Previous versions of the WRX have been high-performance versions of the Impreza, but this generation gets substantially different body work and mechanicals.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNET

A hood scoop and large front intakes feed a twin-scroll turbocharger.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNET

Subaru will only offer the WRX in a sedan body, a move intended to broaden the car's appeal.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNET

Quad pipes are supposed to deliver an aggressive exhaust note, but in practice it sounded muted.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNET

LED headlights will be available for the WRX.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNET

The 2-liter four-cylinder engine is in Subaru's flat, "boxer" configuration, letting it sit low in the car. With direct injection and a twin-scroll turbo, it produces 268 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNET

As in the previous generation, the new WRX gets wide front fenders.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNET

The trunk lid gets a small, integrated spoiler, but otherwise the rear of the car is bland.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNET

Excellent handling characteristics combined with a comfortable ride make the WRX a multipurpose vehicle.

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The sport seats have reasonably sized bolsters and grippy fabric.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNET

The cabin materials are fairly typical for Subaru.

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The flat-bottom steering wheel evokes the car's sporty handling.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNET

The CVT is a curiosity, having a variable ratio mode, six-virtual-gear mode, and eight-virtual-gear mode.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNET

The six-speed manual transmission option will likely be the preference of most WRX buyers.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNET

This dashboard LCD shows a variety of screens, including turbo pressure.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNET

An upgrade package adds navigation and a Harman Kardon stereo.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Subaru
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