2011 Subaru Impreza WRX – Lots of Punch in a Wider Package

Subaru Motor Company has given its 2011 Impreza WRX new body styling, a tighter subframe, quad exhaust outlets and wider wheels and rubber.

Sedan and hatchback variants of the WRX will be available with flared fenders to accommodate the new tires which are a full one inch wider than their 2010 model-year counterparts.

From a performance standpoint, the new WRX has changed little from the current model. Handling is responsive but not quite on the level with the 2011 STI whose ride has benefitted from a chassis upgrade. The WRX’s wider stance and tires should also deliver improved skidpad grip than the current model.

Subaru has given the new WRX more than ample power from its 265 hp, 2.5-liter turbocharged four cylinder engine. The engine delivers the same horsepower and 244 pounds-feet of torque as the current model. The 2009 and 2010 WRXs beat the STI in acceleration from 0-60 and the 2011 model is expected to retain the advantage since most of both vehicles equipment has remained largely unchanged.

While the STI, with its close-ratio six-speed transmission, requires two upshifts to reach 60, the WRX with its five-speed manual gearbox can get there in a single shift.

In a recent comparison of the two vehicles, Car and Driver reported reaching 60 mph in 4.7 seconds in the new WRX while the STI clocked in at five seconds flat.

Aside from its stable mate, the STI, the WRX will compete directly with the Mitsubishi Lancer. With base models starting at $26,220, the WRX sedan and hatchback models are faster and less expensive than the STI and Lancer. High-end models are priced at $28,720 and offer heated driver and front passenger seats and sideview mirrors, fog lights, a windshield wiper heating element and a power sunroof. The sedan version also comes with a trunk-mounted spoiler. The top-of-the-line Limited model is price $1,000 higher at $29,720 and comes with leather-trimmed seats and HID headlights. Premium and Limited models offer the option of a touchscreen navigation unit with RCA inputs. All models come with Bluetooth and MP3/USB connectivity standard.

Although most of the upgrades to the 2011 WRX are only superficial, its wider stance and lower price will no doubt make it appealing to a broader audience.

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