The new Subaru WRX goes on sale almost exactly 20 years after the original WRX was launched in 1994.
The first-generation WRX had a starting price of $39,990, which would be roughly $66,640 in today’s money (accounting for inflation) and came with significantly fewer features than the newer and cheaper model seen here.
Subaru says Australia is the third largest market for WRX sales (after the US and Japan) and the Rex has arguably become an Aussie motoring icon, stirred originally by its performance-for-money proposition.
In the past two decades 37,600 Subaru WRXs (known as Subaru Impreza WRX until recently) have been sold in Australia, averaging about 150 per month, a target that Subaru Australia is still aiming for with the fourth-generation model.
The company expects roughly 80 per cent of buyers to pick the manual transmission while 20 per cent will opt for the newly introduced continuously variable transmission (CVT).
Despite the majority of buyers sticking with a manual transmission, Subaru Australia boss Nick Senior is adamant that the CVT system will extend the WRX’s target audience.
“WRX’s appeal will significantly broaden with the introduction of the Sport Lineartronic CVT,” he says.
Although still driven through Subaru’s trademark all-wheel-drive system, which is only equalled for the price (on paper at least) by the rapidly ageing Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart, the choice of a CVT lags behind the industry standard of a dual-clutch transmission in sports cars of this calibre (and price).
The 2015 Subaru WRX range will consist of two grades and two transmission choices. Premium models will command a $5000 premium while the CVT will be an additional $2000, making the Subaru WRX Premium CVT $45,990.
The entry grade gets 17-inch alloys, seven airbags, reversing camera, sports front seats with red stitching, 3.5-inch electroluminescent and 4.3-inch colour LCD multi-information displays, cruise control, USB port, Bluetooth telephone and audio streaming capability, height- and reach-adjustable steering column, and more.
The $5000 price increase for the premium models adds automatic headlights and wipers, sunroof, leather trim, power driver’s seat, smart key with push-button start, satellite navigation, and an eight-speaker Harman Kardon audio system with a sub-woofer and amplifier.
Apart from the price cut, the iconic Rex sees modest increases in power and torque while downsizing its engine and getting an extra gear ratio in manual form (six-speed) and a CVT instead of a traditional automatic.
Having downsized from a 2.5- to 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine with direct injection, the 197kW (5600rpm) and 350Nm (2400-5200rpm) output figures are up from the previous model’s 195kW and 343Nm.
2015 Subaru WRX manual $38,990
2015 Subaru WRX Lineartronic CVT $40,990
2015 Subaru WRX Premium manual $43,990
2015 SubaruWRX Premium Lineartronic CVT $45,990