Review: 2015 Subaru WRX – Turbo, but No Hatch


Some Subaru WRX aficionados may be upset with the passing of the 5-Door Hatch for the 2015 model year. The 2015 Subaru WRX is back to only offering a five-passenger, four-door sedan that displays some very significant changes. The Subaru WRX is all-new despite the fact that it’s still an Impreza beneath the surface, although there is no longer any Impreza reference. It is referred to only as WRX.

STATS Starting Retail Price As Tested Price HP / Lb-Ft
2015 Subaru WRX $25,595 (est) $ TBD 268 / 258
  EPA Rating As Tested Range  
Rating: BUY IT! 21 / 28 (man), 19 / 25 (CVT) N/A

The new WRX will be powered by a modified and more powerful engine, derived from the Forester XT. It is the new high compression (10.6:1) FA 2.0-liter VVT flat opposed BOXER four-cylinder with twin-scroll turbocharger, intercooler and Direct Injection that pumps out 268 horses at 5,600 rpm while generating 258 pound feet of torque in a range from 2,000-5,200 rpm. The WRX develops its peak power using 15.9 psi turbo boost, vs. 17.1 psi in the Forester 2.0 XT. Red Line comes at 6,700 rpm. Premium fuel (91 AKI) is recommended.


 Motive force is metered through either a six-speed manual or new Sport Lineartronic (CVT) transmission with a manual mode and steering wheel paddle shifters, simulating 6 manual gears except when in Sport # (Sharp) mode there are effectively 8 specific gear points to one of Subaru’s two Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive systems. The manual transmission couples to a Continuous System, while the CVT features a Variable Torque System. The manual transmission WRX is capable of scooting from 0-60 mph in 5.4 seconds. Add another .5  for the CVT version – (5.9 seconds). There is a launch mode in place to effectively help in achieving these times and a new Active Torque Vectoring feature, an enhancement of the Vehicle Dynamics Control system, aids in cornering stability. The new powertrain delivers improved fuel efficiency over the previous model with the manual gearbox. The Sport Lineartronic transmission features Subaru’s Intelligent Drive (SI-DRIVE), a powertrain performance management system that enables the driver to tailor the vehicle’s driving characteristics by choosing from three selectable modes – “Intelligent,” “Sport” and “Sport # (Sharp)” – using a switch on the steering wheel.


The new WRX has a one-inch longer wheelbase than the previous WRX, yielding a roomier cabin with upgraded comfort and materials plus a wide array of new user technologies. The hood, fenders, doors and quarters, bumpers, headlights and taillight clusters are all unique to the 2015 WRX and the aluminum hood with its integral scoop provides fresh air to intercooler. The scoop is now set more deeply into hood for better forward visibility. Rear-seat legroom is increased by nearly two inches over the previous WRX. Lower side sills and wider-opening doors allow for easier ingress/egress. The windshield is more raked than before, with the A-pillar pulled forward nearly eight inches at the base improving forward visibility. Design highlights include vertical front fender vents, foglight surrounds with a carbon fiber-like pattern, LED taillights and a rear diffuser.

There are three trim levels for the 2015 Subaru WRX: a base model, Premium and Limited model. The WRX Limited features new LED low-beam headlights.

The chassis is also new as well as stiffer, with larger front brakes, and performance-tuned suspension. The Electronic Power Steering system’s response was benchmarked against top-handling sports cars. The 4-wheel independent, suspension componentry consists of MacPherson-type struts, aluminum lower L-arms with pillow ball mounts and bushings, coil springs and stabilizer bar up front and Double wishbone with subframe, pillow ball bushings for lower lateral links, coil springs and stabilizer bar in the rear.

The new WRX rolls on 235/45 R17 94W Dunlop SP Sport Maxx RT tires mounted on 10-spoke (5 wide / 5-narrow twin) graphite painted alloy wheels. Braking chores are handled by power-assisted 4-wheel discs with Electronic Brake-force Distribution and 4-channel / 4-sensor ABS, Brake Assist and Brake Override.


This latest iteration WRX displays a much bolder front-end design with a deep front spoiler and unique grille. A new “nose-cone” design combines the grille and bumper cap into one unit ahead of the hood. The wide-body stance seen on the previous-generation WRX model is enhanced with new, standard 17-inch wheels.


The rear doors and fenders were specially designed for the 2015 WRX, and continue the model’s wide-body stance, but now in a more rakish new profile. The Subaru hexagonal grille is flanked by narrower headlights designed to resemble the stare of a raptor.

Interior refinements haven’t been forgotten either – The high-performance feel is experienced immediately upon entry as the driver grips the new flat-bottom, leather-wrapped steering wheel, with tilt and telescoping adjustments. The wheel also integrates switches for audio and Bluetooth® control. Tactile appointments and details abound, including soft-touch materials for the dashboard, door trim and center console armrest. Numerous compartments are positioned in and around the center console to hold a variety of personal items, such as phones, USB drives and MP3 players. Whiplash-reducing front performance design seats feature separate tilt- and height-adjustable head restraints. Leather seating is available, as is an 8-way power driver’s seat. The dual gauge instrument layout features a 3.5-in. LCD central screen to display various functions, including oil level, remaining washer fluid and selected gear ratio.


All models feature a new multi-information central display with 4.3-in. LCD screen providing a multitude of vehicle system functions, including a standard rear camera display, a boost gauge display, audio (on non-navigation models), Bluetooth® and climate control settings, and a VDC screen showing traction control operation.

Standard base model features for the WRX include automatic climate control and a new standard audio system featuring AM/FM stereo with HD Radio®, single-disc in-dash CD player, 6 speakers, MP3/WMA capability, Radio Data Broadcast System (RDBS), Bluetooth hands-free calling and audio streaming, iPod® control capability, iTunes® Tagging, USB port, SiriusXM® Satellite Radio (subscription required), and a 3.5mm auxiliary audio input jack.


The WRX Premium trim level increases everyday comfort and convenience with the All-Weather Package, power tilt/slide glass moonroof, fog lights, illuminated visor vanity mirrors, and a low-profile trunk spoiler enhances the car’s aero body package.

The top-of-line Limited model WRX adds to the Premium content, bringing a new level of luxury to the WRX with leather-trimmed upholstery, an 8-way power driver’s seat and Welcome Lighting. Exclusive to the WRX Limited, LED low-beam headlights provide a unique look and enhanced visibility. The high beams are multi-reflector halogen units, and the system includes automatic off/on.

Safety & Security features and equipment include: 3-point seatbelts for all seats (height-adjustable for outboard positions); front seatbelts 
with electrically triggered pre-tensioners and force limiters; 4-channel/4-sensor Anti-lock Brake System with Electronic Brake-force Distribution and Brake Assist; Daytime running lights; Impact-sensing fuel cutoff; Subaru’s Advanced Frontal Airbag System; front seat side pelvis/torso air bags; side-curtain air bags; driver’s side knee airbag; LATCH uniform child restraint anchorage system; rear seat head restraints, height-adjustable (all positions); Ring-Shaped Reinforcement Frame body structure with front and rear crumple zones;  safety pedal system; security system with engine immobilizer; Tire Pressure Monitoring System; Vehicle Dynamics Control with traction control system; whiplash-reducing design front performance seats with separate height and tilt-adjustable head restraints.

I was able to experience wheel time in both a 2015 Premium and Limited model WRX – one with the 6-speed manual gearbox, the other with the Sport Lineartronic with up to 8 gear steps. Both were finished outside in Bright Blue metallic and inside in Black with red stitching accents. Official pricing was not available at the time of this writing, but the base model price is expected to be in the same range as the previous model WRX, but with more content, which should be under $26,000.

SUMMARY:  The 2015 Subaru WRX is vastly improved and is now even more exhilarating to toss around tight and narrow, twisty back roads. The added power and tighter chassis makes carving challenging roads a hoot. The new WRX is fast, with rapid acceleration and little turbo lag. Steering feel is improved and spot on center.

Ride quality definitely falls into the very firm column, yet still manages to deliver a reasonable level of comfort, with outstanding seat support. The manual gearbox, with its added 6th gear allows for “snicking” quickly from one gear to another, and the CVT transmission delivers what really feels like actual gear changes – up to 8 of them, when in Sport# mode. The steering wheel mounted paddle shifters are fun to play with, and I actually enjoyed the Sport Lineartronic almost as much as the 6-speed manual.


The new WRX sedan is certainly a cut above its predecessor in virtually all aspects, but the added functionality that the old 5-door hatch provided is missed. That having been said, this latest WRX is a winner in any of its trim levels and with either transmission. Subaru is on a roll in terms of sales figures and the new WRX should contribute to continued success.

On The Fast Lane Car’s rating scale of:

• Buy It

• Lease It

• Rent It

• Forget It.

Buy it if you’re into high performance vehicles.

Base Price $25,595. est.* Price as Tested: $TBD Official pricing has yet to announced.


Base Price:                                 $25,595. *est.

Price as Tested:                        $TBD Official pricing has yet to announced

Engine Type and Size:          FA 2.0-liter VVT flat opposed BOXER four-cylinder with turbocharger and

Direct Injection.

Horsepower (bhp):                  268     @ 5,600   rpm

Torque (ft./ lbs.):                     258     @ 4,800    rpm

Red Line:                                    6,700 rpm

Transmission:                        Six-speed manual or CVT with paddle shifters simulating 6 manual gears

except when in Sport # (Sharp) there are effectively 8 specific gear points.

Drive Train:                             Forward flat mounted engine / Subaru’s symmetrical All-Wheel Drive.

Suspension:                            4-wheel independent, sport-tuned plus special chassis reinforcements

                                                    Front – MacPherson-type struts, aluminum lower L-arms with pillow ball

mounts and bushings, coil springs and stabilizer bar.

                                                   Rear – Double wishbone with subframe, pillow ball bushings for lower lateral

links, coil springs and stabilizer bar.

Brakes:                                  Power-assisted 4-wheel discs with Electronic Brake-force Distribution and 4-

channel / 4-sensor ABS, Brake Assist and Brake Override.

Tires:                                      Dunlop SP Sport Maxx summer 235/45 R17 94W mounted on 10-spoke (5

wide/5-narrow twin) graphite painted alloy wheels.

Wheelbase:                          104.3            inches

Length Overall:                  180.9            inches

Width:                                      70.7            inches

Height:                                      58.1            inches

Curb Weight:                      3,267             lbs.- 6-speed M/T – 3,433 Premium w/ Sport Lineartronic.

Turning Circle:                    35.4              ft.

Fuel Capacity:                       15.9             gallons

EPA Mileage Estimates:       21            mpg city / 28 mpg highway- 6 M/T – 19/25 CVT

Drag Coefficient:                   Not listed.

0 – 60 mph:                               5.4 seconds with 6 M/T & 5.9 seconds with CVT.


Review by Arv Voss, Auto Impressions