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.

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