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I recall going to the launch of the current WRX in 2014. Here’s a car designed to be a family sedan while packing the punch of a sports car. Five years on, as with all cars, the WRX has undergone technical enhancements to keep up with our fast-paced times of innovation.
The newest WRX promises to be the safest yet - with the latest version of Subaru’s EyeSight® system which employs stereo cameras and works as an extra set of eyes, monitoring the road ahead and working to mitigate collisions. Subaru also promises improved comfort and smarter tech. The interior materials have been upgraded and Subaru says the cabin is supposedly quieter (so they say – you still wouldn’t hear a pin drop when the WRX is in motion).
This iconic street fighter’s lineage began in 1992 and divides its evolution over four generations. From what I know, each generation of the WRX has always had an aggressive nature offering a raw driver appeal, but as the brand has evolved, so too has each generation of WRX.
The current WRX could hardly be described as raw. The animal that lies beneath has been very eloquently masked. The latest WRX is aimed at business professionals who love driving. Agility, power and diver feedback are priorities when selecting their car of choice. The new WRX offers all these elements while wrapping its driver and passenger in a comfortable Japanese-styled cabin albeit you can start to see its five-year age.
The lines of the car are square with chiselled edges. Every angle of the WRX is aggressive yet dynamically aesthetic. That description sounds like a contradiction but it’s true. The sharp fashioned lines give it a purposeful road presence without an overt disregard for style. The result is something rather keen that has aged well.
As good as the outside of the car is, it’s in its drive that you really get to revel in the WRX’s true talents. I would liken the chassis (car’s underbody) to a taut athlete. It is muscled and honed. The entire body feels sharp yet light. Subaru’s AWD symmetrical driving system means that this sprinter has its running shoes on. When the tough gets going so does the system, and the WRX releases its claws and grips into the road’s surface like a cheetah on the hunt. Throw it at a corner, and it happily darts into it, around and out of it with tenacity - making the WRX a joy to drive.
The WRX is fitted with a 2.0 turbocharged engine (197kW/350Nm), giving it potent performance figures – 6 seconds to 100km/h and it tops out 240 km/h. Subaru are well-known for fitting all their vehicles with boxer engines. The boxer engine sits lower in the car’s body than other conventional engines, giving this street brawler a closer relationship with the road and ultimately, better handling characteristics.
Steering, braking and acceleration sensations are sharp and sensitive to the point of offering a highly communicative driver sensation. Everything has been crafted for the driver and their driving experience.
I’ve experienced both the WRX’s impressive gearboxes - the 6-speed manual being my favourite. Subaru like being unique and as car convention goes, they don’t run with a conventional automatic gearbox. Instead, they employ a system called Linertronic, more commonly known as Continually Variable Transmission (CVT). So, does this out of the box system work on the WRX? In short, it does. Everyday driving is a pleasure with the system. It’s hard to distinguish the difference between this and a conventional automated system with actual gears. The system allows you to select between three driving modes. The first is an everyday normal mode which artificially simulates six gears. The second mode turns up the heat, S, intensifying acceleration by increasing the car’s power curve. But when expressing your need for speed, there is the S# button. So fast the S jumped in front of the “#”! Think Bruce Lee during an action scene – focused, fast and sharp. This mode fictitiously creates two additional gears totalling eight. In this mode especially, the car flicks forward with each simulated shift. Funnily enough, the Linertronic system isn’t as fast as the manual shifter, despite its technical prowess.
The WRX is a specialist machine for a connoisseur. This isn’t to say that the car’s not for everyday use. On the contrary, people who own Subaru’s are loyal and for good reason. What’s hot versus what’s not doesn’t interest Subaru owners.
I wish more people thought the same!
At the price, the WRX is hard to beat. If you are prepared to spend more, you can’t go wrong with the S3.
Audi S3 Sedan/ S4, Alfa Romeo Giulia, BMW 3 Series and Volvo S60
WRX Premium R581 400
WRX ES Premium R631 400
WRX STi Premium R770 100
WRX STi 30 Diamond Edition R799 000
Service and warranty
The new Subaru WRX is also available as standard with a 3yr/100 000km warranty and Subaru’s 3yr/75 000km maintenance plan, which can be optionally extended at purchase. Service intervals are 15 000km.
WRX Premium R581 400
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