Monday, August 25, 2014

Subaru WRX S4 (VAG) and WRX STi (VAB)

2015 Subaru WRX S4

So, welcome everyone to the brand new Subaru WRX, the rally icon returns with two distinct flavors to choose from depending on which style you're on. For those suitable for daily use, there's the WRX S4 but for those who are speedo boys and a suitable track-day car on a weekend, there's a new WRX STi. Both versions of the WRX are suitable for everyone and depending on which WRX you're on, you will be greeted by the car famed for its legendary motorsport bloodline and just like what Nissan done when the GT-R name is separated from the Skyline brand, the WRX is fully independent and does not have in common with the current Impreza. In other words, don't call it an Impreza anymore.

2015 Subaru WRX STi

What's the difference between the WRX S4 and the WRX STi? Simple, really. The S4 (bearing the chassis code VAG) is a civilized version of the said model and you can visualize it as the 4-door counterpart of the LEVORG sport tourer which is based on. It comes with the same FA20 "Blue Boxer" DIT engine as the LEVORG as well as the not-so-bad Sport Lineartronic CVT from the LEVORG as well. Don't forget that the S4 comes with Subaru's Eyesight Ver. 3. The new WRX STi (bearing the chassis code VAB) is somewhat a WRX S4 with some insane movements because the latest model harks the return of the speedo boy favorite. It carries out the old EJ20 dual AVCS intercooler twin-scroll turbo engine from its predecessor and it's available only in 6-speed manual gearbox.

2015 Subaru WRX S4
2015 Subaru WRX S4 interior

2015 Subaru WRX S4 interior

So, let's talk about the S4 first. First and foremost, the S4 is an everyday variant of the WRX. A variant well suited for the city folk who wanted something more of a go-getter rather than being a homestuck. Picture someone living in a condo who has tons of gadgets on his bag. You could be noticing that it could be a particular person who could be driving this because the S4 is kinda like Subaru's take on the Volvo S60 but don't dare taking this one against the S60 because the WRX S4's Sport Lineartronic CVT gearbox can be a bit of a letdown for a driver's car but because Subaru is one of the Japanese carmakers that perfected the CVT gearbox the same way like Nissan do, it's not so bad. The Sport Lineartronic CVT can also be set to different manual modes via SI-DRIVE. When in Sport Mode, 6-speed manual mode is on and you can take advantage of its paddle shifters for a more enjoyable feel but to bring out the best of the S4, you can try setting it to Sport Sharp. In Sport Sharp mode, the grip becomes well precise and well dramatic and the CVT is now in 8-speed manual mode with good results.

Because the engine is horizontally-opposed, the S4 has a low center of gravity and thanks to its trademark Symmetrical AWD, the S4 is a decent all-rounder suitable for any weather, be it rainy or snow in a Tokyo afternoon. Looks like the S4 performed well to be a driver's car, although Subaru still need room for improvement though.

With the BLUE BOXER DIT engine and the Sport Lineartronic CVT, the WRX S4 achieves a fuel economy of 13.2kmpl on the JC08 Mode scale.

Like the LEVORG it was based on, the WRX S4 comes with Eyesight Ver. 3, which is the new and improved version of Subaru's very own pre-crash safety system. For Version 3, it integrates Adaptive Cruise Control, Pre-Collision Braking and Vehicle Lane Departure Warning.

2015 Subaru WRX STi

2015 Subaru WRX STi interior

So, what about the new WRX STi? Because the new model is no longer based on the Impreza unlike the previous generations, it's time for speedo boys to learn one thing. NEVER CALL THIS AN IMPREZA, much like the same way that you should never call the current R35 GT-R a Skyline. This should be a lesson to you all, JDM fans.

Anyway, what's new about the new WRX STi? Well, even though it comes with the same 2.0L 16-valve Dual AVCS twin-scroll turbo engine from the previous model as well as the 6-speed manual gearbox, I wonder what's changed? You know, I tell you what, even with its new look, it still harbors the same spirit.

It still harbors the same heritage that started from the 1990's. After conquering numerous rally courses and surviving through the Nurburgring for a day, the WRX STi has been proven to be the legend that has the respect it deserves and on this new model, the same STi wizardry remains. Apart from the Multi-Mode Driver Controlled Center Differential (DCCD) Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, Multi-Mode Vehicle Dynamics Control, and a Brembo Performance Brake System with Super Sport ABS, the new WRX STi now comes with Active Torque Vectoring.

Active Torque Vectoring applies brake pressure to the front wheel while the Vehicle Dynamics Control provides more settings such as VDC Normal, Traction, and Off, each provides lesser degrees of system engagement. That sounds high-tech but has it work? I can't really say a thing about how grip-worthy the new STi is.

If you're asking about the engine, the 2.0L EJ20 turbo engine develops 308PS of power and 422Nm of torque. Fuel economy? A boorish 9.4kmpl but who cares about it? Even though it still comes with the engine that is two decades old, it's worth passing for the next generation of Subarists. Because the EJ20 is a boxer engine, it has a low center of gravity.

With its chief rival, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, is almost at the end of its lifespan, looks like the WRX STi has left without a primary rival for now. How pitiful for this car to have no competition...

2015 Subaru WRX STi
And now for the pricing. The WRX S4 starts at 3,348,000 Japanese Yen while the new WRX STi starts at 3,790,000 Japanese Yen. Overall, they're both cheaper to own than the Volvo S60 per se and that's the bottomline...except it isn't. The bottomline is that the WRX S4 is a daily driver car that you can use it to go to the shops if necessary while the WRX STi is born to be a rally-and-track fighter that can be a suitable multirole at the hands of a skilled driver, not for the speedo boy because I know what speedo boys do with Japanese sports cars.

Available colors: Crystal White Pearl, Ice Silver Metallic, Dark Gray Metallic, Crystal Black Silica, Lightning Red, and WR Blue Pearl.

Photo: Fuji Heavy Industries

1 comment:

Ikew said...

Not a Twin Turbo bro!!!

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