Subaru WRX STI tested

By ARIS ZARIL | 7 October 2015


In the rally scene, few names bring as much excitement as the letters STI. The image of a raging blue, mud-laden rally car immediately comes to mind.

So iconic was Subaru’s race-bred beast that it is unquestionably the car that comes to mind when mentioning the brand. The car we got was the range-topping WRX STI.

Yes, the Impreza nameplate was dropped, as the Japanese manufacturer felt Subaru Impreza WRX STI was quite a mouthful. And yes, it came in the iconic WR Blue Pearl body shade.


Despite being based on the humbler Impreza sedan, the WRX STI is quite easy to distinguish externally, thanks mostly to its humongous rear wing, which I believe is among the largest seen on a road-going car. The overall design isn’t as mad or racy as previous editions, and is best described as a somewhat matured racer.

Design elements are neat and subtle. Sleek character lines run from the bonnet, down the front wheel vents and flow graciously to the flared arches of the rear, giving the WRX STI a rather understated, muscular profile. Slim, auto-levelling LED headlamps adorn the front while rounded ones cover the rear.

All-round 18-inch (Dark Gun-Metallic) aluminium alloy wheels and quad tailpipes are a tell-tale sign that this car means business.

A step inside reveals a cabin that is best described as ‘functional’.

The WRX STI doesn’t boast a sports car cockpit; in fact much of the dashboard is carried over from the regular Impreza – even the sports gauges look almost retro!

Ergonomics however, is pretty sound, with everything located where you’d expect it to be.

No fancy touchscreens here, but you do get a decent multi-function LCD display with boost pressure meter, which is rather neat.

Worth mentioning is the reverse camera display on the same said screen, which is amazing given its miniscule size by today’s standards.

Wannabe racers will rejoice as there are aluminium pedals and a leather-wrapped steering wheel that both look good and feel great.

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The seats are also finished in lovely Alcantara with red stitching.

Popping up the air-scooped aluminium bonnet reveals the heart of the beast – a 2.5-litre turbocharged boxer engine, generating 221kW and 407Nm of torque.

The engine benefits from a Dual Active Valve Control System (Dual AVCS), which helps to produce a flat torque curve across a wide rev range. This is mated to a slick six-speed manual transmission for the ultimate raw driving experience.

From the get-go the WRX STI makes no disguise of its near-300bhp power.
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The aforementioned Dual AVCS ensures easy drivability at medium and low speed, and when you push it harder, the horses make themselves felt.

Implemented into the WRX STI, the SI-DRIVE (Subaru Intelligent Drive) is a neat feature, which effectively gives you three engines in one.

Intelligent mode gives you a smooth, comfortable ride that assures the best fuel economy while Sports mode gives you more immediate power for an exciting drive. The Sports Sharp mode is the most hard-core, and allows maximum utilisation of the car’s engine power.

Subaru Tecnica International’s tuning is evidently clear; body roll is near non-existent, and the car wraps around corners like a rollercoaster.

The six-speeder is incredibly well-balanced and slick, providing smooth, quick shifts. This car is indeed designed for those who love the experience of driving.

While safety isn’t exactly first on the mind of those looking for a sporty ride, it does give some peace of mind knowing that Subaru put a lot of thought into this.

The car comes with all-round wide-diameter Brembo ventilated disc brakes and a ring-shaped reinforcement frame is implemented into the body structure to reduce impacts from any angle. In addition to this, the WRX STI is equipped with not only front, front-side and curtain airbags, but also a knee airbag for the driver.

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The ride, while understandably stiff, is surprisingly rather liveable. In fact, the best part about the RM280,393.16 (on-the-road with insurance and GST) WRX STI is the fact that this road-legal rally car still doubles-up as a legit family car in the weekends – it has decent room for five, and a large boot for your supermarket shopping.

This should ensure no objections from the family should you decide to drive this sports saloon home. Just make sure they’re okay with having a car with an aircraft-sized rear wing on the boot lid.

> This review was done in association with Hankook. The recommended 17-inch tyre is H452 Ventus S1 Noble2.




CarSifu's Rating: 8.2