WRX count­down

Big Ap­ple show car gives the faith­ful some­thing to chew on

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Cover Story - PAUL GOVER CHIEF RE­PORTER paul.gover@cars­guide.com.au

FULL-SCALE prepa­ra­tions are un­der way for the Subaru hero that will drive the brand for­ward to 2020 in Aus­tralia. Just don’t ask about the price.

The all-new WRX prom­ises ev­ery­thing from greater punch to bet­ter econ­omy and qual­ity, all wrapped in a body that is cre­at­ing head­lines fol­low­ing its un­veil­ing at the New York mo­tor show.

The first cars will be de­liv­ered by June next year. Com­pany boss Nick Se­nior tells Cars­guide the Aus­tralian re­ac­tion has been big.

‘‘ There are blogs and fo­rums, but peo­ple are still go­ing to wait to see the fi­nal car,’’ he says. ‘‘ We don’t get in­volved with pre-or­ders but there is a lot of in­ter­est.’’

Se­nior says the Big Ap­ple show car is al­most iden­ti­cal to the pro­duc­tion car but the four-door is ex­pected to gain head­room at the ex­pense of the coupe-style roofline.

‘‘ The ex­cite­ment and the el­e­ments of de­sign are all there. There are some ob­vi­ous things that will be miss­ing, like the (con­cept’s) small mir­rors and car­bon-fi­bre roof, but the fac­tory has al­ways pro­duced a sporty re­place­ment for the ex­ist­ing model,’’ Se­nior says.

The fourth-gen­er­a­tion WRX’s pric­etag needs to fall be­low $40,000 but Se­nior says:

‘‘ There is still a long time to go be­fore we even get to spec­i­fi­ca­tions and pric­ing.’’

Among the WRX de­vel­op­ments may be down­sized turbo en­gines, the end of the two-door— and even wagon ver­sions of what will be a unique body, not shared with the Im­preza. Se­nior has his own wish-list. ‘‘ From a per­for­mance point of view, it’s still got to be true to the core (yet) broaden the ap­peal,’’ he says. ‘‘ We’d like to see changes to the in­te­rior, par­tic­u­larly for the STI.’’

Se­nior says the new WRX has plenty of show­room po­ten­tial and will be a cor­ner­stone for a range that runs from the BRZ sports car to the Forester.

‘‘ We are see­ing a bit of a re­nais­sance in sporty and per­for­mance cars,’’ he says.

‘‘ That’s the di­rec­tion I very much want them to take. We have a unique op­por­tu­nity and unique po­si­tion in Aus­tralia.

‘‘ The SUV cat­e­gory is grow­ing stronger and the sports cat­e­gories are also grow­ing stronger. We see that in­creas­ing in the next 5-10 years. We’d like to have those sporty models avail­able.’’

And what about a vari­ant with a 1.6-litre hy­brid drive package? ‘‘ Def­i­nitely not.’’

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