Subaru Invites Journalists to Slay Tyres and Sample Latest Iteration of its Iconic WRX Model
When a car manufacturer invites you to “play” on a vast expanse of tarmac, you simply do not turn down the invite. Especially when there’s a promise of seat time in a WRX.
We found ourselves on an early Wednesday morning at Changi Exhibition Centre - a venue that we at Motorist are very familiar with. Scattered throughout the outdoor areas was a selection of upcoming Subaru models, all with their own stations to allow us journalists to properly put each model through its paces.
Gathering under the shade of the main tent, and in the company of some left-hand drive Subaru Solterras (these were Taiwanese demonstrators brought in for the event, more on that later), the journalist group of 10 was split into three groups, all assigned to their respective first stations. For us, this took the shape of the WRX driving experience.
Burning Rubber in the WRX
A makeshift course was set up to allow us to experience the driving dynamics of the WRX first-hand. It was refreshing being allowed to legally drive cars as fast as you so wished - or rather, as fast as the car/track combo would allow.
We first took control of the blue Sedan. Even with a spirited start, the car was very well composed, accelerating to roughly 90 km/h before the entry into Turn 1. It was a fast, double apex right hander, which significantly tightened at the exit of the corner. Trail braking was the way to go, allowing for precise deceleration into the first apex, providing optimal traction on the front end until you can jump back on the power again.That’s really all that we remembered of the layout. The car handled changes-of-direction with relative ease, lulling you into a confidence that it’d take any abuse you throw at it. A rude-awakening was had, as you tossed the car into an impossibly tight hairpin only for you to hear the dreaded shudder of front tyres crying for help. The vibrations through the steering wheel serve as a reminder that you need to carry less speed into this complex for your next attempt.
“Swap cars, have a go in the WRX Wagon tS” were the words the instructors said to us. In Sport+ mode, the factory-fettled rex woke up. The sticker tyres were a boon too, propelling us to about 110 km/h as we left-foot braked into T1. Where the regular Sedan struggled, the Wagon shrugged off the challenge.You can most certainly feel the rear end working, with torque vectoring helping to push the rear end through a corner in tandem with the front. This meant less understeer and a car that is significantly more composed if you wanted to drive it like an absolute hoon.
Self-Driving Demonstration with the Solterra
The staff members on hand were quick to tell us that the cars featured are Taiwanese vehicles. A little hard to miss in all honesty, considering the steering wheel is on the wrong side of the car. They weren’t too sure about the mechanical specifications of the demonstrators either. But these pieces of information were not relevant, for it was all about the car’s impressive auto-parking capabilities.It was put through a series of tests, with the car successfully parallel parking, as well as vertical and head-in parking. It also had safety systems to ensure a safe departure from the parking lot, regardless of vehicle orientation. And it did all these fully autonomously - yes, there is no need to shift gears on your own for manoeuvres like this in the Soltera.
The self-driving system is impressive. But the Solterra is an SUV, and Subarus are known for their AWD systems. Can an electric car have enough chassis articulation to clear off-road obstacles? The answer is yes, but not in the usual drive mode. In Subaru’s X-MODE, the traction control parameters have been adjusted, allowing for some slip to allow you to drive over any terrain you so choose.
Eyesight Test With the Forester
With the clouds closing in fast (it’s monsoon season after all), we were ushered to the final station. This was a demonstration of the Forester’s Eyesight system, which allows the vehicle to adjust its speed dynamically via its ACC system, centre the car in lane through its lane keep assist technology, and track and follow the path of the lead car.There was no drama to report here - and that’s a good thing, as it does mean the car did what it was designed to do in the first place. We were going to try out the emergency autonomous braking system, but the weather gods had other ideas. Strong gusts of wind blew over our marker, marking the end of the experience for us journalists. This is also why we're using a photo of a Forester from our mReview.
Experience Subaru Cars at the Motor Show!
Whilst you may not have been able to sample the cars with wheels turned in anger for yourself, you can still have a feel for these models at the Motor Show! And for those who are interested in seeing the WRXes being driven hard in a confined space, there’s always the Russ Swift stunt show!
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