The Subaru WRX and WRX STI still reign supreme in the sport compact class, but they are constantly challenged by the likes of the Focus ST and RS, the Golf R and the soon-to-hit-showrooms Civic Type R. Subaru recently unveiled the 2018 WRX lineup and to my surprise, it has a slew of meaningful modifications.
The first thing fans will notice is the refined front fascia. While it’s not vastly different than the 2017 model, it is different enough to matter, thanks to its bolder grille, larger lower grille opening and reworked headlights, which are adaptive on the WRX Limited and all STI models.
While most of the WRX’s driveline remains unchanged in the new year, it does get new synchros in the six-speed manual transmission, giving it a smoother feeling shift. This updated transmission pairs with a new clutch with a smoother take-up. The WRX will gain a new front and rear suspension for improved cornering, and a revised electric power steering system that gives a more natural feel.
Buyers can opt for a new Performance Package on the WRX Premium. This package includes eight-way power Recaro seats, red-painted calipers, upgraded JURID brake pads, a deleted moonroof and 18-inch double-spoke wheels.
On the STI side of things, it gains the same new suspension system as the WRX, an updated DCCD all-wheel-drive system, upgraded brakes with yellow calipers (six-piston fronts and two-piston rears), drilled rotors and larger pads, and new 19-inch wheels. The DCCD is the most notable change, as it will use electronic controls for smoother response.
Also new are Recaro seats, which will be optional on the base STI and standard on the STI Limited.
Safety also gets a boost, thanks to an updated EyeSight system that includes Vehicle Hold, which automatically holds the vehicle at traffic lights, and EyeSight Adjust Monitor. The latter displays EyeSght status and alerts on the windshield, giving the driver all the info they need without looking away from the road.
Last but not least, buyers will find a quieter cabin inside the 2018 WRX and WRX STI, thanks to updated materials.
Pricing and release date of the new WRX are not available, but stay tuned for updates.