Back in the day Subaru knocked the Mitsubishi Lancer GSR off the AWD 2-litre turbo perch with its then new Impreza WRX. The ‘Rex’ then proceeded to take all before it to establish itself as the benchmark $40K weapon of choice.
A great product well marketed off the back of local and international rally successes ensured the WRX became a cult classic. Its ability to punch well above its weight in performance terms also helped greatly.
Despite a few bug eyed hiccups along the way the WRX has been a fixture in the affordable performance category, with regular sales continuing to tick over. No surprise, then, that Subaru Australia is making some noise about selling its 30,000th Rex down under.
Although, it must be said, Subaru Australia Managing Director, Nick Senior, does appear lost in his own hype, “I have lost count of the number of supposed competitors built up as Rex challengers, but they couldn’t cut the mustard, particularly the front wheel drive and rear wheel drive pretenders who soon got lost in the dust.”
If Senior truly believes the Rex hasn’t lost significant market share to the likes of Volkswagen’s Golf GTI and Mazda’s MPS 3, then he is kidding himself.
To be fair, though, no other car in the WRX’s segment can match its longevity in the Australian sales charts over its 15 year life cycle. It’s just a shame the car’s exterior design team lost its mojo when creating the current model.
Impreza WRX Smashes New Sales Record
Subaru’s iconic Impreza WRX has passed the 30,000 sales mark in Australia.
The turbocharged Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive model, affectionately dubbed “Rex” by owners and enthusiasts alike, was a game-changer for both Subaru and the Australian automotive market, following its launch in March 1994.
Amazingly, 15 years later, it still sells for the same price – $39,990.
It quickly gained a cult following for its no-nonsense performance credentials, incredible grip and great value.
Putting many considerably more expensive supercars to shame, with its outstanding power to weight ratio, power and torque, Impreza WRX rapidly established a whole new class of “pocket rockets.”
“The dawn of Impreza WRX is an amazing milestone in our history,” said Subaru Australia Managing Director, Nick Senior.
“Just like the Subaru Forester and Outback, it effectively established a new class of vehicle, one that many have now followed.
“It paved the way for the low-volume and even more potent WRX STI versions, that have become the closest thing to a professional rally car at an accessible price.”
He added: “It’s amazing to see that the Impreza WRX price today is the same as what we offered at launch, yet there’s so much more specification, so in many ways the current car is even better value.”
Still regularly selling around 150 a month, Impreza WRX remains a firm Australian favourite.
“WRX has seen many competitors come and go in the last 15 years, but its intrinsic engineering, quality and sheer fun have made it a true survivor with a distinct place in Australia’s automotive history,” said Mr Senior.
“I have lost count of the number of supposed competitors built up as Rex challengers, but they couldn’t cut the mustard, particularly the front wheel drive and rear wheel drive pretenders who soon got lost in the dust.”
Impreza WRX STI variants took Subaru to 10 consecutive Australian Rally Drivers’ Championships from 1996-2005 and eight Manufacturers’ Championships, including six consecutive from 2000-2005.
Impreza WRX also produced a long list of special editions, which feature prominently in retained value lists.
Previewed at the 1993 Sydney Motor Show, Impreza WRX launched with a 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder Boxer engine, producing 155 Kilowatts of power at 6000 rpm and 270 Newton metres of torque at 4800 rpm.
Current Impreza WRX features a 2.5 litre turbocharged engine that produces 195 kW of power at 6000 rpm and 343 Nm of torque at 4000 rpm.
While Impreza WRX is meaner, it’s also greener – lower fuel consumption and emissions result from the engineering refinement.
Other changes now include:
- 0-100 km/h 5.3 seconds (6.5 in 1994)
- 17-inch wheels (15-inch in 1994)
- Framed doors, for added rigidity and security
- Dual front, side and curtain airbags
- Electronic Throttle Control
- VDC electronic stability control
- Five-star ANCAP safety rating
Impreza WRX is a multiple award winner, including:
- 1998 – Impreza WRX: MOTOR Bang for your Bucks winner
- 1999 – Impreza WRX: MOTOR Bang for your Bucks winner
- 2000 – Impreza (including WRX): Wheels Car of the Year
- 2001 – Impreza WRX: Australia’s Best Car in the Sports Car Under $56,000 category
- 2002 – Impreza WRX STI: MOTOR Bang for your Bucks winner
- 2003 – Impreza WRX: Australia’s Best Sports Car Under $57,000 – an honour jointly shared with the Mazda RX8.
- 2004 – Impreza WRX: Australia’s Best Sports Car Under $57,000
- 2005 – Impreza WRX STI: MOTOR Bang for your Bucks winner
- 2009 – Impreza WRX: MOTOR Bang for your Bucks winner