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PlayStation generation, rejoice! The Subaru WRX is back, in an all new form. Making its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show, the new performance hero (we can’t call it a production rally car anymore, can we?) promises the return of sports car performance combined with four-door sedan practicality.

It looks rather decent, though significantly toned down from the breath-taking WRX concept shown earlier in the year. It’s a significant improvement over the cooking Impreza, that’s for sure, but we wonder if we’d all be more enthusiastic about the appearance had Subaru not skyrocketed our expectations with the blue concept. Perhaps this is one of those “less is more” situations.

Up front, it gets Subaru’s new family look, with a prominent hexagonal grille with swoopy ‘hawkeye’ headlights to emphasise its low and wide stance. Looks very similar to the larger Legacy-previewing Levorg concept show in Japan, doesn’t it? Like its interiors, Subaru seems to be taking the one-size-fits-all approach to its new models.

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Compared to the outgoing, somewhat forgotten WRX, the new one has the base of its A-pillar moved forwards by 200 mm for a sleeker silhouette, while the C-pillar now flows more smoothly into the boot to achieve a less upright appearance. Round the back are smaller, more dynamic taillamps above four exhaust pipes nestled within a large black diffuser.

Now comes the really interesting part – performance. Under the well-defined hood is a brand new 2.0 litre horizontally-opposed direct-injection turbo (DIT) Boxer engine giving out a healthy 268 hp at 5,600 rpm and 350 Nm of torque from 2,000 to 5,200 rpm. That’s a small gain over the existing 2.5 litre turbo’s 265 hp and 330 Nm.

Subaru’s signature Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system is present, of course, splitting the power to the lightweight 17-inch wheels through a six-speed manual transmission or an optional Sport Lineartronic CVT. The latter has a fixed eight-speed mode, and its shift response has been improved specifically for the WRX.

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Chassis tweaks (stiffer body and tuned suspension), together with Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) and Active Torque Vectoring systems work together to offer what Subaru describes as “even more predictable, yet engaging handling.” The electric power steering has been adjusted to give a more direct steering feel too.

Inside is where the WRX loses its plot a little. Here, you get the same boring dashboard design Subaru uses in the Impreza, XV, Forester and even the Levorg concept (and thus the next Legacy too). Someone should remind Subaru that you should only stick to a design if it’s actually any good in the first place.

Anyway, the cabin materials are said to be an improvement over the old model, and the new flat-bottomed wheel, supportive seats and red highlights cement the WRX’s sporting intentions. The multi-function display now includes the all-important boost pressure gauge, while interior space has been improved, thanks to a 25 mm-longer wheelbase.

So what do you all think, is the new Subaru WRX worth getting excited about?