Subaru engineers singled out the latest Porsche 911 as its performance benchmark in its bid to substantially lift the handling prowess of the all-new, fourth-generation Subaru WRX.
Speaking at a special sneak peek tech briefing of the car in LA yesterday, Subaru’s General Manager of Product, Masuo Takatsu, told CarAdvice that Subaru’s main focus with the development of the new-generation WRX was to make sure handling was “at a higher level altogether”.
“Handling-wise, the Porsche 911 is a great car, very agile and very quick through corners, and we wanted to realise those characteristics in the new WRX,” Takatsu said.
“[We] believe the new WRX lives up to that standard.”
According to Takatsu, Subaru achieved these handling improvements by taking a “holistic approach” in the development of the upcoming WRX, rather than focusing on one particular area, such as suspension or steering.
“Steering itself can’t really change all that dramatically by just employing a quicker steering ratio – although we’ve done that too, going from a 15.0:1 down to 14.5:1 – or stiffer springs. We’ve made critical changes all over the car to achieve our goal of benchmark handling in its class,” Takatsu said.
Torsional rigidity has been increased by 40 per cent with lateral stiffness up by 30 per cent. Front spring rates have been increased by 39 per cent, while the rear is stiffer by 62 per cent.
“Every component of the suspension was stiffened, modified, reinforced or beefed-up to achieve the best possible result,” he added.
Despite the increased stiffness, Subaru says the suspension is even more compliant than the outgoing model, and it’s a more comfortable car to drive because it’s better able to iron out larger bumps.
“The current model WRX could get unsettled when it hit a large bump and that shock was felt through the body. With the new-generation car, the extra stiffness of the car is better able to absorb that shock,” said Takatsu.
For the first time, the WRX gets Subaru’s Active Torque Vectoring System, which is said to allow faster cornering speeds, while providing more neutral steering.
Another first for the WRX – though previously found on the STi version – is Subaru’s Multi-mode VDC system, which effectively offers three driving modes; Off – when trying to get out of mud or snow, or alternatively, on the racetrack; On – for everyday driving and finally, Traction mode, which cancels the VDC and traction control only, but leaves the torque vectoring system active.
The all-new WRX gets its global debut at tomorrow’s LA Motor Show before reaching local showrooms in March, where it’s tipped to start slightly higher than the old model’s $39,990 entry price.