At long last, new Subaru WRX to break cover

Subaru updated its Impreza model for the 2012 model year, but continued the popular WRX variant on the old platform. After two years, Subaru will pull the covers off the all-new WRX model.

Wayne Cunningham Managing Editor / Roadshow
Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET's Roadshow. Prior to the automotive beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine.
Wayne Cunningham
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Subaru WRX
Subaru released this single photo showing the new WRX's hood. Subaru

Subaru promises to show off its long-awaited WRX update at the Los Angeles Auto Show next week, but so far remains quiet about the details of the new car. All we have so far is a photo of the new WRX's hood.

However, Subaru brought out a WRX concept at the New York auto show back in March that gives some clues as to what to expect with the new model.

Subaru WRX concept makes world debut in New York (pictures)

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The hood of the production WRX, as seen in Subaru's photo, looks identical to that of the concept car shown in New York. That detail bodes well for many of the other concept car's details making it to production.

The headlights, while not LEDs as in the concept car, use some of the same shapes, especially in the horseshoe-shaped parking light surrounding the actual headlight. The grille looks to have a similar shape and proportions between concept and production.

Although the rest of the production car will remain a mystery until next week, it's a reasonable guess that it will show much of the same styling as the concept, considering that the hood and grille elements represented a cohesive design in the concept car, and that the concept was very well received in New York.

But there is something even more exciting about this new WRX. Where previous generations were basically Impreza models with added performance, the new WRX looks to be its own car. The current Impreza shows very different styling in the sheet metal.

It is certainly a safe bet that the WRX will have Subaru's all-wheel-drive system, but it may benefit from some locking-differential action.

For the Impreza model, Subaru downsized the engine from the previous generation, going from 2.5 liters to 2 liters. The WRX will almost certainly have a four-cylinder engine. Subaru could carry over the old 265-horsepower, turbocharged 2.5-liter engine, but that would seem unlikely.

A more interesting possibility would be a turbocharged version of the 2-liter engine it jointly developed with Toyota for the Subaru BRZ/Scion FR-S. Subaru has previously hinted it is working on an STI version of the BRZ, so a turbo engine for that car would be a perfect fit in the WRX.

Subie fans have just one more week to wait until the WRX rolls out at the 2013 LA Auto Show.