The Subaru WRX Concept made its official debut at the New York International Auto Show yesterday and upon first impressions, the car looks fantastic.
Earlier this year, Subaru announced they would no longer be selling the Impreza to the UK market. The news raised a number of concerns over the future of the Impreza brand and whether or not it would suffer a similar fate to its Mitsubishi rival.
Subaru seems to have answered any concerns with the WRX Concept, ushering in a new direction for Imprezas to come.
The Japanese manufacturer has always been good at producing reliable cars that are excellent to drive, however they’ve never really succeeded in exterior styling. While certain iterations like the GC and GD have gotten better looking with age, more recent Imprezas have failed to capture the same appeal.
Subaru’s current GVB shares an unfortunate resemblance with Toyota’s flagship – with added exterior girth, in the form of widened wheel arches and a massive rear wing. The tuning industry has fixed the problem to a degree. However it would be nice to leave the dealership in an Impreza that already looks great, rather than one that has the potential to.
The WRX Concept has been designed to look aggressive from the start, with its styling features working together in harmony. Nothing looks to have been added as an afterthought.
The car’s front end looks particularly stunning with a larger, Legacy-inspired front grill and European style headlights. The brand’s signature hood scoop looks like it belongs on car, having been nicely integrated, without looking overly bulbous. The LED strips on the front bumper and splashes of neon yellow accents are also nice touches.
As if it didn’t seem possible, the WRX Concept has taken on an even wider stance.
Subaru have offered no performance figures on the car, however it’s likely it will come equiped with the same 2.5L turbocharged Boxer engine as the current model. What’s more intriguing is the car’s electronic brain. I’ve long been a proponent of making the Impreza “smarter”. A similar system to Mitsubishi’s AYC would be a welcome addition and help to combat the car’s notorious understeer. With improved handling and a bit more power, the WRX Concept could eventually be the final nail in its rival’s coffin.
The massive 6-pot front brakes and aggressive rear diffuser shows that Subaru understands potential customers. As both features have become popular aftermarket additions to the WRX, it would make sense for Subaru to offer them from the factory.
The WRX Concept does of course raise questions about a potential STi to follow. A beefed up version would normally make sense, but if the production model retains its current features and a similar level of performance, the STi could be out of a job.
It’s an exciting time for Subaru enthusiasts and a step in the right direction for the brand. The WRX Concept looks more at home in the company of Europe’s elite, than with its own Japanese counterparts. Hopefully they’ll make the smart decision and put it into production as soon as possible and by all means, offer an estate version as well!
Photos courtesy of Subaru.