With its 268-hp, 2.0-liter direct-injection turbocharged BOXER engine, Symmetrical All Wheel Drive and Active Torque Vectoring, the rally-bred WRX is a performance and value benchmark in the high-performance AWD sport-compact segment. The WRX comes standard with a 6-speed manual transmission and offers an optional performance automatic, the Sport Lineartronic® CVT (continuously variable transmission) with manual mode.
A restyled front fascia projects a sportier attitude for the 2018 WRX, highlighted by a larger, lower grille opening. The WRX Limited features redesigned LED Steering Responsive Headlights that helps illuminate curves in nighttime driving. For greater versatility, all WRX trim levels now feature new roof rack mounting brackets. In addition to all the doors and trunk monitored by standard security system, the hood is now monitored to help improve anti-theft security. The security system’s alarm is triggered if the hood has been opened illegally. The 2018 base model adds standard heated exterior mirrors, which were already standard on the other trims. Keyless Access with Push-Button Start and PIN Code Access is standard on WRX Limited.
The 2018 WRX features new front and rear suspension tuning for improved steering stability and ride comfort, while retaining the car’s high cornering performance capability. Subaru significantly enhanced shifter feel for the 6-speed manual transmission, with a new synchro design and reduced friction, along with smoother clutch take-up. The WRX electric power steering (EPS) was revised to provide an even smoother, more natural feel, while integrating the steering motor and electronic control unit reduces weight.
A new optional Performance Package for the WRX Premium features Recaro® front seats with 8-way power driver’s seat; red-painted brake calipers and upgraded JURID® brake pads; and moonroof delete for weight reduction.
Improved Usability with a Sporting Edge The everyday usability that has contributed to WRX’s popularity gets even better for 2018. All trim levels feature upgraded interior materials, rear seat armrest with cup holders, redesigned interior door grips and faster remote trunk opening. New measures that reduce unwanted noise include thicker door glass, revised door sealing and a foam-filled windshield header beam.
In the WRX cabin, a new, larger high-definition multi-function display (5.9-in. vs. 4.3-in. before) makes it easier to see vehicle functions at a glance. The WRX Limited model features a 10-way power driver’s seat with lumbar adjustment. For 2018, the WRX Premium upgrades to a SUBARU STARLINK™ 7.0” Multimedia from the previous STARLINK 6.2” unit.
Enhanced Safety for 2018 Subaru revised the front structure of the WRX for enhanced frontal collision performance. The WRX Limited, when equipped with EyeSight® Driver Assist Technology, now features Auto Vehicle Hold (AVH) and a new EyeSight Assist Monitor (EAM). The EAM uses LED indicators to display EyeSight status and alerts on the windshield, allowing the driver to see them without diverting eyes from the road ahead. The AVH feature replaces the Hill Holder and Hill Start Assist functions and offers greater functionality, holding the vehicle on all road grades, not only inclines. For example, AVH can help reduce driver fatigue by holding the car at traffic lights, and then can seamlessly transition to acceleration.
EyeSight Driver Assist Technology, one of the highest-rated front crash prevention systems by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS), integrates Adaptive Cruise Control, Pre-Collision Braking, and Lane Departure and Sway Warning. The system uses Subaru-developed stereo camera technology. WRX Limited with EyeSight includes Reverse Automatic Braking, which helps the driver avoid a possible collision when the vehicle is moving in reverse at a low speed. The system uses four ultrasonic sonar sensors located in the rear bumper cover to detect a possible hazard and automatically stop the vehicle if the driver does not respond. Blind Spot Detection / Rear Cross Traffic Alert is also available for the 2018 WRX Limited.
Rally Bred Performance The WRX 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder BOXER engine uses a combination of direct fuel injection, high compression (10.6:1), Subaru Dual Active Valve Control System (DAVCS), a twin-scroll turbocharger and an intercooler. The engine produces 268 hp at 5,600 rpm, accompanied by a broad torque curve that peaks at 258 lb-ft over a 2,000-5,200 rpm engine speed range. The quad exhaust tailpipe tips emit a deep, powerful sound.
The 2018 WRX offers the option of the Sport Lineartronic CVT, engineered to enrich the performance-driving experience. Models so equipped also feature Subaru Intelligent Drive (SI-DRIVE), a powertrain performance management system that allows the driver to tailor the vehicle’s driving characteristics by choosing from among three modes – Intelligent, Sport and Sport Sharp – using a switch on the steering wheel.
The Sport Lineartronic CVT delivers an ultra-smooth driving character with the choice of stepped automatic shifting 8 pre-selected ratios (when in Sport Sharp mode) and also 6-speed and 8-speed manual shifting modes using steering wheel paddle switches. With Intelligent mode selected, SI-DRIVE provides a more relaxed throttle response curve, making it useful for commuting in traffic, for example.
Switching SI-DRIVE into Sport mode provides quick throttle responses and powerful, linear acceleration. If the transmission lever is in “D” while in Sport mode, throttle applications greater than 30 percent allow the transmission to operate using stepped shifting. Moving the transmission lever to “M” while in Sport mode accesses a 6-speed manual mode using steering wheel paddle shift control switches. Sport Sharp mode modifies the engine’s electronic throttle mapping to deliver even quicker throttle response. When Sport Sharp is selected, the transmission operates as an 8-speed in both normal and manual modes.
High-Performance Chassis The new-generation Subaru WRX marked a major evolutionary step for the rally-bred performance car that has become a global automotive icon. Gripping a flat-bottom leather-wrapped steering wheel, the WRX driver will experience the immediate steering response characteristics of the best sports cars. The WRX rolls on standard 17 x 8-inch wheels; Premium and Limited trims feature 18-inch wheels and 245/40R18 tires.
The WRX body structure makes extensive use of high-tensile steel and features special stiffening elements at key locations. The aluminum alloy lower control arms use pillow ball-type joint bushings and pillow ball-type joint mounts. Likewise, the rear suspension lateral links also use this type of bushing.
Two Types of Symmetrical AWD and Active Torque Vectoring When equipped with the 6-speed manual transmission, the Subaru WRX uses the brand’s Continuous AWD version of Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive. A viscous coupling locking center differential nominally distributes torque 50:50 front to rear, and Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) provides stability and traction control. Should slippage occur, the system transfers more torque to the wheels with the best traction.
The Sport Lineartronic CVT is teamed exclusively with the Variable Torque Distribution (VTD) version of Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive. A planetary gear-type center differential and an electronically controlled hydraulic transfer clutch manage torque distribution between the front and rear wheels. Under most conditions, VTD splits the torque 45:55, with the rearward torque bias contributing to handling agility. The VTD system continually optimizes torque distribution in response to driving conditions and input from steering wheel angle, yaw and lateral g-force sensors.
Active Torque Vectoring is a yaw-control system employing the front brakes. When cornering, the system applies slight pressure to the inside front wheel to reduce understeer and enhance response. The multi-mode Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) system offers three modes, Normal, Traction and Off.
Premium Cabin The WRX offers a practical, roomy cabin, and premium touches abound, including soft-touch materials for the dashboard, door trim and center console armrest. The sporty flat-bottom, leather-wrapped steering wheel provides tilt and telescoping adjustments and integrates switches for audio and Bluetooth®. Whiplash-reducing front performance design seats feature separate tilt- and height-adjustable head restraints. The high-grip black fabric is trimmed with red stitching, which is also used on the leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. Numerous compartments located in and around the center console can hold phones, USB drives and MP3 players.