The ’11 Subaru Impreza WRX now boasts the same wide-body design as its STI flagship relative, giving it a stronger performance edge, Subaru of America Inc. says.

“The new wide-body designs mark another major step on the continuous evolution of the WRX to give driving enthusiasts an even more compelling all-wheel drive performance package,” Tom Doll, executive vice president and COO-Subaru of America, says in a statement.

The WRX’s front and rear track both are widened by 1.5 ins. (3.8 cm), Subaru says, and wider wheels and tires, 17 x 8 ins. vs. 17 x 7 ins. in the ’10 model improve road grip.

The wider body increases weight of the ’11 WRX vs. the ’10 model by 33 lbs. (15 kg), the auto maker says.

Exterior styling changes for the WRX include a revised front grille with blacked-out Subaru wings and, in the 4-door WRX, wider fenders, which also improve drag coefficient.

Since its last full revision in ’08, Subaru has tweaked the WRX in each recent model year. In ‘09 the auto maker added its turbocharged 2.5L Boxer 4-cyl. engine, making 265-hp, to the lineup; new Limited trim lines were introduced in ’10.

The ’11 Impreza WRX goes on sale this summer at Subaru U.S. dealerships. Subaru will display the car at the 2010 New York auto show.

Sales of the Impreza were down 9.8% through February, while total Subaru sales were up 33.3% in the same period, Ward’s data shows.

cschweinsberg@wardsauto.com