Ah, the new Subaru WRX has just broken cover and, while we were fortunate to drive it at the local South African launch, we had just given back our test car. Not much has changed in our overall opinion, but a few things are certain now that we’ve spent a few more days with it.
We opted for the Lineartronic model, or in laymen’s terms, automatic. Why? Because frankly it’s probably the most responsive CVT gearbox available today. I know that response and CVT are not common in the same sentence, but in this case, that’s exactly how it is.
So the Lineartronic 2.0 Boxer Four costs a healthy R469 000. That’s a hefty amount of money for a niche brand and an even nicher model, the Lineartronic. You see, the average Joe would choose the manual version which is available with a nice smooth shifting 6 speed, but it also features a clutch. Now, that last part is something I’m not very fond of, especially driving it in traffic. Here is where it’s time to change your mentality from robot racer, to every day Joe who commutes to work and drives the car for practical reasons. The Lineartronic, which is standard with S-drive and intelligent mapping mode, which switches from either 8 speed auto in sport plus, to a regular 6 speed auto in sport or intelligent mode. The latter sort of feels like it holds back on overall boost and makes it smooth and docile to drive. Acceleration comes on smooth and shifts are unnoticeable. This is not the case when you switch to Sport Plus and use the steering wheel mounted paddles. Up and downshifts are DSG-like; quick and extremely precise. It’s not one of those ‘click wait for it to change’ gearboxes. Subaru has clearly done their magic with it and I love it.
Engine power is rated at 197kw and a lovely 350nm torque, which is available from a low 2400Rpm. The 0-100kph acceleration test is quoted at 6.3seconds, and while its not earth shatteringly fast, it’s on par with most of its rivals like the Golf GTI and Focus ST. Subaru claim an average fuel consumption figure of 8.6l/100km with a C02 emission rating of 199 g/km. Our fuel consumption test came in at 6.8l/100km driving at 100kph, and a higher reading of 8.8l/100km driving at 130kph. These tests were all extra-urban over about 60km.
The new interior is a step up from the previous generation with a new D shaped sport steering wheel, combining most of the onboard computer toggle switches. The center computer, which also houses an electronic boost gauge, traction readings and trip/fuel consumption meters, are changed with an alternate button, which is located below. It would have been nice to integrate this into the steering wheel too.
An optional touch screen unit (R8730) with built in Tom Tom GPS was fitted on this premium model. I really like how the speakers have been upgraded and there is a day/night difference in the bass response over the previous generation. At least now you can listen to your drum n bass and actually feel the bass. The driver seat is 8-way power adjustable, but unfortunately the passenger still needs to manually operate their seat. The rear seats have ample space and feature ISO-fix child seat adapters. They also fold flat in a 60:40 manner.
Subaru have really come to the party, have won numerous safety awards and the new WRX is no different. It received a 5 star NCAP award and features mostly all of the safety bells and whistles you can think of; including driver knee and passenger airbags, dual curtain airbags, dual front side airbags and a ring-shaped passenger safety cell. ABS with EBD, Vehicle Stability Dynamics Control and Brake Assist are also all standard.
Over all, the new WRX drives mostly like all of its counterparts but offers a little more. Not only are you the envy of all other petrol heads on the roads, but you also become a member of the Subaru community who know that when you own a Scoobie once, you will always have one in the driveway.
The WRX comes standard with a 75000km 3 year maintenance plan.
For more info head over to www.subaru.co.za