It’s probably fair to say that the Subaru Impreza WRX cars of years gone by have never failed to deliver on the performance front. That turbocharged boxer engine, 4-wheel drive with a clever centre differential, and a body weight that’s more supermodel than super-sized, have generally meant that the hotter old school Scooby models are fast, fun and distinctly capable. But there has been some pretty painful restyles across the Impreza years, with even the hardcore fans looking more than a little queasy at some new models. So how about this new Subaru WRX concept?
Fat, flat and definitely a hard-edged coupe-look; it seems from this concept – as long as they stick to the concept look when they finally make it – that there is once again a Scooby with a face that we can all love, and not just its mother.
A new Subaru WRX model was first shown earlier this year at the New York International Auto Show, but a follow up concept will make its European debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show, in early September. And Subaru are saying that the Euro-shown car will very closely represent how the new WRX model will look. Sounds good so far.
Subaru has also confirmed that the new WRX Concept “places an even greater focus on sharp handling, with a low centre of gravity and Subaru’s famous All-Wheel Drive system”. Further good news then as there were concerns that if there was a new hot Subaru, that it would be watered-down to meet emissions, or that they may not make one at all as the market for kind of cars – hot, fast and quite juicy – was nowhere near what it used to be.
Indeed, the current, old model WRX is now sold out and the decision was taken earlier this year not to import more cars to the UK. This new, 2014 Subaru WRX production car has not yet been confirmed for the UK either, which will be a shame for Subaru fans who have already fallen in love with this little stunner. But, if they make it for Japan, and with us and them having the steering wheel on the right side of the car, it’s likely that grey imports will come to the UK as they always have.
Other news that isn’t confirmed as yet is that the boxer engine will be dropped in favour of a more traditional and economical 1.6-litre, 4-cylinders-in-line engine, but still thankfully with a turbo. This concept car does show a bonnet scoop and these are generally used to feed cooling air onto a turbo’s intercooler that’s been mounted on top of the engine. Although this isn’t widely agreed to be the best way of cooling an intercooler – most makers put their intercoolers on the front of the car in the bumper for better airflow – it has always been the way Subaru has done things, and is entirely their style. It does look cool though and ultimately keeps the quite delicate and expensive intercooler out of danger.
So, may questions left unanswered, but at least we know that if we do end up getting a new WRX in 2014, that at least it will look rally-hard and mean as hell.
By Dan Anslow