Subaru’s 2018 versions of the iconic WRX and WRX STi have arrived, bringing a number of updates - both mechanical and cosmetic – as well as new features.
Both the MY18 WRX and WRX STi will be available in standard and ‘Premium’ variants, but new for 2018 is a WRX STi spec.R which is defined by the addition of Recaro sports front seats.
Pricing starts at $39,240 for the WRX manual, while the WRX Premium kicks off at $45,640. The manual transmission-only WRX STi starts at $50,890, while the new WRX STi spec.R tops the MY18 range at $57,690.
Brakes, Lights and Backs
On versions of the AWD turbo sedan equipped with the CVT transmission, Subaru’s EyeSight Driver Assist safety technology is now standard, as is an electronic parking brake and Auto Vehicle Hold function.
New to the WRX for 2018 are new-design 18-inch alloys, Jurid performance brake pads with red-painted brake calipers, heated exterior mirrors, roof storage brackets, LED fog lamps and DRLs, as well as steering-responsive, LED headlights.
The dusk-sensing headlights and rain-sensing wipers previously restricted to the Premium variants are now standard across the board.
Under the skin, there’s revised suspension tuning for a more compliant ride, achieved through changes to the damping force and spring rate front and rear, as well as a thinner rear stabilizer bar.
Inside, the multi-function display has been upgraded, Premium variants get electric lumbar seat support, with 8-way power adjustment and memory function for the driver’s seat, while there’s now heating for both front seats.
Step up to the WRX STI and the Jurid brakes are swapped for new Brembos with larger cross-drilled rotors and yellow-painted 6-pot front and 2-pot rear calipers; claiming to deliver improved braking performance. The wheels go up an inch to 19s (a WRX STi first), while there’s a mild restyle of the front bumper and grilles.
Inside, much the same additions as the WRX apply, including the 8-way adjustable driver’s seat, but red seatbelts are now standard.
Heated exterior mirrors are now standard on the cheapest WRX STi, while the Premium and new spec.R add a front-view camera.
Externally, Subaru are claiming an “even more aggressive” face on the 2018 WRX, but there’s nothing too radical, or even noticeable, compared to the current version. The hexagonal grille and slim, c-shaped headlights remain, but Subaru claim the latter are now better integrated, with indicators moved to within the headlights, giving the redesigned foglight bezels in the WRX a less fussy appearance.
The lower grille now features a larger opening and blacked-out border, with the same treatment applied to the border of the upper grille.
New wheel designs for 2018 comprise a ‘V’ style 10-spoke design for the WRX, while the 19-inch units on the STi are a distinctive split 10-spoke style; both finished in gunmetal grey. Standard tyres are Dunlop SP Sport Maxx RT 245/40R18 97W on the WRX, with Yokohama Advan Sport V105 245/35 R19 89W hoops on the WRX STi.
Like the outside, changes to the WRX and WRX STi interior are minimal, with black finishes now on items like the steering wheel bezel, door switches and instrument panel: moulded black for the WRX and gloss black for the WRX STi.
Instrumentation now sits behind tinted glass and features white illumination with red needles.
The multi-function display has been upgraded from 4.3-inch to 5.9-inch on all MY18 variants, with higher definition and what Subaru says is consolidated and reconfigured display content.
A new static display area at the top of the screen shows time, air con status and outside temperature. On the WRX STi, red stitching on the surround of this display complements this variant’s red seatbelts.
The performance Recaro seats in the spec.R feature a wide shoulder area for better lateral support when cornering at speed, while high-density foam in the backrest and cushion brings a degree of comfort. Power adjustment is a first for these Recaros in Subaru application.
More practical touches include re-designed door handles that are easier to grip, while the ‘auto’ function for the air con now marginally improves fuel efficiency.
Powertain Status Quo
The driveline on the MY18 WRX is unchanged: a turbocharged 2.0-litre Boxer four delivering 197kW at 5,600rpm and 350Nm at 2,400-5,200rpm. Similarly, the WRX STi turbocharged Boxer four is unchanged at 2.5 litres, producing 221kW at 6,000rpm and 407Nm at 4,000rpm. The six-speed manual is still standard, with the eight-speed Lineartronic CVT optional on the WRX and WRX Premium.
Listed WRX fuel consumption, on 95RON, is 9.2lt/100km with the manual and 8.6-litres with the CVT, while the WRX STi requires 98RON and delivers a claimed 11.2lt/100km.
The new Front View Monitor (FVM), available on upper WRX grades, complements the Side View Monitor (SVM) already available on the Premium variants and reversing camera on all grades.
The grille-mounted camera can assist with parking, as well as blind-spot detection. For variants equipped with the SVM, both front and side views can be viewed simultaneously on the updated multi-function display.
The steering-responsive headlights are an old idea in automotive terms (Citroens had them decades ago), but their inclusion in this upgrade brings what Subaru says is improved visibility when cornering at night by rotating the headlights to match steering input.
Integrated headlight units now include the high and low-beam, LED DRLs and the aforementioned indicators.
The third-generation EyeSight driver assist system that’s now standard on the WRX CVT variants includes pre-collision braking and steering assist, as well as improved pedestrian avoidance and adaptive cruise control that has a brake light recognition function.
In the WRX Premium CVT, EyeSight adds a head-up display, while all Premium variants and the spec.R also get Blind Spot Detection, Lane Change Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and High Beam Assist. An Emergency Stop Signal is common to all model grades.
A full suite of airbags, ABS with Brake Assist, ESC, ISOFIX anchors and the other usual safety features are standard on all WRX and WRX STi grades.
The MY18 Subaru WRX and WRX STi are now available.
2018 Subaru WRX / WRX STi Australian pricing*
WRX manual $39,240
WRX CVT $42,240
WRX Premium manual $45,640
WRX Premium CVT $48,840
WX STI $50,890
WRX STI w/rear spoiler $51,190
WRX STI Premium $55,640
WRX STI Premium
w/rear spoiler $55,940
WRX STI spec.R $57,690
*manufacturer’s list price only, does not include on-road costs