The brand-new WRX looks pretty darn impressive, and frankly it needs to be if it is going to top the legend of its predecessors. One thing is clear; though; Subaru focused on tarmac performance with this model along with off-road rally cred.
So can the new WRX still handle itself when the going gets rough? Well, a video just released by Subru would suggest that it can do just that.
For the new WRX, Subaru made the body and frame significantly stiffer, 20 percent stiffer than the last car to be exact. That’s great on the road because it prevents the car from leaning under the tremendous g-forces created by cornering, thus keeping all four wheels on the ground.
When you are trying to go fast over broken ground, stiffness can actually hurt you. For maximum traction you want all of the wheels touching the ground as much as possible. If the chassis is too stiff, wheels will lose contact as the car goes dips and jumps. That’s why rally cars are traditionally built with some flex in their bodies.
By focusing on stiffness, Subaru might have harmed off-road performance. But that’s not what we see in the video. To regain whatever performance it may have lost with a good stiffening, Subaru’s best and nerdiest engineers have fitted the WRX with a much more advanced all-wheel drive system. Unlike the last generation, which used a purely mechanical system, this car supplements its differentials with an electronic torque vectoring system that uses to the brakes to maximize torque to the wheels with the most grip.
In this brief, but stunning, clip we see the results of all of this high tech chicanery. The WRX is still capable of doing what no other sports car can do, go from pavement to dirt without missing a beat – or even slowing down.
Sure the dirt track in the video isn’t that demanding, but I am still thrilled to see the WRX hasn’t forgotten what it is.