The WRX is back with a roar!

CHANCES are if a new Subaru Impreza pulls up next to you at the traffic lights you won't even give it a second glance.

CHANCES are if a new Subaru Impreza pulls up next to you at the traffic lights you won't even give it a second glance.

And for me, that's a good thing.

Gone is the pretentious rear-wing on the boot and gold-rimmed mags that might look cool driving around the streets of Ventersdorp on a Saturday evening, but that's about it.

Don't get me wrong, the Impreza hasn't gone soft. In fact it will probably have more street-cred than ever, it just isn't hanging from the rafters and shouting about it.

The only giveaways that this is no ordinary sedan is the trademark air scoop on the bonnet and that sought-after WRX badge on the rear. Oh and the twin exhaust pipes!

Ah, those exhaust pipes. Keep the revs low and they sound like a church choir. Put foot to the floor and they erupt into a symphony of madness! Yep, the WRX is back with a roar!

According to the people at Subaru, this new-generation vehicle is better than its predecessor in just about every department - power, torque, consumption, emissions.

But then again, that's the direction the majority of cars are taking these days.

The last time a Subaru was launched it was held at the Gerotek testing track, just outside Pretoria.

It's an ideal place to launch a high-performance vehicle - long straights, a steep bank, no traffic. Unfortunately one journalist got a little carried away and wrote off one of thecars.

Taking no chances this time round, journalists were invited for a brief drive around the busy streets of Sandton.

It's hard to judge a vehicle like the WRX in such an environment but what I can tell you is that the raw power we associate Subaru with is still there ... in abundance. With 195kW and 343Nm of torque, this will be enough to keep a smile on many petrolheads.

A major change with this new-generation WRX is that it has resorted back to a 5-speed gearbox from a 6-speed.

It has a top speed of 210km/h, which although well over the legal speed limit, is not exactly the stuff that will have sweat dripping down the back of your neck.

But it's what happens between 0 and 210km/h that the fun lies. Acceleration is extremely brisk and any sign of turbo-lag a thing of the past. Expect to do 0-100km/h in just over five seconds.

Interior-wise the plastic trimmings and seats now come in a jet black hue. Standard features include a sunroof, high-backed sports seats with the WRX logo embossed in them and airbags allround.

This is no ordinary car to get you from A to B. It's for the driver who appreciates high-performance motoring with that racing-car feel.