Subaru and its iconic WRX and WRX STI models have been the number one choice for enthusiasts looking for a budget oriented slice of speed. With the Ford Focus RS looking to take over where the axed Mitsubishi Evolution left off, Subaru has unveiled the updated 2018 WRX and WRX STI ahead of their debut at NAIAS.
The new variants collaborate earlier reports, and are based off the previous generation Impreza versus the all new model that is launching this year. For 2018 Subaru focused on giving the duo a more aggressive front fascia that features an all new grille design, and a larger lower grille opening. WRX Limited and STI models also get all new LED Steering Response Headlights that turn in sync with the steering wheel, which improves both night time visibility and safety. The only other key change for 2018 is new mounting brackets for the roof rack.
Both engines carryover unchanged, but Subaru engineers have made significant improvements to the car’s drivetrains. A new synchro design makes its debut in the WRX’s six speed manual gearbox, and the internals were revamped to reduce overall friction. The clutch was upgraded and now offers easier take-up behavior versus older STIs. The electric power steering system was also re-calibrated to give drivers a more natural feel that is smoother and less artificial.
The suspension for both cars was also redone, and promises to give buyers better stability as well as boosted comfort for long journeys. With the Focus RS offering a solid balance of both comfort and razor sharp handling, Subaru had to do what it takes to keep both models on their respective “A” games.
Befitting its role as the pinnacle of Subaru performance, Subaru engineers went even further with the STI version. Beefier Brembo brakes are nestled in all four wheels, and are highlighted by six-piston front calipers, and drilled rotors all around. Meanwhile, a revised all-wheel drive system with a fully electronic center differential sharpens the cars handling, and keeps occupants from bashing the slick 19-inch wheels.
As for the WRX, a new performance package highlights its 2018 revisions, and adds eight-way power adjustable Recaro seats, a sunroof delete, upgraded JURID brake pads, and red painted brake calipers. The STI Limited also gets the new seats, but base STI buyers can only get them as an optional extra.
Both models also strive to be quieter than before, and this is achieved with thicker door glass, revised door sealing, and a foam filled windshield header beam. Convenience has not been forgotten either, and all WRX models gain heated outside mirrors and a bigger multi-function display.
Stepping up to the WRX Limited nabs power lumbar adjustments and WRX Premium models feature a new 7-inch multimedia display. Rounding out the laundry list of improvements is a revised front structure for better collision performance in accidents, and a new vehicle hold system that allows the driver to take their foot off the brake pedal when at a stop on a flat surface.
Subaru did not release any pricing information or when the 2018 STI and WRX will make their way to dealer lots. But, look for them to begin streaming into showrooms over the next few months, with a pricing ladder that will most likely not stray too far from the current generation WRX and WRX STI and their respective pricing ladders.
Stay tuned for live photos, and our thoughts on the 2018 Subaru WRX and WRX STI when they make their debut at the 2017 North American International Auto Show. We look forward to perhaps test driving either of these models to see how they fare against a new generation of budget sport entries. In the meantime you can check out the gallery below, and tell us what you think of the 2018 WRX and WRX STI.