Currently reading: No new Subaru WRX for UK
New Subaru WRX performance saloon is unlikely to make the UK line-up of what is now “primarily an SUV brand”

The next Subaru WRX is undergoing testing at the Nürburgring following last month’s New York motor show concept appearance, but indications are that the model is unlikely to make it to the UK. 

Contrasting with its rich rally heritage, Subaru is now “primarily an SUV brand”, according to UK boss Paul Tunnicliffe. Speaking at the launch of the new Forester, Tunnicliffe acknowledged the huge contribution that the WRX sub-brand has made to Subaru sales. But he said there was “an inevitable end of product life cycle happening with it”.

He added: “Things are now in a different place. That market is not as big as it used to be. The EC has strict CO2 targets, and unless you’re selling lots of hybrids or electric cars, a product like WRX STI is hard to justify.” 

Tunnicliffe also cited the increased cost of ownership and insurance as problematic, plus the unfavourable yen rate. The last batch of current-model WRX STIs was eventually discounted by £5000 before recently selling out, and there are no plans to import more.

Subaru’s ‘niche derogation’ means that its EC CO2 target is less aggressive than most. This year its cleanest 75 per cent of cars sold will need to average less than 164.6g/km, but that average will incorporate all sales by 2015 and could be seriously skewed by another high-performance model. The last WRX STI produced 243g/km of CO2.

A new 237bhp, direct-injection 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine features in the Forester but is paired with a CVT to moderate CO2 emissions to 197g/km — a compromise unlikely to satisfy WRX fans. Its turbo sits underneath the engine, too, so the test mule’s bonnet scoop indicates a different choice of powerplant.


Read our review

Car review

The STi is fast, grippy and offers immense value, maintaining an image Subaru has cultivated through years of rally pedigree

Join the debate

Add a comment…
Mark Egan 30 April 2013

I met this man....

Paul Tunicliffe at an event many, many years ago for a blog interview. He was vague, evasive and disinterested. I thought he'd gone a long time ago, the cars are pretty good as are most of the dealers. 

Peter Cavellini 30 April 2013

Back to topic......?

Do we think Subaru are scared that if they brought the WRX here, it might affect sales of their BRZ?

Marv 30 April 2013

Peter Cavellini wrote: Do we

Peter Cavellini wrote:

Do we think Subaru are scared that if they brought the WRX here, it might affect sales of their BRZ?

Hey Peter, you may have a point.

Subaru have definitely lost their way here in the UK.

I also think Sirwiggums' well presented points highlight what Subaru are missing.  Perhaps they should focus their efforts on making their vehicles visually more interesting (like their concepts), improve their interior quality and increase the number of diesel engines offered. I think investing in a smaller capacity diesel for the XV (perhaps a 1.6) and maybe a higher powered version of the 2.0 (~180BHP) for the Outback and Forrester may tempt a few more buyers.

Sadly, at the moment Subaru are not the first (or even 5th) brand that springs to mind when considering an SUV even with their off-road herritage.

Sad times for the brand indeed Sad

IainStirling 29 April 2013


Autocar wrote: the test mule’s bonnet scoop indicates a different choice of powerplant.


Erm, no it doesn't.  The bonnet scoop indicates where the intercooler is - the turbo can be wherever they like (but would usually be near the exhaust!).  The intercooler on the XV and Forester is also at the top - it's just they don't need the scoop because they have re-directed some air from the grill.