Today's reveal of the 2008 Subaru WRX, the hopped-up version of Subaru's next generation Impreza line, was arguably the biggest most talked about set to spin on this year's New York Show turntables. But when the makeshift wall surrounding the car was finally peeled back during Subaru's press conference, the word "anticlimactic" definitely came to mind.
Anticlimactic? Yep, because WRX photos and details had already raced around the Internet in less than the car's own impressive 0-60 time.
Subaru's official press embargo was lifted on April 3, two days before the car's New York reveal, but the cat had leapt out of the bag hissing and scratching days before. It's far from the first time this has happened (the 2007 Detroit show saw similar leaks), and it won't be the last. Users scour the Web for every scrap of info on hot vehicles under deep cover, and according to Subaru, some even attempted to hack their site in order to get to the WRX goods.
And when someone does find and post something in advance of an embargo, you can bet it's going to wind its way onto every forum, blog and fan site around the globe with any interest in that vehicle shortly thereafter - and that's exactly what happened. On the flipside, despite the embargo break, Subaru had to be privately pleased about how passionate online users were and the determination they displayed to seek out any scrap of info about the car. Unfortunately for them, early returns were negative, with the majority of angst centering on its styling, which was roundly panned by online pundits.
But style is largely subjective, and the WRX, a car never known as a drop-dead looker, will ultimately be judged by how it handles, its 2.5-liter, 226 horsepower turbocharged engine and world-class all-wheel-drive system. Other factors, such as its interior improvements, will also play a part. In addition, Subaru is planning to push its base Impreza model more, and with much of the same underpinnings as its more famous sibling, it's a relative bargain at its price point, which should come in at right around $20,000, with the WRX likely starting about $5,000 or so more.
So while Subaru didn't exactly make the splash it could have at New York, in the end it won't matter a whole lot. What always matters most for any automaker are sales, and lots of them. If the early online feeding frenzy was any indication, something tells me the new WRX will sell just fine.