The more hard-core Subaru Impreza fans will have to wait until tomorrow for their saving grace, when the 2011 Subaru WRX STI sedan makes a return to the market. But for those with lesser sporting ambitions (or just a smaller bank account balance) the new wide-body style WRX that arrived today is reward enough.
We can understand that the relationship between WRX and WRX STI has grown a little stronger in recent times, what with both models sharing the same bodywork. Of course, underneath that bodywork, the standard WRX has also had its track widened to STI specs, meaning its wheels have been pushed out 1.5 inches front and rear. To compensate, the WRX gets wider 17-inch tires and firmer suspension bushings to handle the extra load.
Purists may complain that the obvious extra weight and aerodynamic disadvantages would make the new WRX’s wider stance more show than go, but they’d be wrong. The drag coefficient has actually been reduced with the wider bodywork, Subaru says, and the extra 34 pounds it weighs is negligible with 265 horsepower available from the 2.5-liter boxer-four. And that’s not to mention the new WRX’s increased grip over the current model.
Still, the new 2011 WRX does beg the question, “Is the STI still worth the price premium?” Rest assured, wide bodywork alone does not an STI make. The pricier STI more than compensates for its price with its trick, switchable differential and meaty Brembos – “the ‘box and the brakes,” as one Subaru told us. It’s also those two things that, according to Subaru, allow the STI to go faster and longer on the track before tuckering out. Judging by our recent experience at a recent ice racing course hosted by the automaker, we’d agree.
Stay tuned to Automobile for all your live 2010 New York Auto Show updates from the show floor.