Subaru WRX STi: Return of the Saloon Racer

14 Replies

It seems like only yesterday when the last Subaru WRX STI was sold in the UK amid an outcry of sentiment on the sad loss of this iconic model. Well last year that all changed with the launch at the start of the summer of the latest WRX STi model (dropping the Impreza monkier) and at the end of last year Gormley Motors in Dungannon gave us the chance to drive one to see what we thought.

Steeped in History

For myself as a huge Subaru fan, I have driven all WRX STi’s from the first one produced and must admit the thought of there never being another was somewhat of a blunt end to every boys dream car, so it was great to get to grips with the latest model on a dry winters afternoon.

Subaru WRX STi

During development, Subaru honed the driveability of the new WRX STI to perfection, testing it under a wide variety of conditions around the world. As with past generations of the model, extensive testing also took place on Germany’s Nürburgring circuit to ensure the WRX STI is the pinnacle of Subaru AWD sports performance.

At its heart is a 2.5 litre turbo-charged Subaru Boxer four-pot engine, which in STI guise, produces 305hp and 290lb/ft of torque. The six-speed gearbox has been reinforced and now adopts even shorter throw and slicker, sportier shift feel.

Subaru’s trademark Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive employs the latest vehicle dynamics control (VDC) and Active Torque Vectoring for maximum control and driver engagement. Spring and damper rates have been meticulously re-tuned to provide a more compliant ride while retaining body composure, and the electronic power steering is now mounted on a more rigid steering gearbox mount for improved fuel efficiency and more ‘direct’ feel and response.

Subaru WRX STi

An increase in wheelbase of 25mm gives the new Subaru WRX STI greater rear leg room.  As well as more shoulder and elbow room inside the cabin, without increasing the exterior dimensions. By moving the bottom of the A-pillars forward by 200mm and adding a quarter light to the front window, drivers have better visibility all round. Boot space is increased and ingress and egress are improved with larger door apertures.

A lot of work has also gone into improving the perceived quality of the Subaru WRX STI interior. For the new model, highlights include a new D-shaped steering wheel of smaller diameter and designed to give the driver maximum feel. Soft touch materials are used in key areas while new dials and carbon effect and metal trim are also employed.  This gives the STI both a suitably sporty feel and more upmarket ambience.

Is the Subaru WRX Well Equipped?

Equipment wise the Subaru WRX STi has a plethora of features to highlight what the car is about which include the rear spoiler and bonnet vent.  OK they stand out like a streaker on sports day along with the quad exit exhausts poking from the rear bumper diffuser, but it most certainly mean business. Behind the 18inch wheels are a set of 17inch brake discs which let’s face it, most new cars these days don’t even have alloys that are 17inch so they are more than capable.

Body colour options are limited to Black, Grey, White and the infamous Blue that Subaru is renowned for. LED head and tail lamps come as standard along with electric folding heated mirrors so it is moving towards some comfort compared to its early predecessors.

Inside the cabin is clad with Leather and Alcantara with coloured stitching and flashes of colour on the seats, I must say it has a good quality feel when in the driving position and looks very up to date which is welcomed, the seats were firm and expectedly unbelievably supportive thus encouraging you into an aggressive drive as you know fine well that your bum nor upper body are sliding anywhere.Subaru WRX STi

The Subaru WRX STi is as happy being a family steed as it is ripping up the back roads or race tracks as it comes with a great six speaker audio system with mp3 device input and Bluetooth connectivity, ISOFIX child seat anchors, rear door child locks and for added safety whiplash reducing seats and hill start assist. With such a good spec as standard there are limited options with Leather seats and Sat-Nav being the main.

The boot is a very healthy 460litres which compared to rivals is comfortably between the Golf R and the Octavia vRS so in laymans terms a decent size that’s able to cope with golf clubs or a week’s luggage for a family or indeed a buggy. The rear seats split and fold for a larger loading space should it be required.

Subaru WRX STi

All in all a thoroughly enjoyable place to be and when required extremely rapid to boot with a hell of a lot of practicality and now that they are coming onto a year old there could be a few ex demonstrator models about that could be great value.

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About Author

Graham is a professional photographer and motoring writer with over 15 varied years of coverage from manufacturer press launches to international motorsport and rally events throughout the world. Graham is a full member of the Guild of Motoring Writers. See more at

RMS Forum Comments

brendy replied at 14:08, Mon 23 Mar, 2015
Great that they are still making them, pity its so far removed that they cannot call it an Impreza any more though.
Gambit replied at 17:39, Mon 23 Mar, 2015
Had a nosey round the one down in eastwoods and they are lot nicer in the flesh imo
Graham replied at 17:40, Mon 23 Mar, 2015
They can GO also but like all modern cars not as raw as what they once were, however this is the most RAW modern performance car i have driven in a long time
AndyG replied at 17:51, Mon 23 Mar, 2015
Best looking impreza to date!
brendy replied at 17:57, Mon 23 Mar, 2015
| Great that they are still making them, pity its so far removed that they cannot call it an Impreza any more though.
| Best looking impreza to date! :D
Stu Beck replied at 18:05, Mon 23 Mar, 2015
| Best looking impreza to date!
Should have gone to spec savers!
AndyG replied at 18:16, Mon 23 Mar, 2015
Sure yas knew what i was talking about (Y)
MATT93 replied at 09:13, Tue 24 Mar, 2015
Great write up, they do look great in person!
Graham replied at 09:38, Tue 24 Mar, 2015
| Great write up, they do look great in person!
Thanks :D
PeteMoore replied at 22:45, Tue 24 Mar, 2015
Have to say, the last two generations of WRX STI have both been fantastic, not only in looks, but how they go and feel on the road.