Flared arches? Check. Rally Heritage? Check. Boxer engine? Check. The 2013 Subaru WRX S-edition is a seriously good car for the money. With its exciting performance, street appeal and refined handling, it was one of the best performance buys in 2013.
It all starts with the figures; 195kW of power, 343Nm of Torque, 0-100km/h in 5.3 seconds. I was sure that if I bought this car it would get me a lot of s...miles in return. So after some deliberation and comparison of other performance buys on the market, I came to the conclusion that I would go for the ‘Rex'. Other worthy competitors were of course the long time WRX rival, the Mitsubishi Evo8, the Renault Megane RS and Golf GTI. I purchased the car in May 2013 for $47000 which was $500 below the RRP and landed it straight between the standard and premium WRX models on offer.
Compared to the $48000 list price of the premium WRX model the S-edition WRX was bolstered with value which came in terms of Leather seats, STI front strut brace, STI front spoiler, STI rear wing and a short shifter kit. It also had an air of exclusivity in that only 300 models were sold in Australia in only 3 colours. The entry level radio in the S-edition enabled me to use bluetooth streaming to seamlessly play music through my phone. The premium model did not offer this. I basically had $2100 worth of add-ons with the S-edition for $1000 less than the premium model. This made it an easy choice and I snapped up one of the last Pearl White S-editions.
However, after I bought the car there was still one question looming in the back of my mind. Should I have waited for the updated model to come out? Especially after the spectacular WRX concept was unveiled in New York in April 2013. I might be biased but if I had waited, I would have bought a confused Evo lookalike, with many enthusiasts naming the new model “STIvo”. It bares much more resemblance to the Mitsubishi Evo rather than the sleek concept everyone was getting excited about.
The new 2015 model WRX does, however, have many various improvements that I felt were lacking in my 2013 model. These improvements came in the form of a panel that reads out your turbo boost pressure, an improved stereo system, interior refinements, more soft touch plastics, a reversing camera and a six speed gearbox.
When it came to getting my car serviced, the first three services at 12500km intervals averaged around $400 each depending on if I went to a dealer or certified Subaru mechanic.
This car is made to be driven hard and it easily soaks up any punishment you give it in the corners with the front Macpherson struts and rear double wishbone suspension. It's perfectly damped to take up any harsh back road bumps. This coupled with the beautifully smooth and torquey 2.5L boxer engine makes for an excitingly fast yet comfortable daily driver. Drive it non-chalantly through the gears or unleash with 195kw up to 6000RPM. When you give it the boot, it gently pulls you into the seat from 2000rpm then at 4000RPM the torque and power come on song to let you have it. Second gear will get you to 100km/h... just. Its good for checking those official 0-100 times and keeps up well with the STI owners to 100 as they have an extra gear change due to shorter gearbox ratios. LOL.
On the track, STI owners will be LOLing right back at you as their tough brembo brakes can cope way better with harsh braking conditions. Taking the S-edition out on the track was a great way to fully experience what the car can do. You can approach corners hard and fast with only understeer to keep in mind. You can get on the throttle early and the car pulls re-assuringly out of the corner and boosts on till the next corner. Pulling up after a few 10 minute track sessions, my brakes were slightly smoking - an indication that this is not a dedicated track car but good for the odd fang.
For a solid performance buy you can't look past the rally bred, all wheel drive, wide bodied WRX. It goes like a rocket, is priced like a family sedan and raises your heartbeat in a good way.