Subaru NZ will launch a performance double whammy next year by unveiling the fifth-generation WRX sedan and its go-faster STi sidekick within months of each other.
The all-new WRX will go on sale here in March and the STi in June/July. The appearance of the STi so soon after the WRX is in contrast to previous years when the arrival of the two was split by up to a year.
The back-to-back launch means Subaru NZ will start the second half of 2014 with its latest Impreza-based performance models.
It has just released the last of the current fourth-generation WRX variants – a limited-edition called the N1WRC (Colin McCrae’s number plate on his World Rally Championship car in 1996) at $54,990, and Version X, a swept-up example, at $49,990.
The new WRX is expected to be a toned-down version of the concept unveiled at the New York motor show last April.Missing from the production car will be the concept’s lightweight carbon-fibre roof, a showpiece used to emphasise Subaru’s intention to keep the centre of gravity in the new WRX as low as possible, a la the BRZ.
Expect the WRX and STi to be powered by revised versions of the turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder Forester engine, an intercooled, direction-injection unit which meets United States emission standards
It will drive all four wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox or a CVT with paddle-shifters on the steering wheel.
No word on a likely price for the WRX and STi, but Subaru executives in North America and Australia have hinted that both models will cost more than the current line-up.
The WRX first appeared in New Zealand in 1994, using a boosted 2.0-litre boxer engine delivering 148kW, around 48kW less than current models. Various iterations over the years included the range-topping 22B of the late 1990s.