A prototype for Subaru’s next-generation WRX is seen here undergoing high-speed testing at Germany’s Nürburgring circuit.

The new car finally drops the Impreza name in order to signify its unique engineering and technology, but sadly the exterior resembles that of the latest Impreza despite Subaru’s promises for greater differentiation between the two.

The reveal of the WRX concept car at the recent 2013 New York Auto Show showed a great deal of promise, though the overall design appears to have been neutered somewhat for the production model.

Key elements borrowed from the concept include vertical fender vents, crescent-shaped tail-lamps and an aggressive rear diffuser.

The new WRX, which should be revealed early next year, as a 2015 model, is expected to be powered by a 2.0-liter boxer four-cylinder engine, although it’s unclear if a regular turbocharger will be used to boost power or more sophisticated means (such as an electrically-driven charger).

The engine will be closely related to the unit in the BRZ, but will come with Subaru’s own direct-injection system. The regular BRZ engine borrows a direct-injection system from Toyota.

Dropping down to a smaller 2.0-liter displacement from the current model’s 2.5 liters is advantageous for certain motorsport classes as well as being more fuel efficient. Power levels, however, won’t deviate much from current levels, though the performance of the car will be improved thanks to a lighter curb weight.

This means the 2015 Subaru WRX should output around 265 horsepower while its eventual WRX STI variant should deliver as much as 305 horsepower. A symmetrical all-wheel-drive system will remain standard, as should the choice of sedan and hatchback bodystyles.

Note, pricing is expected to rise beyond the current model’s $26k sticker now that the BRZ takes up the entry-level performance role.


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