Subaru is developing new WRX, WRX STI and BRZ models in sports car offensive
Subaru’s future production schedule has been leaked on an online forum, revealing a plan to repopulate its range with new versions of all three of its performance car icons.
The leaked schedule was posted on the GR86.org forum, adding substance to rumours of Subaru’s reboot of the iconic WRX and WRX STI models, as well as confirming a new generation of BRZ coupe, once again co-developed with Toyota who will launch its version as the GR86.
First to arrive will be a new BRZ two-door coupe, which as before will be twinned with Toyota’s new GR86. Sharing a compact coupe body and rear-wheel drive powertrain, with the majority of its components supplied by Subaru, according to the schedule the BRZ is due to commence production in the spring of 2021, timing supported by the first circulation of body-on prototypes that have been spotted on the road.
Later in 2021 will see the arrival of an all-new WRX, which like the current model will be a standalone derivative rather than be part of the Impreza range, with a bespoke body and unique powertrain. The compact three-box saloon shape, with wider wheel arches and turbocharged flat-four engine and four-wheel drive transmission will once again define the new WRX.
Twelve months later Subaru will launch its next WRX STI. As before, the STI will share much with the standard WRX model, but the bigger unknown is the powertrain that will be used. Rumors persist of hybrid integration, essential if the model is to be sold globally, and power figures approaching 300kW to match AMG’s A45, but this still remains speculative.
The specific powertrains all of three new Subaru models will utilise continues to be a source of quite intense speculation. Rumors persist that the BRZ (and GR86) will use a turbocharged flat-four engine in contrast to the atmospheric flat-four of the previous generation model, giving the BRZ a considerable performance boost. Should this be the case it will also give its GR86 twin a level of performance similar to the more expensive two-seater four-cylinder Supra, which could result in a product crossover that’s difficult to justify when sports car volumes are as low as they are.
The WRX and WRX STI’s application of a turbocharged engine is more certain, with both models rumoured to utilise a version of Subaru’s 2.4-litre flat-four turbo found in the Ascent SUV sold in North American markets. This will be paired to a typical all-wheel drive system.
Both models will also continue to share their basic body architecture with the Levorg wagon, albeit in a more traditional three-box saloon shape. The previous generation Levorg and WRX shared a majority of their chassis components, interior and design elements, and given we’ve already seen the next-generation Levorg in a near-production form, we have a fairly good idea of what the next WRX will look like.
An unfortunate certainty is that Subaru’s shrunken presence in here could well be the biggest hurdle these models face in being available to Australian customers.