First Drive | 2015 Subaru WRX

To be the star at one auto show is commendable. To be the star at two in one year is a feat. For Subaru, the 2013 auto show season kicked off in late March with the unveiling of the WRX concept at the New York Auto Show. For the rest of the year, Subaru fans and enthusiasts were abuzz in anticipation of the new WRX. Rumors circulated about a two-liter turbocharged engine, along with a number of improvements, to go with the all-new design, and as the Los Angeles Auto Show approached, the buzz got louder when Subaru announced it would debut the WRX in L.A. On November 20, 2013, the anticipation reached a zenith, as the 2015 WRX was finally unveiled. subaru-wrx-first-drive-2015-137-001 Text by Richard Fong // Photos by Richard Fong and Subaru of America

Visual Revamp

subaru-wrx-first-drive-2015-137-006While based on the latest Impreza chassis, the only components that the 2015 WRX shares with the base model is the roof, trunk lid and some of the glass. The rest of the exterior is specific to the WRX, including the aluminum hood, wider fenders and quarter panels, and front and rear fascia. Subaru states that the new exterior lowers the coefficient of drag from 0.36 to 0.32 compared to the previous WRX.

Improving Handling

subaru-wrx-first-drive-2015-137-002Underneath the new skin, Subaru stiffened the chassis by approximately 41 percent, incorporating higher-strength steel along with numerous gussets and reinforcements throughout. The added stiffness to the chassis reduces the effect of the “fifth spring” on the suspension and improves the responsiveness to steering input. The reinforcement also improves roof crush, which is four times the vehicle weight compared to the required minimum of three times the vehicle weight.   [pullquote]SUBARU ENGINEERS SOUGHT TO IMPROVE THE HANDLING OF THE WRX[/pullquote] At each corner, the suspension also received a complete revamp, as Subaru engineers sought to improve the handling of the WRX. Stiffer bushings equip the suspension pivot points, while the new front aluminum lower control arms and rear lateral outer links feature pillow ball end links. The spring rates were reworked, with the fronts increased by 39 percent and the rears by 62 percent. The sub-frames have been reinforced, and the new front sway bar has increased in thickness by 3mm to 24mm. Three degrees of added toe angle at the back help to improve steering. Subaru states that these improvements collectively contribute to a 20 percent reduction in body roll.