It is sad to see how far from grace the WRX has fallen in recent times. With Subaru’s WRC exploits now a distant memory and with McRae and Burns long gone, there’s nothing now to link it to its glory days. And instead of moving with the times and presenting the punter with state of art interpretation with each successive generation, it’s a car that, more than any individual fault, just feels old.

Everywhere but nowhere more than the design of its interior, it is clear the world has moved on and left it behind while Subaru’s efforts to keep it on the pace have been half-hearted and inadequate. In this cut-throat market place where C02 emissions are just as important as 0-60mph times even for a car such as this, the WRX comes across not so much as a bad car, but one that was once good but is now simply and clearly out of date.

It's unlikely to tempt many premium car owners out of their seats, or even hot hatch buyers

And yet we cannot bring ourselves to damn it entirely. Call us sentimental old traditionalists, but the WRX still has something. You can’t see it or touch it, but you can feel it every time you drive it in the throb of the flat floor and the feel of its steering. For all its faults, this car has character and if that’s what matters most to you in your hunt for a high performance compact hatch or saloon, it may well be worth a look.

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For us however it’s not close to being enough. When your competition includes such as the BMW M135i, a smattering of residual charm will not see you through. Seen objectively the list of reasons for choosing it over the Subaru is as comprehensive as they come. It’s a car that’s had its time, and that time has now passed.

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