Subaru's next WRX is, slowly but surely, taking shape. Due for a likely 2021 unveiling, official details are trying our patience here at CarAdvice, so we tasked auto artist Theophilus Chin to render his take on the final product.
Subaru has a long history of delivering jaw-dropping concepts, and rather more mediocre productions versions. Even the current WRX debuted in 2013 with a much more svelte concept form than its eventual production iteration.
Knowing what we do about Subaru's typical design journey, and connecting the dots with the 2021 Levorg that's just surfaced in Japan, makes picturing the potential WRX pretty easy.
Expect to see much of the Levorg's front sheet metal carry over. That means the front doors, slimline vented bonnet and angular front guards, with their unusual hexagonal wheel apertures, will likely be ported over to the WRX.
2021 Subaru WRX render (top) versus 2018 Viziv Performance STI Concept (above).
Given the more sporting nature of Subie's rally-bred sedan, a more aggressive front bumper will help set it apart, with expanses of mesh signalling the four-door's performance potential.
From the B-pillar back the WRX treads a slightly different path to the Levorg, with its own rear door skin providing a belt line that kicks up at the rear, and a different profile to the rear door glass.
Interestingly, the C-shaped tail light treatment looks set to mimic that of the Subaru BRZ and Toyota 86, where those co-developed models have previously broken rank with Subaru's usual styling themes.
A quartet of tailpipes provide the requisite finishing touch, poking out from beneath a more aggressive bumper. The diffuser-style lower section is nothing new, but additional venting and sculpting has made its way to the rear of Subaru's sports sedan.
Ultimately, given its long-running pedigree, the new WRX looks set to evolve many of the elements found on the outgoing model. Crisper lines and more angular lighting treatments are the icing on the cake, while the Subaru Global Platform underpinnings shared by everything from the Impreza to the North American market Ascent three-row SUV ought to lift it's dynamic capabilities.
Under the bonnet the new WRX is expected to run with one of Subaru's new-generation engines, as speculated in July. For the standard Rex that points to a low-output 2.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder boxer engine with a suggested 206kW, giving it a small edge alongside the 197kW output of the current 2.0-litre engine.
In WRX STI form around 224kW has been mooted – barely moving the game on from the current 2.5-litre car's 221kW rating. Subaru's new-generation FA24 turbo engine already sees use in the Ascent and new Outback overseas, where it runs a 194kW/376Nm state of tune.
In one of its most recent outings the new WRX was spied by Car and Driver in Michigan, appearing to be benchmarked alongside a Ford Mustang four-cylinder EcoBoost. Local outputs for the four-pot Mustang sit at 236kW and 448Nm meaning the WRX may potentially deliver more grunt than initially thought.
Subaru seems to have an aspiration on Ford's pony car, with the same Mustang spotted alongside a BRZ/86 prototype a month earlier.
Although those engine upgrades are only minor alongside the current engines, earlier reports put the WRX STI at a lofty 298kW and 489Nm, which would position the STI as a credible rival for the Mercedes-AMG A45 with 285kW and 480Nm in base form overseas, or 310kW and 500Nm for the A45 S sold in Australia.
As the only cars occupying Subaru's performance car space, details of what to expect from the WRX and STI can't be accurately gleaned from other models in the Japanese automaker's range.
Now that close to production-ready examples are on the streets, it surely won't be long before Subaru has more to say about its all-wheel drive performance icon.