Subaru’s 2015 WRX is as muscular as ever – and now a whole lot smarter

Subaru has finally pulled the covers off the all-new 2015 WRX, and the results are just as good as we expected. It looks like that perfect mix between off-road rally racing mixed with everyday driver dynamics – something that Subaru is exceptionally adept at creating.

As we speculated, Subaru has thrown the old 2.5-liter flat four-cylinder into the scrap bin and will instead use its latest, direct injected 2.0-liter Boxer four. Despite its improved technological prowess, the 2015 WRX only makes a couple more ponies than the last. Power is now rated at 268 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The outgoing model, if you’ve forgotten, made 265 hp and 244 lb-ft.

Bolted to that new 2.0-liter is a six-speed manual or – eventually down the line – a new Sport Lineartronic continuously variable transmission (CVT). I am thankful that the former five-speed manual has been melted down and made into rebar, as it was one of the clunkiest manuals on the motorway. The six-speed, which was formerly relegated to STI status, is far-and-away a superior transmission. It should be noted this will likely not be the exact same six as the STI but one with slightly different ratios.

To match the sporty and distinctively grown-up new bodylines, Subaru designers have stiffened the chassis and suspension, which will improve performance handling. With a more extensive use of high-strength steel and very thick stabilizer bars in both the front and rear, the 2015 WRX should be far less twisty.

While that extra-stiff body might be good for road racing, rally drivers might balk a bit, as a flexy body helps keep all four wheels firmly planted in high-speed rally driving.

2015 Subaru WRX news exterior detail

Before power is sent to all wheels, it must first pass through a viscous coupling locking center differential, which seamlessly sends splits power 50:50 to the front and rear.

Putting power to the pavement – or gravel and mud – is a new torque-vectoring system that aids the infamous symmetrical all-wheel drive system. The torque-vectoring system uses sensors to help get power to the road in a meaningful way that limits under steer and wheel slippage. It’s tied into an all-new electric power steering system.

Interestingly, if buyers order the CVT, Suby bolts up a different version of its symmetrical all-wheel drive than the manual unit. This version divides power in a 45:55 front-to-rear split. Sending more power to the rear, as you might know, makes the car feel sportier. Perhaps Suby designers did this to make the CVT feel less like a compromise.

Just as I suspected, the interior is finally up to 21st century standards. Along with soft-touch materials, Subaru has added a flat-bottomed steering wheel, Bluetooth, sunroof, a nine-speaker Harman Kardon audio system pushing 440 watts, and push-button start. Excitingly, the interior is also roomier. Rear seat passengers will enjoy nearly two more inches of legroom.

We reported that the next WRX would not be offered in a sport hatch bodystyle. So far, Suby seems to be sticking to this plan. Whether it’ll later introduce a hatch or use the hatch body style for an all-new model is unclear.

What we do know is that the 2015 Subaru WRX looks like a knockout – especially in its red paint job.

We’ll be getting behind the wheel of the new 2015 WRX early in December to be sure to check back soon for our first drive impressions.

Product Review

Hyundai’s luxurious Tucson suffocates you with more – in a good way

The refreshed 2019 Hyundai Tucson may be one of the more affordable compact SUVs on the market, but there are more safety features than before as standard, as well as a hint of luxury.

Insiders claim the Tesla Model S nearly became the long-rumored Apple car

Apple offered to buy Tesla in 2013, according to an analyst who spoke to people familiar with the talks. Apple made Tesla a great offer, but the deal fell through when Elon Musk refused to step away from the company he helped found.

Parents will never miss soccer practice with BMW’s new 523-horsepower SUVs

BMW is launching M Performance versions of its biggest SUVs, the X5 and X7. While not full-on M models, they do pack 523-horsepower twin-turbo V8 engines, allowing both SUVs to sprint from zero to 60 mph in under five seconds.

Don’t trust Tesla’s new autonomous lane-changing feature, Consumer Reports warns

Consumer Reports warns that last month's Autopilot updates that enabled automatic lane changing may put you at risk of a ticket or accident. Reaction times lagged what a human could do, testers say.

Texas awaits one signature to put a statewide stop to red light cameras

When Texas Governor Greg Abbott signs state House Bill 1631 into law, he will bring a halt to red light cameras in the state. The central issue in the bill's passage is the presumption of guilt of the registered owner of the car.

EV owners may still need to stop at a Chevron station, but not to buy gasoline

EVgo, the operator of a sizable network of electric car charging stations, has partnered with Chevron. Five Chevron stations located in California will install EVgo chargers that electric car owners can pay to use.

Mercedes-Benz GLE SUV tries to balance power and efficiency with mild-hybrid V8

The redesigned Mercedes-Benz GLE will get a V8 mild-hybrid powertrain when it launches in the United States later in 2019. The 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 makes 483 hp on its own, but can also get a 21 hp electric boost.

Audi TT will get the ax to make way for electric cars — and the R8 may be next

Once a design leader, the Audi TT will meet its demise to make room in Audi's lineup for more electric cars. Audi executives confirmed plans to kill off the TT at the automaker's annual shareholder meeting.

Honda recalls 119,000 2019 CR-V crossovers over fears of airbag deployment

A manufacturing defect in select 2019 Honda CR-V crossovers could cause the airbag to malfunction and unexpectedly deploy, leading the automaker to recall some 137,000 vehicles worldwide, 118,598 of them in the U.S.

Cadillac confirms V-Series performance versions of the CT5 and CT4

Cadillac will unveil CT5-V and CT4-V sports sedans in Detroit May 30. They will be the latest cars in the General Motors luxury brand's V-Series performance line, which celebrates its 15th anniversary this year.

Watch Cruise Automation’s driverless car perform one of the trickiest maneuvers

Unprotected left turns in urban environments are one of the trickiest maneuvers a driver has to perform — and the same goes for self-driving cars. Autonomous-vehicle company Cruise Automation appears close to nailing it.

Lyft’s wallet-friendly Shared Saver option arrives in six more U.S. cities

Lyft is expanding its wallet-friendly Shared Saver option to Atlanta, Las Vegas, Miami, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Seattle after launching it earlier this year in Denver, New York City, and San Jose.

How Verizon and Team Penske are using 5G to make Indy 500 race cars faster

Team Penske, the most successful race team in Indy 500 history, is using Verizon 5G in its bid to win the 2019 Indy 500. Modern race cars generate tons of data, and a 5G connection lets teams harvest that data faster.

Leaf electric-car batteries can outlast vehicles by up to 12 years, Nissan claims

Nissan Leaf batteries have roughly twice the lifes pan of the cars they're installed in, according to an executive from the automaker. Nissan is investigating alternative uses for those batteries.