2018 Subaru WRX and WRX STI updates arriving in July

2018 Subaru WRX and WRX STI updates arriving in July

IF you’re shopping for a feisty all-paw turbocharged performance car, maybe hold out until the start of the financial year before pulling the trigger on a Subaru WRX or WRX STI.

Both models are in line to receive their respective facelifts in July, and in the STI’s case at least, the changes are more than just cosmetic.

With the Japanese carmaker announcing its Japanese WRX STI specification this week, there are plenty of clues of what to expect. WRX STIs for Japan’s domestic market are powered by a high-revving 227kW/422Nm 2.0-litre flat four rather than the 221kW/407Nm 2.5-litre we receive here, but Wheels understands that will be one of very few differentiators between those cars and Aus-bound examples.

Engine changes are expected to be minimal for this mid-life update, with peak output figures carrying over unchanged. The WRX STI’s drivetrain, however, will adopt a new electronically-controlled DCCD centre differential, which promises better driveability and flexibility than current hardware, along with improved cornering performance.

Australia’s answer to Ken Block

A six-speed manual will remain the sole transmission option, while the WRX will continue to be offered with either a six-speed manual or a CVT automatic.

On the high-grade Japan-spec STI the wheel size swells to 19 inches, though tread width remains at 245mm. According to homologation documents seen by Wheels, big wheels are in store for high-spec Aus market WRX STI Premiums.

A bigger Brembo brake package sporting neon-yellow calipers and 18-inch ventilated and cross-drilled rotors will equip both regular STIs and STI Premiums, while revised bumper plastics and LED headlamps that turn into corners round out the exterior changes. WRXs and base WRX STIs will continue to wear 18-inch alloys, albeit with updated designs.

Japanese-market STIs will sport red seatbelts, updated cabin plastics with a more “premium feel” and a 9-inch colour touchscreen infotainment display, though that last one may not make it to Australia as a replacement for the current model’s 7-inch unit.

However, the high-spec power-adjustable Recaro front seats on Japanese cars are likely to find their way into Australian WRX STI Premiums, replacing the current Premium’s manually-adjusted pews.

Unfortunately, pricing for either the WRX or WRX STI is still a closely-guarded secret. Subaru Australia refuses to comment, but with an on-sale date that’s just over a month from now we won’t have long to wait.

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