The New Subaru WRX – What Can We Expect?

August 1, 2018


It’s been more than 20 years since Colin McRae soared through the Bunnings Jumps to win the 1997 Rally Australia event, cementing the Subaru WRX STI’s status as the ultimate rally car. But even two decades later, an unveiling of the new next generation 2020 WRX STI shows the concept car will still be a force to be reckoned with.

Is the Viziv a Taste of What’s To Come?

First unveiled at the 2018 Tokyo Auto Salon, the Viziv Performance STI Concept was developed in conjunction with Subaru’s performance arm, Subaru Technica International. The concept car’s futuristic LED headlights , edgy front and rear bumpers, slick side skirt and snazzy rear wing dropped jaws at the motor show, and while Subaru has a history of teasing prototypes that don’t actually translate into production models, there are strong indications that the 2020 WRX STI will closely resemble the Viziv Performance concept.

Subaru’s New Global Platform

Confirmed details are scarce, but we know the new Subaru Global Platform, currently underpinning the current Subaru Impreza and upcoming Subaru Forester, will make it way to the 2020 WRX STI. Subaru says their new Global Platform was engineered with three main objectives: increasing straight-line stability, reducing noise and cabin vibration and boosting ride comfort. The new architecture is touted to deliver a 70 to 100% increase in structural rigidity (depending on the model), improvements to the steering and suspension systems as well as an even lower centre of gravity for more responsive handling. Lastly, the Subaru Global Platform is expected to reduce body roll by 50% for a more comfortable experience, which would be a welcome addition to the WRX STI, which has been criticized in the past for being a bumpy ride.

Hybrid Turbo Engine and Torque Vectoring

The other major change would be the replacement of the WRX STI’s 2.5-litre engine with a four-cylinder 2.0-litre hybrid turbo-petrol Boxer engine, which would utilize an electric module to pump up power and reduce CO2 emissions. It’s understood that Subaru is holding back on the launch of the next generation WRX and WRX STI in order to debut the new hybrid powertrains in 2020. That means the 2019 WRX STI could be the last petrol-only model to sport the STI badge. The current turbocharged four-cylinder Boxer engine packs 231 kilowatts of power, so we expect the new model to pack at least 250 kilowatts of power and 500Nm of torque thanks to the new hybrid engine. There’s also rumours of a new torque vectoring system that would deliver enhanced All-Wheel Drive power, to take Subaru’s legendary Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system to the next level.

How Does the 2018 Model Stack Up?

For those not willing to wait, the current 2018, fourth-generation WRX is no slouch when it comes to performance, combining Subaru’s Direct injected, turbocharged horizontally-opposed Boxer 4-cylinder, petrol Boxer engine and symmetrical all-wheel drive to pump out 197kW of power at 5,600 RPM and 350Nm of torque at 2,400-5,200 RPM. It’s offered in both manual transmission and automatic with Continuous Variable Transmission (CVT). The Subaru WRX and WRX STI grip the road with all four wheels, delivering double the traction capacity of a two-wheel drive car, making it an ideal car for crawling corners, slick city streets or rugged mountain trails.

Safety and Performance In One Package

The Subaru WRX and WRX STI are rated with a five-star ANCAP safety rating thanks to an award-winning combination of collision prevention technology, which includes seven SRS² airbags – dual front, dual front side, curtain-style and drivers-knee – and a whiplash-reducing design. Subaru’s advanced proprietary proactive safety EyeSight® Driver Assist system comes standard on WRX CVT models, which provides an extra set of eyes on the road when reversing and alerts drivers of dangerous situations and vehicles in your blind spot. It will even automatically apply the brakes in certain situations. Throw in a full-featured full-colour display infotainment unit, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Siri support, the Subaru WRX combines performance, pleasure and safety for the ultimate peace of mind.