With its traditional blue body and gold wheel the Subaru WRX RS40 will turn plenty of heads

With its traditional blue body and gold wheel the Subaru WRX RS40 will turn plenty of heads

To whet our appetite for the upcoming new generation WRX, due here in March 2014, we’ve just spent a week in the limited edition RS40 version of Subaru’s iconic pocket rocket.

The WRX RS40, so named as it commemorates the 40th anniversary of Subaru’s arrival in Australia, is only available in sedan form with numbers strictly limited to 300 units. The WRX has been on sale for almost half of these 40 years and fans will be delighted to know that all RS40 models come with the famous colour combination of blue body and gold alloy wheels that carried the car to World Rally championship wins.

Somehow the term “hot-sedan” doesn’t have the same ring to it as “hot-hatch” but the trend away from hatches towards sedans has been growing over the years as the boy racers mature so Subaru’s decision does makes sense.

Priced at $44,490 the Subaru WRX RS40 also includes a number of components from the Subaru Tecnica International (STI) motorsport division including front lip spoiler, large rear spoiler, short-shift gear assembly and tower strut brace.

Other features are Recaro seats with blue coloured Alcantara inserts, exclusive RS40 decals; and a numbered RS40 internal badge. Subaru Australia estimates the value of the above at $7000.

2014 Subaru WRX

2014 Subaru WRX

The Subaru RS40 uses the same 2.5-litre turbocharged boxer engine as the standard WRX with maximum power of 195 kW and peak torque of 343 Nm. The flat-four engine still has that distinctive note and exhaust throb that really appeals.

There’s still turbo lag, enough to be irritating at times, but there are always going to be compromises in getting over 340 Nm from 2.5 litres of engine.

2014 Subaru WRX

2014 Subaru WRX

Fuel consumption is listed at 10.4 litres per 100 kilometres although during our week-long test we sat closer to 12.0 L/100 km. You don’t get something for nothing in this world and performance engines are always going to like a drink.

Thankfully Subaru WRX RS40 only comes with a manual gearbox but one of the few disappointments is that it’s the five-speed unit from the standard Rex rather than the six-speed that’s used in the STI.

2014 Subaru WRX

2014 Subaru WRX

All the excitement from the Subaru WRX RS40 comes from looking at it from the outside and the joy of driving it. The interior is quite bland with few of the enhancements that we’ve come to expect from the modern car.

Front space is fine although the ample-buttocked will have their driving fun diluted by being wedged uncomfortably between the high bolsters. Rear seat leg room is limited and boot capacity, helped by a space saver spare wheel, is a reasonable 420 litres.

2014 Subaru WRX

2014 Subaru WRX

During its 20-year lifespan Subaru WRX has built a well-deserved reputation with those who like plenty of performance at an affordable price and the RS40 ticks all the boxes in terms of driving enjoyment and excitement

The WRX retains its longtime ability to hold onto the road in a most satisfying manner no matter how slippery the surface. Wet weather driving is exceptionally safe, with high reserves of grip thanks to the use of Subaru’s famed all-wheel-drive system.

Naturally the suspension is firm which translates into brilliant cornering although rougher roads made the car find the suspension bump stops on quite a few occasions, sending a real shudder through the body.

Subaru continues to push hard on the safety front and the WRX, like every other model in the Australian Subaru range, has received the maximum of five stars from the ANCAP crash test regime.

Styling of the WRX has become more conservative over the years so it’s great to see the old blue and gold back. At $44,490 the RS40 is just $4500 more than the standard Rex which, at $39,990, is the same recommended retail price the car was offered at when launched in Australia nearly 20 years ago.

A check with Subaru Australia has confirmed that the RS40 is still available although it might be wise to contact your local dealer as soon as possible before the last of the 300 is snapped up.

Looking forward to the new generation WRX, which was unveiled at this year’s Los Angeles, and for the first time will break away from the Impreza underpinnings upon which all previous models have been built.

Using a similar approach to the one it used to sell the BRZ Subaru Australia offered the first 100 cars to customers who pre-ordered online. These buyers have been allocated an individually numbered car upon delivery, plus their first scheduled service for free.

After the first 100 pre-order deposits are taken, sales will continue through the traditional Subaru retail network.

Pricing and specifications will be announced closer to the new WRX’s launch around March.


WRX 2.5-litre four-door sedan: $39,990 (manual)
WRX 2.5-litre five-door hatch: $39,990 (manual)
WRX RS40 2.5-litre five-door hatch: $44,490 (manual)
WRX STI 2.5-litre five-door hatch: $59,990 (manual), $54,990 (automatic)
WRX STI Spec R 2.5-litre five-door hatch: $65,990 (manual), $60,990 (automatic)
WRX STI 2.5-litre five-door hatch: $59,990 (manual), $54,990 (automatic)
WRX STI Spec R 2.5-litre five-door hatch: $65,990 (manual), $60,990 (automatic)
Note: Prices do not include government or dealer charges. Contact your local Subaru dealer for driveaway pricing.

SPECIFICATIONS (Subaru WRX RS40 2.5-litre turbocharged four-door sedan)

Capacity: 2.457 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders horizontally opposed
Head Design: DOHC, four valves per cylinder
Compression Ratio: 8.4:1
Bore/Stroke: 99.5 mm x 79.0 mm
Maximum Power: 195 kW @ 6000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 343 Nm @ 4000 rpm

Driven Wheels: All-Wheel-Drive
Manual Transmission: Five-speed
Automatic Transmission: Not offered
Final Drive Ratio: 4.444:1

Length: 4580 mm
Wheelbase: 2625 mm
Width: 1795 mm
Height: 1475 mm
Turning Circle: 11.0 metres
Kerb Mass: 1410 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 60 litres
Towing Ability: 650 kg (1200 kg with braked trailer)
Boot Capacity: 420 litres (742 litres with rear seat folded)

Front Suspension: Independent, MacPherson struts, anti-roll bar
Rear Suspension: Independent, double wishbones, anti-roll bar
Front Brakes: Ventilated disc
Rear Brakes: Disc

0-100 km/h Acceleration: 5.3 seconds

Type: Petrol 95RON
Combined Cycle (ADR 81/01): 10.4 L/100km

Greenhouse Rating: 5/10
Air Pollution Rating: 8.5/10

Three years/unlimited km

About Alistair Kennedy

Alistair Kennedy is Automotive News Service and Marque Publishing's business manager and the company's jack-of-all-trades. An accountant by profession, he designs the Marque range of motoring book titles, operates the company's motoring bookshop on the NSW Central Coast and the associated web site, as well as its huge digital and hard copy database. Whenever we can escape from the office he does so to cover new vehicle releases and contributes news stories. Alistair's other interests include cricket and family history on which he has written three books.
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One Comment

  1. WorldRacingBlue

    Hi all not trying to show off. I have a RS40 in 2021 a great example. 12.000ks I’m so bothered why subaru gave false figures on this car..I do not race it and have never done a launch. However have did 3 runs with obd2 scanner. Reving from 2.000 take off.
    Im not the quickest of drivers but I’m getting constant 12.7 12.8 12.8. Don’t tell me a kn box filter does that increase. As the car is stock. Serviced on the day every 6m with kn white oil filter and mobil 5/30. I realise many car company’s lie about the output numbers even lower the power down for the car MAG testers. (Unless there paid) , it’s to do with something called fuel economy.

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