THERE is a band of enthusiastic petrolheads who will be very happy with the latest Subaru offering to hit the roads in South Africa.
The iconic WRX AWD which even surpasses the legendary model it replaces was launched last week at Nasrec in Johannesburg.
Subaru has clearly focussed its attention on promoting the WRX (World Rally Cross) as the flagship of the brand.
The launch drive started at Nasrec and stopped at Vereeniging for lunch before returning for a bit of fun on a specially setup track to test the handling skills of the WRX.
Displacing two litres and featuring a turbocharger, the direct injection turbo (DIT) DOHC Boxer engine produces 197kW at 5600rpm and a steady 350Nm of torque between 2400 and 5200rpm.
The 0-100 km/h sprint is a blow-your-hair-back 6.0 seconds in the manual derivative (6.3 seconds for the Sport Lineartronic derivative) and top speed is a steady 240 km/h.
Linked to Subaru’s trademark Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, two transmission options are available – the new six-speed manual derivative offers ultimate driver engagement with the refined manual gearbox serving up a slick shift and engaging pedals, along with a centre differential and viscous limited slip differential.
The Sport Lineartronic CVT model presents a new age automatic WRX option, with variable torque distribution. Based on Subaru’s own continuously variable transmission (CVT) and engineered specifically for application in the new WRX, Sport Lineartronic with manual shift paddles for full manual control has been benchmarked on some of the world’s best single- and dual-clutch automatic transmissions to ensure superbly quick shifts and exceptional power delivery as we were able to experience on the test drive.
Available on the sport model, Subaru Intelligent Drive provides three pre-programmed and driver-selectable drive modes which alter the way the new WRX behaves, depending on driver requirements or preferences.
Sport mode (S) provides for sharper throttle response and a more engaging feel from the steering, heightening the senses in many respects.
For full-bore performance driving however, Sport Sharp mode (S#) realises the full potential of the engine as well as eight close-ratios from the transmission, allowing the driver to experience a no-holds-barred attack on the senses.
Clearly Subaru has a winner in its stable and the new WRX will have petrolheads lining up to get one in their garage.
The WRX is available as standard with a three-year/ 100000km warranty and Subaru’s three-year/75000km maintenance plan, which can be optionally extended. Service intervals are 15000km.
Prices are: WRX Premium 6MT R449000;
WRX Premium Sport Lineartronic CVT R469000.
– Bobby Cheetham