However, according to MRT Performance, there's some nifty bits that aren't so much concerned with power as they are handling. Apparently, the biggest and most critical new development for the next-generation WRX and STI is the new ‘Axle Forward Layout’ chassis configuration. This was seen on the Exiga Concept car at the 1997 Tokyo Auto Show. The AFL is designed to give the new WRX and STI even better handling, balance and stability thanks to the positioning of the clutch and front differential.
With the clutch and diff effectively switching places, the front axle is now located further forward than before, meaning the engine can be positioned lower and further back in the chassis, thus optimising front-rear weight distribution. This modification also permits the wheelbase to be lengthened, which also serves to enhance interior space and allows for a revision of the suspension components.The only problem I find with this news is that, later in the article, they say the WRX "will be powered by a revised version of the current model’s EJ25 2.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder boxer engine" which conflicts with the FA20 engine we saw at the auto show. Granted, it's an Australian-based blog, so they may be getting different configurations than the US. The AFL makes sense, especially considering the information supplied in the Walkaround Video mentioned that the engine placement is lower than before. This AFL design would permit that.