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Mitsubishi‘s Lancer Evolution offers a dual-clutch gearbox on their top of the line MR model, but Subaru only offers a manual gearbox on their flagship Impreza WRX STI. But that’s about to change in Australia, where the STI will soon be available with a 5-speed automatic.
According to Subaru Australia, demand for an automatic WRX STI has been quite strong. With Australia being such an important market for Subaru, the company was happy to acquiesce to the demands of slushbox-coveting driving enthusiasts. Don’t be surprised if this shows up Stateside, where 91% of new cars are automatics.
After missing the mark in 2008, Subaru continues to add higher levels of performance to the WRX, bumping the power output to 265-hp in 2009 and now announcing that for 2011 all WRX models will come with the STI’s wide-body. And it’s not just for show either. Starting in 2011, those flared fenders will make room for a track that is 1.5-inches wider in both the front and rear. Inside each fender a set of 17×8-inch wheels come mounted with wider 235/45/17 tires – which can only add to the all-wheel drive grip.
In addition, the WRX also gets a new front lip and larger blacked-out grille and air intakes, not to mention the addition of the STI’s rear subframe bushings. Subaru will continue to offer the WRX both as a four-door sedan and five-door hatchback.
“The new wide-body designs mark another major step on the continuous evolution of the WRX to give driving enthusiasts an even more compelling all-wheel drive performance package,” said Tom Doll, executive VP of Subaru of America.
Subaru will officially unwrap the 2011 Impreza WRX at the New York Auto Show next week and we’ll be on hand to bring you plenty of photos, with live coverage starting March 31st.
Click the link below to see our NY Auto Show coverage with live updates starting March 31st.
GALLERY: 2011 Subaru Impreza WRX
Official release after the jump: