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Current generation of Subaru Impreza WRX gets colorful send-off

| Friday, April 19, 2013, 9:27 p.m.

Subaru decided to say goodbye to the current generation of its Impreza WRX pocket racer with a limited run of Special Edition WRX sedans, all with a tangerine orange pearl and black paint.

The exterior differences include jet-black, 15-spoke wheels, black front-fender badging, black exterior mirrors and custom black graphics. The interior includes dark trim borrowed from the top-of-the-line WRX STI, including a black headliner; orange stitching on the cloth seats, shifter boot and door panels; and orange-trimmed monogrammed floor mats.

Performance remains the same, though: The WRX's 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder boxer engine got a power boost in 2009, up to 265 horsepower and 244 pound-feet of torque. In 2011, the WRX got a 1.5-inch wider track and lighter, inch-wider wheels. Still, this generation of the WRX high-performance compact is faster and more powerful than the previous. Zero-60 mph can be achieved in about 4.7 seconds, and the next generation should top that.

For 2013, the WRX remains on the chassis of the previous-generation of the Impreza, whose lower-powered and lower-priced versions got a makeover this year.

The WRX Special Edition lists for $28,795, which is $500 higher than the WRX premium model. Production has been limited to a few hundred units, so how these are allocated to dealers will depend on each dealer's history of WRX sales, Subaru says.

Although meant more for the track than the daily commute, the WRX is suited to both, if you choose to go that route. The front seats were heated and supportive, with plenty of legroom and headroom — 43.5 inches and 39.3 inches, respectively.

There is room for five in the WRX. The rear outboard seats were comfortable, while the middle was somewhat less. Rear passengers had 33.5 inches of legroom and 37.4 inches of headroom. All rear seating positions had three-point restraints and anchors for child safety seats, and the middle seat had an adjustable headrest.

A bit of a disappointment was the audio system; with only four speakers, the sound was adequate but not impressive. But the sedan includes satellite radio, Bluetooth technology, MP3/WMA/CD, and an auxiliary input jack and USB port in the small cubby at the rear of the center console.

Emma Jayne Williams writes auto reviews for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

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