The company says that S4 stands for "'Sports performance', 'Safety performance', 'Smart driving' and 'Sophisticated feel," and it certainly looks like this Rex ticks all of those boxes. The most surprising feature is the Japanese model's 2.0-liter turbo engine boasting 296 horsepower (221 kilowatts) and 295 pound-feet (400 Newton-meters) of torque in this application. That's quite a healthy upgrade over the 268 hp and 258 lb-ft that Americans get in the standard WRX, and it's even nipping at the heels of the 305 hp and 290 lb-ft from the STI with a 2.5-liter mill that we get over here.
While extra power is always welcome, enthusiasts might not be so thrilled that Subaru's Sport Lineartronic Continuously Variable Transmission is the sedan's only available gearbox. However, it offers a simulated eight-speed shifting mode when drivers notch the car into Sport# driving mode. Of course, the S4 also packs Subie's trademark all-wheel drive with Vehicle Dynamics Control and Active Torque Vectoring as standard.
Additional noteworthy differences include firmer steering box mounts for better feel and an electronic parking brake, a move that will likely delight commuters as it offends handbrake turn artists. The chassis and body have likewise received attention, with additional high-tensile steel and strengthened joints. Subaru says the bodywork as has actually been lightened in the process, though it isn't immediately clear how.
Looking at the S4, the appearance differences are fairly minor compared to its US counterpart. The grille and lower air dam get completely filled in with silver mesh, and it has a somewhat different 18-inch wheel design. Inside, drivers are nestled into sport seats and grip a flat-bottom steering wheel. Red stitching and piano black trim finish off the interior looks to lend a sporty look.
For improved safety, the company's latest Eyesight system boasts color recognition and a wider viewing angle than before. Systems like Pre-Collision Braking Control, Active Lane Keep steering assistance system and Adaptive Cruise Control are also available. Scroll down to read Subaru's full announcement of this tech-packed WRX for Japan.
Tokyo, August 25, 2014 - Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. (FHI), the manufacturer of Subaru automobiles, has introduced the Subaru "WRX S4" in Japan. Subaru's all-new sports sedan goes on sale today at Subaru dealers throughout Japan.
The WRX S4 sports sedan combines Subaru's state-of-the-art all-wheel drive (AWD) sports performance with unique overall safety features, superior environmental friendliness and refined quality. Subaru's core value of AWD sports performance lies at the heart of the high-level fusion of these four attributes, enabling more drivers to comfortably enjoy breathtaking Subaru performance with peace of mind. The S4 tag denotes the four values of "sports performance", "safety performance", "smart driving" and "sophisticated feel".
Teamed with Sport Lineartronic transmission, the 2.0-liter high-performance direct injection turbo (DIT) engine maximizes output and torque*1 for impressive power performance. As well as offering sporty, fun driving with plenty of direct feedback, the WRX S4 achieves advanced levels of environmental friendliness*2. Moreover, this is the first model in the WRX series to be equipped with Subaru's own EyeSight driving assist system for enhanced overall safety. Comprehensive body and chassis enhancements have achieved a high-quality ride, greatly reducing driver burden to support safe and comfortable driving.
*1: 221 kW (300 PS) at 5,600 rpm and 400 N・m (40.8 kgf・m) at 2,000–4,800 rpm.
*2: All models are eligible for incentives under Japan's tax reduction system to promote the use of environmentally friendly vehicles: 60% reduction in automobile acquisition tax and 50% reduction in motor vehicle tonnage tax.
■ Product concept
"Pure Power in Your Control"
In developing the WRX S4, Subaru strived to create a new type of sports sedan, embodying the product concept for the new WRX series, "Pure Power in Your Control," and enabling more drivers to easily enjoy its impressive performance. By teaming sports performance with high levels of safety, environmental friendliness, and ride comfort, Subaru succeeded in crafting an accessible sports sedan that can be enjoyed by all drivers while still offering all the excitement of a performance vehicle.
< Chassis and Body >
Chassis and body performance have been thoroughly enhanced so that drivers can better control the absolute speed of combining Symmetrical AWD with a turbo Boxer engine.
Working to stiffen both body and suspension while optimizing suspension geometry has both quickened vehicle response to driver steering input and raised the limit performance for cornering. In addition, Multi-mode Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) and Active Torque Vectoring have been added for even more predictable, more enjoyable driving.
Many hours of in-depth suspension tuning have resulted in a flat, comfortable ride.
The electric power steering is employed with more rigid steering gearbox mounts for a improved fuel efficiency and a more direct steering feel.
The first model in the WRX series to be equipped with an electric parking brake for extra convenience.
< Engine >
The WRX S4 is equipped with a new high performance 2.0-liter Horizontally-Opposed direct injection turbo "DIT" engine for high power with environmental friendliness.
Produces 221 kW (300 PS) at 5,600 rpm and 400N・m (40.8 kgf・m) of torque at 2,000 to 4,800 rpm, while still achieving fuel economy of 13.2 km per liter*3 (JC08 mode).
*3: Data verified by Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.
Note: Fuel consumption figures were achieved under the set test conditions. Actual fuel consumption may differ depending on usage environment (climate, traffic congestion, etc.) and driving style (sharp acceleration, air conditioner use, etc.).
< Transmission >
Sport Lineartronic provides greatly improved shift response for a sportier ride than the existing Lineartronic applied for higher torque. This offers more drivers excellent environmental friendliness to go along with real sports driving excitement.
- Sport Lineartronic -
The Sport Lineartronic draws out the full potential of the 2.0-liter DIT Boxer engine in terms of power, torque and environmental friendliness, allowing for relaxed, environmentally responsible driving.
When driving in the D-range, selecting "Sport# (S#) mode" with "SI-DRIVE" switches to eight-speed shifting. Giving the Lineartronic a selectable mode in addition to its standard smooth shifting mode lets drivers directly feel the WRX's impressive power performance to better enjoy its sporty ride.
Following Subaru's safety philosophy of "ALL-AROUND SAFETY", performance in all safety fields have been enhanced.
< Preventative Safety >
Equipped with new version of EyeSight*4 offering even more advanced safety features including driver assistance at wider angles and longer distances, and color recognition. Other new systems include the Active Lane Keep steering assistance system, Pre-Collision Reverse Throttle Management and Brake Light Recognition. Pre-Collision Braking Control and Adaptive Cruise Control have also been enhanced to offer a full range of cutting-edge preventative safety technologies.
*4: System performance may be affected by such factors as poor driving conditions, weather, or vehicle state.
< Active Safety >
With Symmetrical AWD as a base, the body was lightened, rigidity improved and chassis performance enhanced along with VDC. All this gives the WRX S4 the best hazard avoidance performance in its class, making driving excitement a safe endeavor in any scenario.
< Passive Safety >
The WRX S4 employs more high tensile steel plating with strengthened joints with various structures. While helping to reduce weight, these changes also make for a stronger body with world-class safety performance in collisions from the front, rear or sides.
In addition to assertively using collision-absorbing structure for the hood and bulkhead, collision-absorbing material has been added in the engine compartment side for increased pedestrian protection.
The unrivalled WRX character from successive generations has been honed yet again by further improving its practicality as a performance four-door sedan.
The wheelbase has been enlarged by 25 mm, all of which was used to expand rear leg room. This gives the WRX S4 more elbow- and shoulder-room without changing the total body width.
The bottom end of the A-pillar has been extended 200 mm toward the front and the side mirrors mounted on the front door panels to add a new quarter window and keep the dashboard and door window sills lower. These changes make for a better visibility and sleek styling.
Front and rear door opening dimensions have been enlarged, making ingress and egress much easier.
Trunk space has been expanded and made easier to use by adopting fold down rear seats with a large opening and 60:40 split.
< Exterior >
Befitting of Subaru's flagship performance model, the exterior design expresses the strong presence of an ultimate AWD performance car with aggressive yet refined styling.
The front end was built using a nose cone design for a dynamic solid shape, starting with Subaru's unified design motif, the hexagonal grille. The intrepid shape of the new hawkeye headlights is paired with the aggressive wide and low styling the WRX is known for.
For side design, the bottom end of the A-pillar was extended 200 mm toward the front from the previous model and the C-pillar now smoothly transits into the trunk surface for a flowing silhouette. Front fender ducts and special sharp side sill spoilers show off the sporty nature of the WRX S4.
The rear design further enhances the WRX S4's appeal as a performance model. The diffuser-integrated bumper and twin dual mufflers emphasize the low center of gravity and driving performance. Specially designed rear combination lamps were given a thin shape to highlight vehicle width. A small rear spoiler also enhances aerodynamic performance.
A shark fin antenna is used to match the body and add more refinement to the styling.
New 18-inch alloy wheels were designed to be more rigid and lighter.
LED lighting is employed for the headlights (low beams and clearance lamps)*5, tail and brake lights and high-mounted brake light in an effort to improve fuel efficiency by saving power.
WR Blue Pearl and Crystal White Pearl are two new exterior colors.
*5: Manufacturer-installed option
< Interior >
The WRX S4 interior is all about high performance. The driver's seat was designed to be like a cockpit-the moment the driver opens the door, they get transported miles from their daily life.
For the first time, the WRX S4 gets a D-shaped steering wheel for a sportier impression. The grip shape is easy to hold onto with a small diameter for improved operability and tactile feedback, making for a more appealing driving experience.
The leather-finish gearshift boot features red stitching. Piano black finishes and metallic accents highlight the sporty, high-quality feel of the interior.
Befitting a high performance vehicle, the seats are designed with superior holding ability.
Decorative carbon trim panels and metal trim accents have been arranged around the interior, centered on the controlling elements. This gives the interior a quality feel and harkens back to the WRX racing image.
The meters employ a dual dial layout with horizontal needles, 3.5-inch full color liquid crystal display and aluminum rings for improved functionality and a quality feel. The attention to detail gives a refined, performance feel of a high performance car. The red-based lighting elicits a performance racing image, made even more noticeable by its contrast with the white needles.
As another racing symbol, the multi-function display is equipped with a boost pressure display screen.
The interior is solid black from roof to floor, bringing the whole interior together and allowing the driver to concentrate on driving. Quality materials soft to the touch are used in places the passenger will touch frequently for a more quality interior feel.
Red is used throughout on stitching and meters in homage to the WRX racing image.
< Major specifications (Japanese specs.) >
Body size (Overall length / width / height): 4,595 x 1,795 x 1,475 mm*6
Wheelbase: 2,650 mm
Engine: 2.0-liter Horizontally-Opposed direct injection turbo "DIT" engine
Displacement: 1,998 cc
Transmission options: Sport Lineartronic*7
Maximum output: 221 kW (300 PS) at 5,600 rpm
Maximum torque: 400 N・m (40.8 kgf・m) at 2,000–4,800 rpm
Tire size: 225/45 R18
Seating capacity: 5
*6: Roof surface is 1,465 mm
*7: Lineartronic: Continuously variable transmission (CVT) with fully automatic electronic control