Subaru uses Porsche 911 as benchmark for key WRX performance feature
When Subaru designed the all-new 2015 WRX, they set their sights high and used the Porsche 911 as a pattern for the new performance sedan. What they wanted to imitate in the Porsche 911 was the steering response and the “flat ride” characteristics’” of the German sports car. This was conveyed to motoring.com.au at the Los Angeles Auto Show while talking to Subaru’s Masuo Takatsu who is the WRX’s Project General Manager.
While we aren’t sure which 911 it was patterned after, Takatsu-san told motoring.com.au that the new WRX's steering response was benchmarked against the Porsche coupe. Takatsu said, “No less than Porsche's latest 911 is one of the benchmarks Subaru set out to match or better.” The turbo Subaru's project team wanted the new performance sedan to handle like a true sports car in the curves. How did Subaru go about doing this?
Takatsu went on to say, “The new turbocharged AWD sedan has eschewed outright power for handling and steering purity. Along with better rear-wheel grip, the above two factors are key to the WRX's DNA.” The team headed up by the WRX’s project manager achieved a better steering and handling car by retooling and redesigning the suspension and with a stiffer unibody.
WRX gets new suspension upgrades
Subaru tells us the new WRX will carve the corners flatter and quicker than ever before. Performance enthusiasts can take corners faster without losing grip because of its revised, high-performance suspension, a 41% stiffer unibody which translates to a 20% reduction in body roll in the curves. That’s an impressive improvement in cornering dynamics that is the result of the lofty goals the team set for the WRX.
But there is more that went into the WRX to achieve this. Subaru uses a new Active Torque Vectoring that improves stability while allowing the WRX to be pushed harder. It also gets a much lower steering ratio of 14.5:1 that gives the steering a quicker response (you don't have to turn the steering wheel as much to get the wheels to turn a given distance).
All-wheel-drive keeps WRX firmly planted
Couple all that will Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive and drivers can push the car to the limit and still keep all four wheels firmly planted on the road or track. They also gave the WRX larger 12.4" front brakes for better stopping power when things get going fast.
Did Masuo Takatsu and his team succeed in copying the Porsche 911’s driving dynamics? The WRX Project General Manager said he had got "everything he wanted" in the development of the new 2015 WRX. He says the new six-speed equipped WRX will launch from 0-100 km/h in 5.4 seconds. This compares to 5.9 sec for the automatic version and 6.0 seconds for the previous generation manual model.
The driving experience is paramount
But he says the drive experience, rather than outright pace, will be the true measure of the new performance sedan. "We have set out to have zero response lag, in the steering. The car is defined by pure power, in your control. We want to make the most of the power the car has, so the driver can make the most of it," Takatsu stated.
Many thought, including this writer, that the exterior styling fell short of expectations and that the 2015 WRX would look more like the WRX Concept unveiled in New York. But it looks like Subaru didn’t fall short in driving dynamics and performance of the new WRX. Next up will be the new 2015 Subaru WRX STI that will be unveiled in Detroit in January 2014. Stay tuned to Torque News for the latest Subaru news.