Car & Driver has blasted through 40K miles of review testing of the 2015 Subaru WRX. I’ve yet to read the review (I just woke up but will be reading through the review today while waking up to coffee). I’ll update the post with my thoughts afterward.
This review just might help me better decide my next car purchase, as I’ve considered whether the 2015-2016 WRX would be a good choice of upgrade for me (considering that I’m coming from a 2011 STI sedan).
I want to highlight some of the article’s comments (the ones that jumped out at me). I’ll add my thoughts on some of them, but some of the comments might not need any comments from me —
…the WRX offers lively steering, confident grip, and a flat ride that rounds off the jolt on sharp impacts just so.
This is great, as most people think that the WRX’s handling would be watered-down compared to the STI. Remember, I’m comparing this car to my current ride.
By passing on the Limited trim, we missed out on a power driver’s seat, leather-trimmed upholstery, LED headlights, proximity entry, and push-button ignition.
This is interesting. I hadn’t thought on which trim level I might desire. My current car is a base model but offers enough options in base trim to make me happy. I might desire the LED headlights, proximity entry, and push-button ignition, though.
PRICE AS TESTED: $31,290 (base price: $29,290)
That’s a pretty hefty price for a WRX. I paid $34K for my STI and I can get a base 2015 STI for around the same price as I purchased mine. The question is, is a 2015 WRX actually worth $29K? Do WRXs have the same value retainment as STIs?
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed manual
This is good. I also wanted to highlight that because Subaru also offers a CVT option for WRXs (not that I care for it…I just wanted to note that that’s not the version of transmission I care for).
Zero to 60 mph: 5.0 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 13.4 sec
Zero to 130 mph: 26.5 sec
Rolling start, 5-60 mph: 6.4 sec
Top gear, 30-50 mph: 11.1 sec
Top gear, 50-70 mph: 7.8 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 13.7 sec @ 101 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 144 mph
Braking, 70-0 mph: 157 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.91g
That’s strong performance and is very close to pre-2015 STI stats. That’s not saying that 2015 WRXs will offer the same track experience or road feel as pre-2015 STIs, though.
With the 1000-mile break-in cleared, we spun the engine to the 6700-rpm redline and dropped the left pedal with only a whisper of clutch slip. Then we did it a dozen more times looking for the quickest acceleration time. We used this technique—combined with short-shifting into second gear at 5300 rpm—to great effect during an earlier WRX road test, recording a 4.8-second zero-to-60 time. Yet in more than a dozen attempts, our long-termer couldn’t quite match that feat. Instead it peaked at 5.0 seconds in the run to 60 mph and 13.7 seconds through the quarter mile with a trap speed of 101 mph. Not too shabby for a $30,000 four-door, eh? The chassis numbers were equally impressive with our WRX stopping from 70 mph in 157 feet and rounding the skidpad at 0.91 g.
The above is interesting. I remember the ruckus that C&D generated in their testing procedures. Not everyone is going to be willing to flog their car off the line at redline. Mags don’t own the cars they test…they return them after testing. And if an owner takes their car in for an issue and it is found that the cause of the issue was due to them launching the car in such a manner, the warranty claim will be denied due to abusive driving. Another interesting tidbit: the long termer couldn’t match the 4.8-sec 0-60 time…that’s certainly understandable, though, since atmospheric and road conditions may have been different (along with a different driver).
Drivers have called out the excellent electric power steering (which was first perfected on the BRZ) and a more polished cockpit. You won’t mistake the interior for a Volkswagen’s, but our staff has noticed better fits, improved finishes, and a quieter ride than in previous WRXs.
I wish everyone would be as generous in making such comments. Most people expect every GTI competitor to have a similar interior as the GTI. That’s not going to happen. Besides, it is better to compare the new WRX to the old to highlight changes in the model-year…that’s the best way to measure progress, IMO. VW’s interior is the exception, not the norm, obviously.
While the output of the turbocharged 2.0-liter flat-four—268 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque—is nothing to scoff at, power delivery is lumpy and peaky. We shift early in first gear for our testing because the power falls off above 5300 rpm. Lower in the rev range there’s a sudden surge of boost indicative of turbo lag. In an age when turbocharged engines are practically mainstream and their power curves have been smoothed out, this Subaru flat-four still drives like an R&D experiment from the early 1990s.
Hrmmm…that’s not a particularly good note. I wonder if Cobb has smoothed this out (the lag and lumpiness that C&D claims is prevalent). I’m not sure how this car can produce turbo lag, with it’s lag-lessening equipment such as the twin scroll turbocharger, which ensures the turbocharger begins to work low in the rev range (the car produces 258 lb-ft of torque at 2000 RPM). But every WRX enthusiast knows that this particular engine is not a revver, which is why Subaru nuts usually shift earlier than 6K RPM. USDM boxer engines are not particularly rev-happy. The article only mentions the 1st-2nd gear shift, though…which makes me wonder if the ECU is limiting power in 1st gear (either on it’s own or due to purposeful mapping). In fact, I think that the map might well be the cause, as someone else in the article’s comments mentioned “boost threshold”. That’s not the first time I’ve heard someone mention that Subaru purposely limits the WRX so that it won’t overshadow it’s halo car, the STI. So that lumpiness and lag are more than likely purposely implemented. That still doesn’t explain the mention of the 1st gear limitation…is it just first gear, or is it gear-agnostic?