MONTGOMERY VILLAGE, MD., January 7, 2016 – I accidentally became the owner of a late model Subaru WRX. Was I in for a terrific surprise.
For sport/muscle car enthusiasts, cylinder displacement is usually everything. Four cylinder engines are to be snuffed at as underpowered. This is until they drive a Subaru and especially a WRX.
If you travel the back roads of Appalachia, you will be surprised at the relative large number of Subaru vehicles. In this part of the country residents need a dependable, economic car that is able to negotiate the mountainous terrain. Many of these Subaru vehicles are of the small SUV type, big enough to carry a full family and able to haul all types of materials. All Subaru models, except for the sports model BRZ, are all wheel drive, making them very attractive in hilly terrain and long winters.
Subaru vehicles are long-lasting and also relatively inexpensive to purchase. These factors make it popular in a blue collar working class area like the Appalachians and probably in other similar rural areas.
Not that urbanites don’t join in their enthusiasm for Subaru. These cars are well represented in any urban gathering place and their owners are happy to tell how much they like them. They are perfect for the suburban commuter or stay at home mom/dad. They are spacious, and the cross over SUVs are big enough to carry suburban cargo.
The standard engine is a fuel injected four cylinder 2.0-liter engine. The Tribeca model is the only six-cylinder equipped model. All four cylinder models offer a turbo charged option. These are very peppy cars, especially when turbo-charged.
And then there is the WRX.
The WRX SP1 is a David among the Goliath six and eight cylinder cars in our domain. Its fuel injected, turbo-charged four-cylinder engine does 0 to 60 in less than 6 seconds. Its subtle, run of mill sedan appearance is a superb disguise for the monster inside. Its stiff suspension keeps the car glued to the road in curves at high velocity. Don’t keep too much stuff inside as it will fly all over the car in one of these curves.
The Subaru WRX owner can’t stay anonymous for too long. He/she will get knowing looks from other Subaru owners or just those that are in the know about it.
A favorite trick, juvenile I admit, is to be at a light next to one of those over-priced Teutonic boxes and casually wait for the light to change. Next thing they know, the Subaru WRX is half a block ahead and gaining. Typically, if they catch you at the next light they will rev up their engine and take off, this is the time for you to be blasé and just take off regularly, you made your point.
Don’t worry, the dew will be off the rose soon and you will not have to prove your superiority anymore and risk a ticket or something worse. You can just sit at the light and give yourself that smile.
What is the point?
That a well-designed, four-cylinder engine vehicle can be as much of a speed/power demon as a twice as expensive six or eight-cylinder car.
But even more than that is how elegant of a solution this is. For engineers this is paramount. Making things more efficient is elegant.
The bad news? You can feed it only High Grade gasoline.
Mario Salazar, the 21st Century Pacifist, is an engineer that has owned big engine sports/muscle cars in the past and is rethinking the whole deal. He loves his Subaru WRX. He is in Twitter (@chibcharus), Google+, LinkedIn and Facebook (Mario Salazar).