Subaru WRX S4

Subaru WRX S4 Review: “Has perfect handling & suspension system, but CVT has limits” by Takahito Nakamura

The WRX S4 model was introduced to the market exactly one year ago. Therefore, this model basically has not undergone major changes yet, but I felt that its steady marketability has been improving.

The main point of its minor changes is the developed advanced safety equipment called the “Advanced Safety Package.” The models equipped with the Rear Vehicle Detection System (rear side observation support function), side-view monitor, high beam assist, and the EyeSight functions will also be equipped with the EyeSight Assist Monitor.

Another big point about it is that it is also developed with optimized suspension and high performance tires as an option. As with the WRX STI, the S4 is also equipped with 245/40R18 high performance tires. Even though it is optional, it gives you upgraded performance in both its suspension and tires, and those two can be equipped as an optional set. As expected, it brings about changes in its riding feel and maneuverability, so I’ll talk about it later.

Aside from those changes, its quietness has also improved. Soundproofing materials were also applied to the front glass so it adds up to a more silent operation.

I’m hesitating to say the word “only” for this, but by investing 334.8 or 356.4 million yen, it would guarantee you a WRX S4 model with an incredible 300ps and 400Nm performance, and 4WD. If you look for this same performance in other automakers, the price might be 50% more expensive, but for this car, it is being sold with a suitable bargain price.

Specifically, I felt that while it is equipped with huge 245-size tires, it has a firm road grip brought about by its very smooth riding feel and its tire size. By the way, its price when you have it tuned with these thick tires as an option is 361.8 million yen. The STI’s base grade costs 379.08 million yen, so it’s a difference of 17.28 million yen. It is fairly close to the STI. Still, if you are looking for a car with manageable handling when driving in town, you can choose the S4.

Therefore, I want to give a perfect score for its impressive wheels and its genuine and natural handling. But the existence of its lineartronic CVT is not a good thing. A CVT offers very smooth and comfortable maneuverability when you drive around town. However, when I anticipated enjoying driving on winding roads, I cannot deny that its acceleration gets delayed in those conditions.
That made me think it has a time lag like that of a turbo boost.

It causes the CVT to not accelerate when you step on the accelerator, and you cannot expect it from this model no matter how it moves forward, so I have a feeling that you can’t really have a CVT with 300ps and 400Nm-high efficiency. Therefore, at any rate, the lineartronic hinders the good feeling in driving. But the performance of its other functions, except for this one, is perfect for its price.

â–  5 Star Rating
Packaging: ★★★★
Interior / Comfort: ★★★★
Power Source: ★★★★★
Footwork: ★★★★★
Recommendation: ★★★★★

Takahito Nakamura AJAJ Member

Born in 1952. He loves cars that adorned the pages of car magazines, even at the young age of four. He started working part time at a Super Car shop. He also has experience being an apprentice mechanic for Nova Engineering. After that, he went to Germany to continue his pursuit of knowledge about cars. He entered the journalism industry in 1977, and has been a fixture in it for the last 36 years. He continues to be active
as a freelance journalist.

(Translated by Claire Marie Sausora)