If you’ve got Ksh 4,000,000 to spend on a practical sports car, the 2016 Subaru WRX seems to have a lot going for it. Four doors, five seats, a turbocharged engine and all-wheel drive. But just how good is it and how well can it handle a day on track? Sounds like the perfect reason to review this beast.
Starting at Ksh 3,800,990 (before on-road costs), the Dark Grey entry-level six-speed manual Subaru WRX reviewed here undercuts its STI equivalent by more than Ksh1,000,000.
Features and Accessories
The all-new fourth-generation WRX doesn’t get the STI’s Brembo brakes, centre differential control or borderline rally-spec rear wing, but it does come standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, a boot-lip spoiler and a brand-new engine.
Unfortunately, we can’t all own an Audi, Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren or Porsche, though, so The Subaru WRX gives us a pinch of what real motor racing is.
Engine and Performance
That’s right. Although the ‘new’ STI makes do with the same 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine carried over from the previous model, under the latest WRX’s mandatory bonnet scoop is an all-new direct-injection 2.0-litre ‘boxer’.
Producing 197kW of power at 5600rpm and 350Nm of torque between 2400-5200rpm – up 2kW and 7Nm from the third-gen WRX’s 2.5-litre unit – the new engine helps the all-paw WRX claim 0-100km/h in 6.0 seconds.
Actually 0.7s slower to triple figures than the old five-speed manual WRX, the new ‘Rex’ is still brisk enough off the line to better the more expensive Volkswagen Golf GTI and identically priced Ford Focus ST – both front-wheel drives.
As tested, the transmission doesn’t love to be ‘rushed’ through shifts, however, overall, the combination makes heel-and-toe shifting a breeze.
Steering is on the lighter side for a sports car, but the electrically-assisted system in the WRX is consistent in its weighting and responsive to inputs.
Standard brakes aside, for the 2016 Subaru WRX to offer the sort of performance and fun it does, for the price, is impressive. But to offer the level of outright ability it does, for the same money, really is quite remarkable.
And when you consider that it’s nearest genuine four- or all-wheel-drive rivals – such as the Audi S1 and Volkswagen Golf R – are priced above its STI sibling, the all-new Subaru WRX certainly has value on its side too.