Subaru is testing an early mule for what appears to be a WRX hatchback.
Immediately following the debut of the ’15 WRX four-door sedan, enthusiasts wondered if a five-door hatchback WRX variant was also on the horizon. The questions spawned a variety of answers—most of them quite vague—which gave no clear answer as to whether a more cargo-friendly WRX—based on the all-new model—would see the light of day. The mule seems to answer, "Yes, a WRX hatchback is in the works."
The test mule has taken the body of the current Impreza five-door hatchback and modified it with extra width. The front fenders and full front fascia from the ’15 WRX have been grafted onto the front. At the rear, evidence of the additional width is visible, primarily around the rear fuel-filler door and the taillights, as the body protrudes out farther than on a normal Impreza hatch. The modifications appear to match the specifications found on the latest WRX, which is 2.2-in. wider than the standard Impreza (70.7 in. vs. 68.5 in.).
The WRX hatchback mule appears to be in an early state of testing, and outfitted with subtlety in mind—the better to fly under the radar and go undetected in these early tests. The WRX's hood scoop is hidden with a metal panel that looks to be removable, thanks to seven screws outlining the cover. The full WRX exhaust and more aggressive wheel-and-tire setup are also not in place yet, all of which would draw more attention to what would appear to be a rather innocuous Subaru to the casual observer. This is a strategy Subaru has displayed in the past. As testing progresses, those high-performance add-ons should begin to appear.
The testers were careful to keep the engine hidden from photography, covering the mechanicals any time that the hood had been raised during its desert tests. Subaru is rumored to be working on an updated version of the WRX-spec Boxer engines, reportedly adding direct injection, which may be part of the components being trialled in these early tests.
Photo credit: KGP Photography