Differential, which also features Active Torque Vectoring to help tighten your line around corners.

For the first time in history, the WRX and STI arrive on the scene without a direct rival sporting the three red diamonds. But though the absence of any Lancer Evo model might seem at first glance like easy market domination for Subaru, the truth is that the competition has never been tougher. From above, the premium marques have now also gone the 4WD turbo route with the Audi S3, Mercedes A45 AMG and VW Golf R, while from below, hot hatches are boasting ever-increasing power figures, like the 265PS Renault Megane RS and 250PS Ford Focus ST.

How will this pair of rally-bred heroes fare in the marketplace? Well, let’s just say that we here at Burnpavement can’t wait to find out for ourselves. Watch this space…