The auto world was shocked when the first images were leaked of Subaru’s next-generation Impreza and its sporty WRX variant. Almost everyone who saw them came to the same conclusion, that either it was some sort of prank or that Subaru’s designers had totally lost the plot. This was evident in the furious posting across car enthusiast forums as well as the hundreds of heated emails directed towards Subaru in the days following the release.

Now, after the car’s official debut at the recent New York Auto Show, Subaru of America senior vice president Timothy Mahoney has told Ward’s Auto that most WRX fans have come to accept the new design. “The WRX is a really emotional product and it has a very loyal following,” he said. Mahoney then went on to explain that most people came around after seeing the car up close, referring to the 100-odd WRX enthusiasts that attended a special post-show event hosted by Subaru.

Mahoney admits the original shots posted by Motor Trend were not ideal and didn’t present the car in the best light but it did generate some excitement for the official reveal, which proved to be a “white-hot” event for Subaru. The new model Impreza will hit showrooms in the US by August with pricing for the sporty WRX starting in the mid-$20,000 range. Both the WRX hatch and Sedan will run Subaru’s familiar 2.5L flat-four turbo, developing 224hp and 306Nm of torque.