Subaru has announced that the 2011 Subaru Impreza WRX (pictured) will gain the ultra-macho looks of the Subaru Impreza WRX STi, adopting the wide-body kit that has proven so popular amongst the young demographic the vehicle is targeted at.
In the past, neither the five-door hatchback nor the four-door sedan editions of the Subaru Impreza WRX were able to benefit from the same rally-inspired aero package as the STI. Instead, these cars featured a much milder take on the all-wheel drive performance concept that had gained Subaru legions of fans. Recognizing that there was a market for those interested in having the look of the STI without having to pay the additional premium for its blistering performance, Subaru decided to extend the aggressive styling of the top model across the entire lineup.
Fans of the brand will be able to immediately spot the design differences that the 2011 Subaru Impreza WRX brings to the table. Low, wide and mean, the updated Impreza WRX sports serious fender flares front and rear, with large brake ducts carved out of the front bumper in order to feed cool air to the vehicle's pads and rotors. The overall effect increases the visual width of the Subaru Impreza WRX to the degree that it gains almost muscle car-like proportions when viewed from certain angles. A lip spoiler and a new grille round out the improvements that have been made to the front of the car, while out back the rear fenders have been stretched out to meet flush with the taillights and complete the package.
The wider body is accompanied by a mechanically wider track underneath the vehicle's skin. The chassis and suspension have been massaged to offer a 1.5 inch track increase for both front and rear wheels, and along with wider wheels and tires these changes allow the 2011 Subaru Impreza WRX to boast a handling advantage over the outgoing model. Mechanically, the Impreza WRX maintains a high standard thanks to the continued inclusion of a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine that puts out 265 horsepower and 244 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed manual transmission sends that impressive output to all four wheels through Subaru's symmetrical all-wheel drive system, which provides 50:50 torque distribution and phenomenal grip across all manner of different surfaces. Vehicle dynamics control (Subaru's version of electronic stability control) is also along for the ride as standard equipment.
Subaru's continued upgrading of the standard Impreza WRX does not seem to have eaten into sales of the STI model. This latest change is also unlikely to make a dent in the decision making process of those who have their hearts set on the highest performing trim level of the Impreza WRX, but the dramatically improved looks of the base WRX should definitely bring fresh blood into Subaru showrooms. Given that the Subaru Impreza WRX STI is set to gain a sedan version for the first time in several years - also based on this new look platform - Subaru would appear to be headed in the right direction with their rally-oriented, high performance models.