11/3/2015 Version 12.3 About the Author Jim Koscs is an automotive journalist and marketing/public relations writer for top brands, including Subaru. Kicking Asphalt & Taking Names By Jim Koscs 11/3/2015 Version 12.3 The WRX and WRX STI Raise Their Game - Again Buckle into the bolstered sport seat of a 2016 Subaru WRX or WRX STI. Grip its thick, flat-bottomed steering wheel. Start the ignition, hear the turbocharged SUBARU BOXER engine bark to life … and there it is, the sensation you remember as a kid when the safety bar clicked into place for your first ride on the roller coaster – the BIG one. Anticipating the impending thrills, you could barely control the grin taking over your face. In your head was just one thought: “This is going to be awesome.” Fasten Your Seatbelt It all comes back when you drive a WRX or WRX STI. You can’t help but smile whenever the rush of torque pushes you back into the seat. Through every curve, the tenacious grip of the Subaru Symmetrical AWD reminds you of the car’s rally roots. So let’s hear it for the Subaru engineers who’ve maintained a steady stream of performance developments over the years: Stiffer chassis for enhanced handling (WRX only) Front suspension aluminum-alloy front lower control arms (WRX only) Rear suspension pillow ball bushings Quick-ratio electric power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering (WRX only) All-new direct-injection 2.0-liter SUBARU BOXER engine with twin-scroll turbo (WRX only) New Active Torque Vectoring Brake Override System Get Ready for the Speed Run The 268-hp WRX, featuring the model’s 6-speed manual transmission, can bolt from 0 to 60 mph in just 5.5 seconds.1 An automatic transmission option also is offered in the form of a new Sport Lineartronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission). The CVT brings with it the Subaru Intelligent Drive (SI-DRIVE) to tailor powertrain response. The 8-speed manual mode features paddle shifters. It’s a different feel from the stick shift, to be sure, but one that offers its own rewards. With all that, no one would have given Subaru any grief for taking a break in 2016. But that’s not the Subaru style. If you waited a year to get a WRX or WRX STI, consider the 2016 upgrades your reward. In addition to their added amenities, the WRX Premium and Limited get a further handling boost with inverted struts for the front suspension and 18 x 8.5-inch alloy wheels with 245/40 R18 summer tires. Raising the Bar for Safety WRX Limited Steering Responsive Fog Lights help illuminate the turn as you steer into it. (Left) Blind Spot Detection (Right) In 2015, WRX was rated as its own model, no longer under the Impreza umbrella, and earned a TOP SAFETY PICK from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The 2016 WRX, with the inclusion of the Subaru EyeSight Driver Assist Technology,2 received a TOP SAFETY PICK+, the highest rating available from IIHS. EyeSight integrates Adaptive Cruise Control, Pre-Collision Braking, and Lane Departure and Sway Warning. Added on the WRX Limited is Lane Keep Assist, which uses the electric power steering to help keep the vehicle within its lane during highway driving. Sometimes you don’t see trouble coming. Now, there’s help from Blind Spot Detection, Lane Change Assist, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert,3 a package that’s standard on the WRX STI Limited and available for the WRX Limited. As a late-night TV infomercial announcer might say, “But wait, there’s more.” Go Big or Go Low In addition to its new STARLINK Connected Services, the WRX STI brings news of its own for 2016. Its big rear wing may be iconic, but it can draw more attention than some drivers like. If that’s you, get the new low-profile spoiler instead. No charge. Music to Your Ears The turbocharged SUBARU BOXER engine booming through quad tailpipes is its own kind of entertainment, but we still want our music. The new SUBARU STARLINK4 in-vehicle technology connects you with entertainment options, including SiriusXM Radio, Bluetooth audio streaming, and iPod connectivity (with iTunes tagging). Pairing your smartphone brings more choices, including Aha,5 Pandora, and iHeartRadio. Your tunes have found a perfect match with the Harman Kardon amplifier and speaker system (available on WRX Premium, WRX Limited, WRX STI, and WRX STI Limited). Access it all through the steering wheel controls or the available 7.0-inch touch-screen. The navigation screen provides the standard rear-vision camera display. And if you like your smartphone’s easy multi-touch gesture controls, then you’re already familiar with the interface of the navigation system standard on WRX STI Limited and available on WRX Premium, WRX Limited, and WRX STI. Plus, Subaru gives you three years of free map updates. Hands-free Bluetooth connectivity and calling allows you to keep your eyes on the road and available upgrades include voice-activated controls and displaying and reading of text messages. Plus, dual USB ports are also a welcome addition for your phone. True Blue Those who missed snagging a 2015 WRX STI Launch Edition can try for a 2016 Series.HyperBlue edition. It’s based on the standard WRX STI and, naturally, painted Hyper Blue. Black exterior trim, including BBS®6 alloy wheels, mirror caps, and black badges, adds a slightly sinister touch, while blue stitching on the seats and interior trim looks custom made. Goodies inherited from the WRX STI Limited include STARLINK in-vehicle technology with 7.0-inch touch- screen, Harman Kardon audio, Keyless Access with Push-Button Start, automatic headlights, and welcome lighting. RUNS IN THE FAMILY: THE BRZ SERIES.HYPERBLUE The Subaru BRZ is the ultimate choice for mastering autocross courses and twisty roads. Here’s one that turns heads as quickly as it carves corners: the 2016 BRZ Series.HyperBlue. It’s based on the BRZ Limited, with 6-speed manual transmission, and comes painted in Hyper Blue (of course). Black-finish wheels and black exterior trim, including mirror caps and name badges, give it the custom touch, while underbody aero panels rush the wind on its way. The exclusive styling continues inside, with a frameless rearview mirror, blue stitching, and the BRZ logo embroidered on the front seats. Just 500 will be available. It’s Hard to Improve on Perfection Subaru saw no need to tinker with the amazing hardware and tuning that make the WRX STI an everyday rally car. The race-proven 305-hp 2.5-liter turbocharged boxer with 6-speed stick can propel the WRX STI to a 0-60 time of just 4.6 seconds,7 and allows it to tear through corners at .97 g. Needless to say, please keep your hands and feet inside the ride at all times. The WRX STI is still the only Subaru to use Symmetrical AWD with Driver Controlled Center Differential (DCCD). Its manual locking mode lets you adjust the torque bias to the rear wheels. For budding rally drivers, that comes in handy on loose surfaces. Multi-Mode Vehicle Dynamics Control and SI-DRIVE put yet more performance fine-tuning control at your fingertips. Ultra-quick steering (2.5 turns lock-to-lock), 18-inch wheels, and a Brembo performance brake system with Super Sport ABS make the WRX STI track-ready, though it still remains commuter friendly. If all that sounds like a spec sheet for a semi-exotic sports car, then the Alcantara seating surfaces – a staple among such machines – are a perfect fit for the WRX STI. The 2016 WRX and WRX STI have arrived. Get ready to strap in: This is going to be fun. 1 Based on Motor Trend testing of 2015 WRX with manual transmission. December 2014. 2 EyeSight is a Driver Assist Technology which may not operate optimally under all driving conditions. The driver is always responsible for safe and attentive driving. Technology effectiveness depends on many factors such as vehicle maintenance, weather and road conditions. See Owner’s Manual for complete details on system operation and limitations. Please remember to turn off EyeSight when going through a car wash. 3 Blind Spot Detection, Lane Change Assist and Rear Cross Traffic Alert are systems designed to assist the driver by monitoring the rear and side areas of the vehicle during a lane change or reversing and are not a substitute for safe and attentive driving. 4 Compatible smartphone and application required. For applications to operate, latest version of each application and optional integrated audio and navigation system unit required. Data provided by smartphone is displayed on navigation screen. Some state laws prohibit the operation of handheld electronic devices while operating a vehicle. Smartphone apps should only be launched when vehicle is safely parked. Your wireless carrier’s rates may apply. 5 Compatible smartphone and free Aha app required. For Aha to operate, latest version of Aha application and optional integrated audio and navigation system unit required. Data provided by smartphone is displayed on navigation screen. Your wireless carrier’s rates may apply. Use of the app may be restricted by applicable law.