By on November 21, 2013


Though most of the information on the new 2015 Subaru WRX was leaked in advance of the Los Angeles Auto Show, they still had to give the new car a public introduction. Now that the car’s been introduced, we have more than just a couple of teaser photos and a few more details on the car.

With a half liter less displacement than the outgoing WRX, the new car’s 2.0 liter turbo four puts out 268 hp, 3 fewer ponies than the outgoing Rex’s 271, with torque up by 14 lb-ft to 258. The biggest news is probably behind that engine, with the gearbox options. The WRX now has a six-speed manual instead of a having only five rations from which to choose and the new gearbox has carbon fiber syncros on the first two gears  to allow quicker shifts and better durability. For those who can’t drive a stick shift, Subaru is moving from a conventional automatic transmission to a continuously variable transmission, which is already being perceived as an odd choice for a sporting automobile. The CVT has three different modes, and paddle shifters which allow the driver to switch between 6 or 8 pre-set gear ratios. Though that actually decreases the CVT’s fabled fuel efficiency, it does give those belt drives something of a sporty feeling. it will be interesting to see if Subaru offers the CVT in the more hardcore STi that will follow the WRX.

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32 Comments on “Los Angeles 2013: 2015 Subaru WRX, A Rex With A CVT?...”

  • avatar

    “puts out 268 hp, 3 more ponies than the outgoing Rex’s 271”

    Holy Math Camp, Batman!

  • avatar

    Why not? Isn’t the Forester XT or turbo or whatever it’s called a CVT as well? I figure if someone is getting a WRX without a manual, they’ve thrown the “IDGAF” to the wind. It would be better to have a DCT or even conventional auto, though. Then again, CVT would keep it in boost.

  • avatar

    Each new generation of the WRX becomes less and less special, and more and more similar to the regular Impreza.

    Might as well be STI or nothing. But at STI price, I’d rather have something nice.

    • 0 avatar

      I disagree. From the introduction of the WRX around 2001 up until the new model of 2008, the Impreza’s all had the same boxed-fender look. Now look at the regular Impreza sedan against the new WRX, and the flares are vastly different. The same can be said for the later models of the last generation (though the 2008’s were pretty stodgy, hence they pumped up the WRX a year or two later).

      • 0 avatar

        I shall have to check some pics.

        • 0 avatar

          I can tell you that looking at pics myself, the 2011 WRX was the one that pumped up the fenders for the last gen, though the 2009 did change the grille to look less like a Kia Spectra5 like the ’08 did. Other than that the fenders were just plain, round, boring things like all the other Impreza’s until the ’11 Rex as mentioned already. The STi of ’08+ was alone in bulging fenders until that point.

          The Lancer has the same thing– Evo has the fender flares (the Evo VIII and IX even had a “boxed fender” look a la 1980’s), but the normal models were just slabs of bleh– sorta like all the other compact/sport-compact cars out now.

          I miss the days when the performance models had more noticeable oomph around the wheels… the E30 3-Series versus the E30 M3, for example. That “wide-body” just did something to the cars. After the E30 they just flared them out just a little bit (if at all) and called it a day. Pretty boring, if you ask me.

    • 0 avatar

      I was disappointed by how far away its looks are from the beastly concept, but after reading some more in-depth coverage of the changes I’m a little more excited about it.

      Chassis changes seem substantial, and there’s mention of launch control and torque vectoring. The bad ass (for the money) 0-60 times the buff books publish for these are usually with 4000rpm clutch dumps that owners won’t do (often) for fear of breaking something. I’m still holding out hope that this ends up being a suitably nice poor man’s S4.

  • avatar

    It’s the high torque CVT developed for the Forester XT and I’m sure with the WRX in mind as well. The high torque CVT in the aforementioned Forester is a vast improvement over the 4EAT that was previously available. If you know what you’re doing, you can use the flappy paddles to set up weight transfer to the front wheels if you’re inclined to play rally driver in your CUV.

    I don’t think the CVT is a perfect fit for the WRX in terms of having an automatic alternative for people who can’t, or wish not to row their own, but simply put, there was no other alternative for an auto gearbox, other than Subaru’s antiquated 4EAT. There are no off the shelf DCTs that would pair up with Subaru’s unique drivetrain layout, and the economy of scale for building their own DCT wouldn’t have made sense from a business perspective.

    The addition of a CVT might be puzzling to some, but the lack of a hatchback/wagon option for this new WRX has left nearly everybody completely baffled.

    • 0 avatar

      I wanted the hatch, but here’s some info from another article over at C&D…

      “It was a Hobson’s choice for Subaru’s product planners. They wanted a WRX that was less like the Impreza, but that drove up the costs in new sheetmetal and other retooling. So they were told they could proceed to work on a sedan or a hatchback, but not both. The American market, which last year took 79 percent of WRX production, voted for the sedan and Subaru made a business decision based on the belief that the four-door offers greater sales potential amongst its hatchback-hating car buyers. We don’t know how the second-largest market, Australia, voted, or the third largest, Canada, but it doesn’t matter. The sedan got the nod and the five-door WRX goes off to hatchback heaven.”

      • 0 avatar

        Makes sense from a business perspective I guess.

        I have to say however, that my previous WRX wagon had a fantastic balance of performance and utility, especially given its reasonably low cost of ownership.

        What’s most interesting about that article is that they stated they wanted a “WRX that was less like the Impreza,” but the new WRX still very much looks like the Impreza it’s based on. Not that I have a problem with the looks of the new Impreza/WRX, because nobody in all of history has bought a Subaru of any variety for its aesthetic appeal.

        • 0 avatar

          That’s exactly what I thought when reading it. If they wanted to differentiate it from the Impreza, and were going to take a big enough hit in cost to do so that it would mean the death of either the hatch or the sedan, why not go whole hog and give it truly unique (and attractive) styling? I didn’t really have faith that we’d see that blue concept come to life, but at least make it look different enough that your fan base understands that offering both versions would be prohibitively expensive. Just from looking at the pics of the actual car that is far from obvious.

      • 0 avatar

        I have a 09 hatch and was interested in replacing it next year with a new 2015 hatch. I hope they offer a hatch/wagon w the new STI, otherwise they are probably going to lose me as a customer :(

  • avatar

    The 2.5L WRX was 265hp. Supposedly the CVT gets about the same mileage as the old WRX, which doesn’t make any sense at all. I’m thinking someone made a typo and the combined CVT mileage was 25 rather than the highway mileage.

    Subaru does have a 5AT. The WRX now has a new setup where the clutch and diff swapped places to get the engine further rearward, so that probably prevented them from using the 5AT from 3.6R and 2.5GT Legacys.

  • avatar

    “instead of a having only five rations from which to choose”

    Those sound like some pretty meager rations to be “a having.”

    • 0 avatar
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  • avatar

    Looks okay. I’d probably like it more if I hadn’t seen the concept a year ago. Now it’s just a letdown.

  • avatar

    Will there be a Vegan Lesbian edition, by chance?

  • avatar

    Rather tepid for a WRX.

  • avatar

    Okay, so the WRX now has its own chassis, and it’s got a 6-speed MT. If that is (hopefully) an improvement over the previous supposedly “okay” 5-speed MT, I’d say Subaru improved the 2 things most in need of improving. And it might even get better gas mileage to boot. Unless you’re getting an auto, who cares about the CVT? And while the styling isn’t the concept (when is it?), at least they de-uglified the car from the previous generation. No complaints here so far.

    • 0 avatar

      “Unless you’re getting an auto, who cares about the CVT?”

      Exactly. As long as there’s a manual available, anyone who really cares about the finer details of how the transmission operates will buy that. The others will just want the transmission to be smooth, reliable, and efficient.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I don’t think a CVT could be any worse than the 4-speed autos that they used to stick in the WRX relabeled as a 2.5GT.
    In fact, I think I’d much rather have the CVT made to choose between the two.
    Though, as a 2007 BP Legacy owner (yes, it’s an auto) there is now officially only 1 car Subaru makes that I am even remotely interested in.

  • avatar

    I’ve read that the interior materials represent an improvement compared to the previous WRX, but in the pics the interior still looks cheap for a car that will start around $26k.

    I think the sheet metal looks good, though mostly conservative. Agreed with others in being shocked that Subaru was willing to eat the cost of separating the WRX from the Impreza, yet this is what they came up with to justify it. I hope that decision had mechanical packaging advantages or something.

  • avatar

    Looks kinda Corolla-ish. The power would be awesome, but the look is meh, at best.

  • avatar

    Typical Subaru fare, I like it. Not sure how the new 2L motor will be accepted by the aftermarket, but by the look of the old 2.5L, I’m guessing you’ll be able to buy everything aftermarket but the block halves.

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