Preview by Justin Pritchard, photos by Jonathan Yarkony and courtesy Subaru

Hopefully, the Subaru fan club won’t send a group of questionable-looking men to my house with baseball bats and nunchuks for the following comment, but here goes. The Subaru WRX is getting old. The cabin is dated, the styling has come and gone, and an update very, very due.

So, to the delight of enthusiasts and owners, the Japanese automaker most popular for their AWD technology released a teaser concept that represents a peek at the next-generation WRX – and it’s pretty darn sweet.

We know that the next-generation WRX, and the eventual boy-racer STI variant thereof, won’t share their platforms with the Impreza sedan. As they did with the BRZ, Subaru is finally giving these performance models their own dedicated platform.

From the rear, designers specified four large exhaust pipes with green trim rings for some flare. There’s a massive rear splitter, presumably functional and engineered for downforce, as well as an integrated trunk-lid spoiler and some slick-looking slivered taillamps that wrap into the quarter panels and are bisected by the trunk.

2013 Subaru WRX Concept2013 Subaru WRX Concept
2013 Subaru WRX Concept. Click image to enlarge

Up front? A prominent grille that’s a touch Aston Martin or Jaguar-ish, and a funny-looking set of fin-shaped, LED-powered signal blinkers mounted down low in the bumper.  The headlamps, dubbed ‘Hawk-Eye’, look mean and high-tech – as if the hawk from which they came was of the robotic, carbon-fibre variety and capable of shooting lasers from its wings while flying through a firestorm.

Oh, and there’s a hood scoop, of course. Badass!

From the side, the concept boasts some depthy, wedgy shapes that nod to the wide-body look of the current WRX – including some badged fender slashes in aluminum. Lightweight wheels wrapped in Dunlop performance tires got a lot of attention on the autoshow floor, as did the two-piece brake rotors and radioactive-green calipers that look like something out of a high-dollar supercar.

That’s all set against a body that’s low and wide and features a coupe-like proportion despite a four-door layout. Subaru officials say it emphasizes the turbocharged power and AWD grip in a more athletic form than the current roadgoing model.

2013 Subaru WRX Concept
2013 Subaru WRX Concept. Click image to enlarge

I’d say they’re right.

Hell, this thing looks like some teenagers got hold of it and took it on an all-expenses-paid trip to go-fast-goody land with mommy’s Visa. Did I mention that the roof was made of carbon fibre?

That’s about all we have to go on, though. Subaru is somewhat tight-lipped about what’s under the WRX’s hood, though it’s known that it’ll be a variant of the two-litre direct-injected four-cylinder they’ve put in the new Forester with a turbo, and in the new BRZ without one (for now).

Subaru recently launched a 296-horsepower version of this engine in a not-for-Canada version of their Legacy Sedan. Since it’s turbocharged, creating more or less power output for model-specific applications is a cinch. Let’s hope they don’t turn it down too much.

All said, the new powerplant boasts some new technologies, and some advancements on old technologies, that will help meet the ever-trendy goal of delivering improved performance and fuel consumption figures. Direct injection, variable cam timing and lightweight aluminum construction are some examples. Expect a six-speed manual transmission to replace the currently available five-speed box, too.

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