Subaru has unveiled the fourth-generation Impreza WRX at the Los Angeles motor show, under a spotlight that also shone on a concept of the new Legacy sedan.
The WRX will go on sale in New Zealand in April, followed a few months later by the go-faster STi variant.
The sedan-only WRX uses a turbocharged 2.0-litre boxer engine in place of the 2.5-litre unit in the current WRX.
The 2.0-litre shown at LA is the US-spec, good for 199kW and 343Nm, up 4kW and 6Nm on the 2.5. Output for the NZ-spec engine has yet to be confirmed, although it is likely to be similar.
But what has changed significantly is the way torque is delivered, one reason why Subaru focused more on improving WRX handling response than outright power.
The new 2.0-litre delivers its 343Nm across a much wider rev range, between 2000-5000rpm, whereas the 2.5-litre’s peak torque comes in at around 4400rpm.
Subaru NZ managing director Wallis Dumper said the new engine “really delivers.”
“I tested the new WRX earlier in the year,” he said. “It handles like its on rails and its boxer engine pulls like a train.
“It looks good, is more sophisticated, but doesn’t compromise on fun either. It will set a new benchmark for Kiwi drivers who enjoy our undulating, winding roads.”
The body is largely the same size as the outgoing sedan. Width of 1795mm is the same, so is the 1475mm height, but length has been stretched by 15mm. The biggest change is underneath, where the wheelbase is 25mm longer to provide more legroom and enlarge door openings.
For the first time, WRX is available with the option of a CVT transmission – Subaru calls it Sports Lineartronic – with an eight-speed manual mode. There is also a six-speed manual. The CVT has three modes – I (Intelligent), S (Sport), and S# (Sport Sharp).
The new car is around 26kg heavier than the current WRX, mostly because of reinforcement to a bodyshell that is 40 per cent stiffer for improved handling.
The chassis has been extensively modified. Engineers say the new WRX provides a flatter ride with 20 per cent less body roll, thanks a 35 per cent improvement in the lateral stiffness of the suspension
Subaru engineers say they wanted improved handling rather than extra oomph so the WRX sedan could go faster through the twisty bits.
The hatchback WRX is no more, but there are suggestions that that the Levorg sports wagon concept, unveiled at the Tokyo show, will replace the WRX five-door. The Levorg show car had two turbocharged engine choices: a 1.6-litre, or a 220kW turbocharged 2.0-litre.
Ford Edge Concept
The name Edge is not new in North America, but here is the vehicle that will almost certainly replace the Territory SUV when Ford Australia closes its production plant in Melbourne in 2016. Gone too will be the Falcon range.
The Edge is slightly smaller overall than the Territory and will sit between the Kuga SUV and the bigger upcoming Everest, which is based on the Ranger light commercial.
Ford executives at the LA show confirmed that the upcoming Edge would move from being a North American-focused model to a global vehicle.
Ford Australia communications manager Neil McDonald wouldn’t comment on the Edge being the Territory replacement, but he said there was room in the company’s model portfolio for another SUV.
“The Edge is a concept that clearly demonstrates where we intend to go as we develop a new-generation model, however it’s too early to discuss timings,” McDonald told reporters.
Jaguar F-Type Coupe
The British marque might have unveiled the boosted V6 Coupe and F-Type R V8 at LA, but it is already talking about an even faster variant, the F-Type R-S.
It showed off the F-Type R to celebrities like TV talent show judge Simon Cowell at a lavish knees-up before the LA show opened.
Jaguar designer Ian Callum told guests that he would ultimately like to see an R-S, which would be developed by the specialist ETO ‘Engineered to Order’ division.
It is understood work is already underway on the R-S, using an uprated version of the F-Type R’s 5.0-litre supercharged V8, this time delivering 445kW.
Callum indicated that the pop-up rear spoiler in the F-Type Coupe had already been engineered to work at 325km/h.
Jaguar says the new coupe is an even better drive than the soft-top, thanks largely to the stiffer bodyshell. Its roof panel is available in either aluminium or panoramic glass form.
Porsche says its all-wheel-drive Macan will set new dynamic standards in the casino spiele world of medium SUVs, loftily claiming it as the “first sports car in the segment.”
The Macan will be built at the company’s factory in Leipzig, Germany, on a entirely new production line capable of 50,000 vehicles a year. Porsche has invested 500 million Euros in the plant.
Three Macan variants will be available from launch, two with petrol engines, one with a diesel. A seven-speed double-clutch transmission is standard.
The Macan S gets a 3.0-litre twin-turbo petrol V6 delivering 250kW between 5500 and 6500 rpm; the premium Macan Turbo uses a 3.6-litre petrol twin-turbo (a development of the 3.0-litre unit), good for 294kW at 6000rpm; and the turbocharged diesel Macan S comes with a 3.0-litre V6 delivering 190kW. Peak torque of 580Nm sits between 1750 and 2500 rpm.
Porsche claims town-and-around fuel use of 8.9 litres/100km for the Macan Turbo; roughly the same for the Macan S; and 6.1 litres/100km for the Macan diesel.
Expect all three in New Zealand next year. No word on price yet.
Concept GLA45 AMG
The appearance of the GLA45 from Mercedes-Benz moved Porsche bosses at the LA show to say “we will watch what the opposition do.”
They had been asked if they would build an even more powerful Macan, like Benz has done with the AMG version of the compact GLA crossover.
Mercedes-AMG chairman Tobias Moers had said: “With the Concept GLA 45 AMG, we are setting a stake firmly in the ground of the strongly growing market segment of compact SUVs.
“Our customers – a young target group who set great store by styling, dynamism and independence – can now start looking forward to a dynamic high-performance car. “
AMG has made what it claims is the most muscular four-cylinder production engine in the world.
The turbocharged 2.0-litre delivers around 270kW and 450Nm to all four wheels via a seven-speed transmission and the Benz’ 4MATIC system.
AMG claims a zero to 100km/h sprint time for the vehicle of under four seconds – the same as the V6 Macan Turbo.
Lexus RC Coupe:
This is one of the cars Lexus dealers have been wanting for some time. The other is the small LF-NX crossover.
They might have to wait for the crossover but the two-door RC – short for Radical Coupe – is set for launch in New Zealand late next year.
As usual, Lexus parent Toyota NZ won’t even confirm it is getting the RC. The four-seater is based on the rear-drive platform that underpins the IS and GS.
It is 4695mm long, 1840mm wide and 1395mm high. Wheelbase is 2730mm. Lexus has confirmed two models: the RC350 using a 234kW/380Nm 3.5-litre V6 and an eight-speed transmission; and the hybrid RC300h with a 131kW/221Nm 2.5-litre V6 paired with a 105kW electric motor.
The RC is expected to also pick up the 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol unit revealed at the Tokyo show in the LF-NX crossover, and, later, a 335kW 5.0-litre V8 in a flagship RC F.