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Watch Higgins' mind-blowing Subaru WRX STI Isle of Man record lap in first-person

Fri, 27 Jun 2014 20:00:00 EST

Have you gotten sick of Subaru and the Isle of Man? Good, we'd hope not, because of all the videos we've posted so far, today's is the crown jewel. In-car, around the notoriously treacherous race track, with commentary from David Higgins himself.
It gets better, though. Overlaid with the video is the same biometric data that we showed you last week. The result is a heart-pumping, 22-minute video of the record-breaking sprint around the entirety of the Isle of Man TT circuit at a truly wild pace. Higgins commentary, meanwhile, simply adds to the experience of hurtling across the landscape. Subaru has also put together a second video, highlighting the WRX STI that was used in the lap.
You can view both of those videos, as well as a short press release from Subaru, below. Scroll down and take a look.

Which is quicker in the standing mile, a Subaru WRX STI or a Porsche Cayman?

Thu, 26 Jun 2014 20:00:00 EST

The 2015 Subaru WRX STI and 2014 Porsche Cayman are both saddled with unfair reputations. The STI with its huge wing and gold wheels has the title of the ultimate boy-racer. On the other hand, Porsche brand snobs look down on he base Cayman as just a wannabe 911. In reality, they are both pretty fantastic performance cars. But what would happen if the two of them lined up at a stoplight, and maybe the guy in the suit in the Cayman started throwing some revs at the young man in the STI? Automobile decided to find out in a recent video pitting the two stereotyped hot rods against each other in a standing-mile drag race.
In terms of raw numbers, they are surprisingly close. Both use flat engines and six-speed manual transmissions here, but the Subaru has more power and torque. However, the Porsche makes up for it with 300 pounds less weight. Neither should have a problem with traction either thanks to the STI's sophisticated all-wheel-drive setup, and the Cayman's mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout.
The comparable specs certainly show themselves in the real world for the race. We're not going to give away the winner here because it's too exciting, but let's just say the finish is very, very close. Scroll down to watch both of them shrug off their stereotypes and show off their real performance.

Watch Mark Higgins whomp the Isle of Man TT course in a 2015 WRX STI

Fri, 20 Jun 2014 12:00:00 EST

Subaru has made another trip to the infamous Isle of Man TT, bringing along its all-new 2015 Subaru WRX STI. The goal? Best the already impressive time set by rally ace Mark Higgins and the 2011 Impreza WRX STI on the same swirling, high-paced ribbon of tarmac. Of course, you already know how that went.
What we didn't know when the story first broke, though, was that Subaru was monitoring data. Specifically, Higgins' data. He was fitted with a monitor that would record his heart rate, breaths, skin temperature and the g forces he was faced with as he lapped the 37-plus-mile road course. While Higgins and Co. were aiming to best their 2011 time (19:56.7), this year's effort also saw a push to beat the time of the sidecar racers.
You can get a recap of the entire event, with plenty of footage and data from Higgins' lap in the exhilarating video below. Take a look.

Subaru SVX to be resurrected with hybrid power?

Thu, 12 Jun 2014 11:02:00 EST

Salt. Get the salt. A new report out of Australia is claiming that Subaru is working on a new SVX. Yes, seriously.
Now, this is not feasible for a pair of huge reasons. First, the demand for a two-door Subaru, as we've seen with the BRZ, has not been tremendous. Second, the original SVX was a pretty horrible seller. Could the world be ready for a revival, though?
According to an unnamed source that spoke to Motoring.com.au, the reborn SVX will be based on the Viziv 2 Concept that was shown at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, but it will be a considerably more aggressive design, arriving as a low, wide shooting brake. According to the Aussies, the reborn SVX would ride on a new Subaru Global Platform, which will underpin the next-generation Tribeca, because of that platform's support for hybridization.

2015 Subaru WRX: Introduction

Tue, 10 Jun 2014 11:57:00 EST

"As far as street-legal rally cars go, there's still nothing better than a WRX." I wrote that line following my first drive of the 2015 Subaru WRX late last year - one of the better motoring experiences I had in 2013. Sure, a particularly involving drive route helped, but I don't want to sell the new Subaru short: it's a seriously good car - easily one of the sharpest, best-driving little turbos available today.
When I drove the even hotter 2015 WRX STI in January, it was a similar love-fest. The STI is infused with all of the WRX's greatness, but it's sharper, meaner, and on good roads (and race tracks), the winged wonder is really outstanding. But because of its higher price tag, less forgiving suspension tuning, and only marginal performance increases, I'm convinced that the STI isn't the best WRX for the money. And much as I love it, I just don't think I'd ever buy the STI over its more sedate sister (though I totally understand why others might).
So when it came time to add a new long-term car to the Autoblog fleet, many votes were cast in favor of the WRX. There was a lot of debate about whether or not to get the standard version, or the mightier STI. But at the end of the day, my argument that the basic WRX is the better daily driver - nee, one of the best all-around, all-weather performers money can buy - carried the day.

2015 Subaru Outback priced at $24,895*

Thu, 05 Jun 2014 19:01:00 EST

Just a few weeks after announcing the pricing for the 2015 Legacy sedan, Subaru is getting ready to roll out the all-new 2015 Outback with a base price $24,895, plus an $850 destination charge. Like its platform-mate, the styling could be described as an evolution of the previous generation, but the company claims big changes underneath to improve comfort. It's scheduled to starting hitting dealers this summer.
The Outback continues to share most of its mechanical bits with the Legacy, including its engines. The 2.5-liter boxer-four-cylinder gets a touch more potent with 175 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque, and better fuel economy at 25 miles per gallon city, 33 highway and 28 combined. The 3.6-liter flat-six-engine has 256 hp and 247 lb-ft and also sees a marginal economy improvement at 20/27/22. All models now come standard with a CVT, and Subaru's Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive gets some improvements with standard Hill Descent Control, Hill Start Assist, Active Torque Vectoring and X-Mode, a system to increase traction when needed.
The base 2.5i trim goes for $25,745 (all prices after destination), up $425 from last year's CVT base model. It comes standard with a 6.2-inch touchscreen infotainment system with a USB port and AUX input. The 2.5i Premium trim retails at $27,845, but the upgrade nets buyers dual climate zones, a 10-way power driver's seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel, all-weather package and a 7-inch infotainment system. The 2.5i Limited costs $30,845 and includes leather upholstery, 18-inch wheels, a 12-speaker stereo, heated rear seats, lane change assist, rear cross traffic alert and a power tailgate. The top The 3.6R Limited trim is $33,845 and in addition to the bigger engine features HID low-beam headlights and stainless steel dual exhaust tips.

WRX Concept styling may transfer to production Impreza, next WRX

Thu, 05 Jun 2014 13:01:00 EST

Remember the original concept that previewed the latest generation Subaru WRX? If not, then just look above for a gallery of photos following its debut at the 2013 New York Auto Show. We loved it, and thus, were sort of disappointed when we first saw the less-aggressive production model.
It's not that the production 2015 WRX is ugly, per se. It just doesn't have the gaping grille, four-door coupe lines or squinting headlights that give the concept so much verve. But as it turns out, Subaru might have realized that it was on the right track with the more assertive styling. Rumors coming out of Australia suggest that the shape could form the basis for the next-generation Impreza, and next WRX, along with a major platform shift.
Subaru chief designer Mamoru Ishii tells Motoring that that the next-generation car will ditch the rather utilitarian current design in favor of something more exciting. Like the WRX concept, the design will start wide at the bottom for an aggressive stance and taper up to the roof. That styling would likely get even more aggressive for the next 'Rex.

Mark Higgins sets new Isle of Man record in Subaru STI

Wed, 04 Jun 2014 11:30:00 EST

Subaru has done it again, setting a new four-wheel lap record around the 37.75-mile TT Mountain Course at the Isle of Man. Mark Higgins in a 2015 WRX STI rocketed through the country roads at an average speed of 116.40 miles per hour to circle the track in 19 minutes, 26 seconds, thereby beating his previous record of 19 minutes 56.7 seconds from 2011 in an STI.
According to Subaru, speeds during the lap ranged from as little as 30 mph to over 160 mph. The STI was mostly stock with the only major mechanical change being different springs and dampers to handle the course's famous bumps at such sustained high speeds. For safety, it also had a rollcage, racing harness, and fire suppression system.
"It was quite a lap we did today and I am really happy to have another record in the bank. The chassis of the new car is so much better it really allowed me to pick up time in each sector in the more technical parts of the course," said Higgins about the run in the Subaru.

Cosworth announces Power Packages for Subaru BRZ, Scion FR-S with up to 380 hp [w/video]

Sat, 31 May 2014 12:59:00 EST

Cosworth stands on the list of the most famous engine tuners in the world with its DFV engine engine dominating Formula One for a time in the '70s. So when it teases plans to take on the FA20 engine from Subaru and Toyota found in the BRZ, Scion FR-S and Toyota GT86 abroad, our interest is indeed piqued. Cosworth is promising to take the 2.0-liter, four-cylinder boxer engine from its current 200 horsepower all the way to 325 hp and even 380 hp in a future track version through a series of staged Power Packages. At the moment, only the first stage is available that takes the mill to a potent 230 hp.
Cosworth says that its new strategy is to offer its upgrades in kits rather than individually so that it can be sure that everything works and fits when owners receive it. The Stage 1 Power Package emphasizes helping the FA20 breathe better and includes a nearly complete replacement for the stock exhaust system. There is a sports exhaust with four-inch, diagonally cut, polished tips and Y-shaped muffler, an overpipe front pipe with a spherical resonator and a new manifold header that is 22 percent lighter the standard unit. In addition to that, the kit comes with a software reflash, low temperature thermostat, Cosworth badge and plaque.
The stage one kit is available now, and stages two and three go on sale later this summer, according to its website. Autoblog contacted Cosworth for pricing information for the kits. We will update this story, if we hear back. The company also released a video showing off the exhaust upgrades. Scroll down to watch it and read the full release, below.

Subaru BRZ gets updates, limited-edition Series.Blue model for 2015

Thu, 29 May 2014 17:29:00 EST

The popular complaint about the Subaru BRZ is that its 200-horsepower, 2.0-liter-boxer engine is underpowered compared to other, modern sports coupes. Subaru isn't doing anything to address that for the 2015 model year BRZ, but the company does have some aesthetic upgrades ready for its rear-wheel-drive two-door and a limited-edition version with a more aggressive body.
The big news for the 2015 BRZ is the Series.Blue Special Edition (pictured above) that is limited to 1,000 units for the US with 500 of them in the brand's famous WR Blue Pearl and the other 500 in Crystal White Pearl. Mechanically, the special models are unchanged with the 2.0-liter boxer engine and a six-speed manual, but they wear an exclusive, black, STI-branded body kit that includes a new lower-lip front spoiler, rear spoiler, side sills and underbody panels. Subaru claims the whole setup increases front downforce and decreases the car's coefficient of drag from 0.28 to 0.27. To match the new kit, the limited-edition cars feature black, 17-inch wheels from STI with contrasting red brake calipers hiding behind them. The interior sees nearly as many changes as the outside with black and blue leather sport seats with blue stitching, and a similar motif for the steering wheel, shift boot, parking brake and kneepads. The illuminated engine start button gets an STI logo, as well. The Series.Blue arrives at dealers in July for $30,285, after the $795 destination charge.
The rest of the BRZ lineup isn't left out and has some minor upgrades of its own, with revised damper settings, stainless steel exhaust tips, a body-color shark fin antenna and a simulated carbon fiber dashboard panel - similar to the upgrades found on the 2015 Scion FR-S. Two new colors are available - Ice Silver Metallic and Crystal White Pearl. Prices are up $100 across the board for 2015. After destination, the Premium trim is $26,490; the Limited is $28,490; the Limited with an automatic transmission is $29,590. The 2015 models hit dealers this summer. Scroll down to read the full announcement.