Wings and round­abouts

Here’s a sneak peek at the new Rex — or maybe not

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Gotcha - PAUL GOVER CHIEF RE­PORTER paul.gover@cars­

THIS is the all-new Subaru WRX. Or is it?

This heav­ily dis­guised Subaru pro­to­type has been spot­ted lapping the Nur­bur­gring in Ger­many and has raised far more ques­tions than it an­swers.

It’s def­i­nitely more clunky look­ing than the edgy WRX con­cept car un­veiled re­cently at the New York auto show, and the mish­mash of body bits— and even an STI rear wing— raise some doubts about its re­la­tion­ship to the fi­nal WRX pro­duc­tion car that will be ready for the road later this year.

It’s also hard to bal­ance Subaru’s claims that the new WRX moves away from a body shared with the four-door Impreza against the sedan-like look of the test car.

But Subaru Aus­tralia is plan­ning for the ar­rival of the new WRX and com­pany boss, Nick Se­nior, makes one prom­ise.

‘‘ The crit­i­cal com­po­nent of the WRX— and it has been since day one— is that it pro­vides an ex­hil­a­rat­ing drive. That was and al­ways has been in the brief and we’ve never failed to de­liver on that,’’ he says af­ter see­ing the WRX pro­duc­tion car at Fuji Heavy In­dus­tries in Ja­pan.

Se­nior is guarded on the look of the up­com­ing hero, and the car lapping the Nur­bur­gring.

‘‘ FHI’s in­ten­tion has al­ways been to dif­fer­en­ti­ate new­gen­er­a­tion WRX from Impreza, and the new­gen­er­a­tion car will re­flect that in­ten­tion,’’ he says. ‘‘ As with any new in­ter­pre­ta­tion of an iconic prod­uct, it must con­tinue to ap­peal to those that con­trib­uted to the suc­cess. For us, that means a ve­hi­cle that will con­tinue to res­onate with the more than 25,000 pas­sion­ate and en­thu­si­as­tic cus­tomers. Our core.’’

The Carparazzi crew that caught the Subaru in Ger­many is strong on their in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the new look.

‘‘ The styling of the car isn’t as dra­matic as what we saw on the New York con­cept, al­though there are clear sim­i­lar­i­ties be­tween the two, par­tic­u­larly in re­gards to the lights and ele­ments such as the fender vents, grille and the afore­men­tioned dif­fuser. If you squint a lit­tle there’s even a re­sem­blance to the leg­endary WRX mod­els of the 1990s,’’ Carparazzi says.

‘‘ Sadly, the pro­duc­tion ver­sion gets a con­ven­tional sedan body with a taller roof and nar­rower fend­ers than that found on the con­cept, and its side mir­rors are mounted to the doors in­stead of on the A-pil­lar. Fi­nally, the lower air in­takes are also much smaller than those on the con­cept.’’

But there is some hope for WRX trag­ics.

‘‘ Look a lit­tle closer and there are some ele­ments that sug­gest this may be a pro­to­type for the even more ex­treme STI ver­sion of the new 2014 WRX.

‘‘ The most ob­vi­ous sign is the gi­ant rear wing, which shares a de­sign with wings found on past WRXSTI mod­els in­clud­ing the cur­rent 2013 one. There’s also a slightly toned-down ver­sion of the ag­gres­sive rear dif­fuser we saw on the WRX con­cept as well as wheels that al­most com­pletely fill out their arches.’’

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