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Test Drive: Subaru WRX by Prodrive – Embracing the STI Spirit

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Subaru WRX by Prodrive

Subaru is actively exploring new avenues for a more edgy and captivating alternative to the WRX.

Introducing the WRX by Prodrive, a meticulously enhanced performance version of the current model, tailored for track days and performance driving.

Previously, the edgier choice at Subaru dealerships used to be the WRX STI, but in March 2022, the company declared that it would not return in its previous form. Subaru left enthusiasts intrigued by hinting at the possibility of an electrified STI in the future, possibly inspired by the fully electric Solterra STI concept showcased the year before.

The WRX by Prodrive, a recent encounter I had at the UK’s Millbrook Proving Ground, demonstrates how Subaru aims to satisfy loyal enthusiasts amidst an evolving automotive landscape.

Created by Prodrive, a renowned UK firm specializing in tuning and motorsports support, the WRX by Prodrive is a captivating masterpiece. Sporting body-colored wheel arches instead of the stock car’s black-lipped ones, this version exudes a more distinct presence and gains over an inch of width. The rear wing, reminiscent of the P25 supercar, adds to its allure. Moreover, the car flaunts P255/35R19 Bridgestone Potenza Sport tires on the same size wheels as the P25.

Thanks to remapped engine management, the Prodrive-tuned WRX boasts about 30 hp more than the standard WRX, totaling just over 300 hp compared to the stock WRX’s 271 hp. While the difference might be hard to discern on a tight road course without a stock WRX for comparison, the Prodrive version feels robust and flexible in the midrange revs.

Notably, the WRX by Prodrive differs significantly from the stock WRX, particularly evident when tackling corners. Equipped with upgraded Sparco SPX front seats, the car corners with reduced body roll, necessitating improved occupant support. Prodrive has also enhanced the anti-roll bar stiffness both front and rear, upgraded suspension bushings, and optimized Bilstein dampers and springs.

The braking system has not been overlooked, adopting a package similar to the P25 with 6-piston calipers in the front and 4-piston calipers in the rear, along with larger rotors and sport pads. The result is a more decisive braking response compared to the stock WRX.

While the enhancements bring about an exhilarating driving experience, they maintain accessibility and user-friendliness, much like the best STI models from the past.

In contrast to the extensive array of tuning changes and upgrades in previous STI models, the WRX by Prodrive embraces relative simplicity. Without features like quicker-ratio steering, selectable center differential, or resonating exhaust, this version focuses on delivering an improved WRX driving experience.

For those who prefer a better WRX experience without waiting for an electric STI, the WRX by Prodrive serves as an excellent option.

As of now, it remains uncertain whether Subaru or Prodrive will offer this package as a standalone car, and the pricing details have not been disclosed. Nevertheless, both parties assert that the enhancements represent a smart and economically sound collection of accessories and improvements built upon the stock Subaru WRX, which starts at $31,625 with a 6-speed manual for the 2023 model. Given Subaru of America’s involvement in promoting the vehicle and its adherence to U.S.-spec left-hand-drive standards, it appears to pique their interest.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Subaru WRX by Prodrive

Q: What is the Subaru WRX by Prodrive?

A: The Subaru WRX by Prodrive is a thoughtfully upgraded performance version of the standard WRX, tuned and enhanced by Prodrive, a UK firm known for tuning and motorsports support.

Q: How does the WRX by Prodrive differ from the standard WRX?

A: The WRX by Prodrive features several enhancements, including body-colored wheel arches, a rear wing similar to the exclusive Prodrive P25 supercar, upgraded Sparco SPX front seats, improved anti-roll bar stiffness, upgraded suspension bushings, and optimized Bilstein dampers and springs. It also has a more powerful engine with about 30 hp more than the stock WRX.

Q: Is the WRX STI returning?

A: Subaru announced that a next-generation internal combustion engine WRX STI will not be produced based on the new WRX platform. However, Subaru hinted that the STI may come back with electrification, possibly inspired by the fully electric Solterra STI concept.

Q: Will the WRX by Prodrive be sold as a package or a standalone car?

A: Neither Subaru nor Prodrive has confirmed the selling approach for the WRX by Prodrive. It is yet to be determined whether it will be available as a package or a standalone offering.

Q: What is the price of the WRX by Prodrive?

A: The specific price for the WRX by Prodrive has not been mentioned in the text. However, both Subaru and Prodrive emphasize that the enhancements represent a smart and relatively frugal set of accessories and improvements built on the stock Subaru WRX, which starts at $31,625 with a 6-speed manual for the 2023 model.

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4 comments

RallyRacer87 July 28, 2023 - 1:16 am

I’m a die-hard subaru fan, but I miss the old STI magic, ya kno, selectable center diff n all. But this prodrive wrx ain’t bad, gotta test it on real roads tho!

Reply
SpeedDemon55 July 28, 2023 - 7:19 am

prodrive rockin’ the wrx game! Upgradin’ seats, brakes, suspension – dat’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout! Can’t wait to see if they electrify the STI, dat’d be wicked!

Reply
SubieLover123 July 28, 2023 - 7:34 am

Subaru wrx STI concept sounds intresting, I hope they make it electric like the solterra! The wrx by prodrive sounds dope too, wish they mentiond the price tho.

Reply
TunerFanatic July 28, 2023 - 5:49 pm

Yo, prodrive’s wrx be bringin’ dat performance game! Thumbs up for the body-colored arches n the sick rear wing. Can’t wait to trick out my own subaru!

Reply

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