2015 Subaru WRX S4

The Subaru Impreza was introduced in early 1993 as a four-door sedan or five-door hatchback . A two-door coupe was launched two years later. Initial engine choices included 1.6-, 1.8- and 2.0-liter flat-four engines, but Subaru later added 2.2- and 2.5-liter units as well. As the first-gen Impreza soon made a huge name for itself in rally racing, the technology made it onto the road under the WRX moniker. The iconic WRX STI model was born in 1994. The second-gen model arrived in 2000, boasting major design and technology changes, and it arrived int he U.S. for the 2002 model year. Redesigned yet again in 2007, the WRX’s engine remained largely unchanged internally, while output increased to 227 horsepower. The fourth-gen WRX (second-gen in the U.S.) was unveiled for the 2015 model year with a more aggressive design, and a 2.0-liter engine rated at 268 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. As we move toward 2015, Subaru is introducing a brand-new iteration of the WRX to slot between the standard version and range-topping STI.

Dubbed WRX S4, the new sports sedan is essentially an upgrade to the standard WRX with a hefty power increase for the 2.0-liter flat-four. Developed during Subaru’s racing program for the 24 Hours of Nurburgring , the new mill is not only more powerful, but boasts improved fuel efficiency as well. Rounding up the package is a slightly revised skin and a unique interior along with upgraded steering and additional safety features. Read on to find out what makes the WRX S4 a truly unique machine.

Click past the jump to read more about the Subaru WRX S4.

Exterior

Subaru WRX S4
Subaru WRX S4
Subaru WRX S4

Visually, the WRX S4 doesn’t stray far from the WRX we’re all familiar with. Up front, the differences consist of new silver mesh for the grille and the bumper’s air dam. Around back, the WRX S4’s performance-oriented nature is highlighted by a new diffuser and twin exhaust tips, a small spoiler, and revised taillight configuration. The Front fender ducts and the redesigned side skirts further enhance the S4’s sporty appeal. Also new is a set of lighter and more rigid 18-inch, alloy wheels.

Other than that, the new sedan comes with the narrower headlamps, the new hood, redesigned fenders, and the lower stance the 2015 WRX brought to the United States with the new-generation model.

Interior

Subaru WRX S4
Subaru WRX S4
Subaru WRX S4

The interior received a few unique features of its own, which also help mirror the vehicle’s sporty character. The sports seats come with improved bolstering, while the standard steering wheels has been ditched in favor of a race-inspired, flat-bottomed wheel. Red contrast stitching adorns every inch of leather, while piano-black finishes and metallic accents further set the S4 apart from the regular WRX. The solid black interior is also fitted with carbon trim inserts, adding a touch of luxury to the otherwise sporty cabin.

Drivetrain

Subaru WRX S4

The big news lies under the sedan’s hood, where a more powerful 2.0-liter engine replaces the powerplant available in the standard WRX. Burnished for road use in the 2015 Subaru WRX Subaru WRX STI race car that ran at the 2014 24 Hours of Nurburgring, the turbocharged, four-pot boxer generates 296 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. That’s a significant improvement over the 268 ponies and 258 pound-feet cranked out by the 2.0-liter found in the base WRX. Not to mention that these figures come dangerously close to the 305 horses and 290 pound-feet available with the WRX STI, which is motivated by a larger, 2.5-liter unit.

Don’t get too excited though. Subaru says the WRX S4 can only be had with a Lineartronic CVT, which isn’t the best option for when tossing around a high-performance sedan. There’s no word whether it will get the six-speed manual when Subaru decides to export it outside Japan, but here’s to hoping that happens.

While it doesn’t come with a manual gearbox, the new sedan benefits from Subaru’s Symmetrical AWD system for enhanced, all-weather performance. The package is rounded out by safety systems like Active Lane Keep, Pre-Collision Reverse Throttle Management, Brake Light Recognition, and an electric parking brake.

Making things more interesting is that the S4 promises to return strong fuel economy figures of 13.2 km per liter on the Japanese cycle, which accounts to about 31 U.S. mpg on the highway.

Type2.0-liter flat-four
Horsepower296 HP
Torque295 LB-FT
0 to 60 mph4.7 seconds (est.)
Top Speed155 MPH (est.)

Pricing

Subaru WRX S4

No word on pricing yet, not even for the Japanese market. but Subaru brags about succeeding "in crafting an accessible sports sedan that can be enjoyed by all drivers." The new sedan should sit between the regular WRX and the STI, which are priced from $26,295 and $34,495, respectively.

Competitors

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution XI

The S4’s near STI output figures enable it to become a proper competitor for the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, WRX’s long-standing road and rally rival. The Japanese sports sedan also benefits from a turbocharged, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder powertrain that cranks out similar performance. Horsepower is rated at 291 ponies, five horses less than the WRX S4, while torque sits at 300 pound-feet, five pound-feet over the Suby. The oomph travels to the wheels through either a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic, which make quite a difference when it comes to the sedan’s acceleration.

While the manual enables the Lance Evo to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds, the automatic shaves nearly a half-second off the benchmark, taking it to an enticing 4.5 seconds. The Evo is capable of reaching a top speed of 146 mph regardless the transmission. EPA-estimated fuel economy sits at 23 mpg highway and 17 mpg city for the manual, and 22 mpg highway and 17 mpg city for the automatic. Pricing begins from $34,995.

Conclusion

Subaru WRX S4

Granted, the WRX S4 is a pleasant surprise. We always knew Subaru could squeeze more power form its 2.0-liter flat-four and it’s exciting to see this output increase come straight from its Nurburgring racer. Subaru may have left rallying behind, but its racing days are far from over. As long as it keeps perfecting road technology on the track, we’ll be keeping our thumbs up. With power that goes up into WRX STI territory and with fuel economy that’s likely to sit above the standard WRX, the S4 is one heck of a package. All we need is an affordable price tag and for Subaru to bring it to the States.

LOVE IT
  • WRX STI-matching output
  • Unique exterior looks
  • Sporty interior
  • Track-developed powertrain
LEAVE IT
  • U.S. availability uncertain
  • Not quite as awesome as we were hoping

Press Release

Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. (FHI), the maker of Subaru automobiles, today announced that Subaru’s all-new sports sedan, to be introduced in Japan on August 25, has been named "WRX S4".

While the "WRX S4" has "the Subaru’s top AWD (All-Wheel drive) sports performance", the sports sedan also achieves "unique overall safety performance" with features such as the next-generation EyeSight, "superior environmental friendliness" and "high-quality feel". By fusing these four values at a high level centering on its AWD sports performance as a core attribute, a new value has been achieved. It enables more drivers to enjoy superb driving performance with safety and comfort. To represent the above four attributes, the vehicle name "S4" has four meanings; "Sports performance", "Safety performance", "Smart driving" and "Sophisticated feel".

A special website has been launched on the Subaru Official Website at 11:00 am on July 25 (Japan time) to release teaser images and other information.


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