What’s blue and gold and barks like a lunatic dog on winding roads? Why, a Subaru WRX STi, of course! An incarnation of a poster car revered by both children and fully grown men, the rally wonder car has returned to the UK after a considerable absence, bringing with it a refreshed exterior and a lot of spilled milk courtesy of a possibly overzealous husband (or wife!) taking the “family” car to the supermarket.
On a more serious not, Subaru explained the absence of the STi from the British market due to a modification of the Yen exchange rate, but as of recent, the culprit has reached a certain balance, thus allowing the Japanese manufacturer to import the road going rally car at a competitive price.
With the new generation, a few changes have occurred, the most obvious being the shortening of its name. According to Subaru, we aren’t allowed to call it “Impreza” anymore, as that particle is reserved for the lesser car and the full designated name will remain Subaru WRX STi.
The exterior has also received an update, being arguably better looking than the previous generation, but its blocky aesthetics prevent it from being heart arresting. The LED headlamps have become longer and sharper, wrapping around the front wings. A black mesh grille, with the blue Subaru logo in its centre and the STi badge on the side stands just above the massively sculpted front bumper, which encompasses an air admission and a twin bank of fog lights. A centrally mounted hood scoop brings back memories of a racing machine and signals that this is not a granny’s automobile.
The side profile is sleeker, thanks to the 5mm drop of the roofline and the slightly altered overall figure. Massively flared wheel arches host 18 inch aluminium alloy wheels with a Gunmetal Grey finish, while the more compact rear end is now home to a large air diffuser that includes four exhaust tips, two on either side, LED rear lights and a huge rear wing mounted on the boot lid.
But it makes noise – a lot. If you’re buying it to go to work, it will become your favourite toy. Rev it before you leave your driveway and it will transform into the most efficient alarm clock in the neighbourhood.
Subaru WRX STi – 5 Point Review
The interior is not exactly an area screaming of premium content, as you’ll find the odd hard plastic here and there and the carbon fibre trim decorating the cabin is not genuine. However, it’s an improvement coming from the previous generation and the fans will appreciate that – and let’s be honest – you’re not buying the car to show off how much hectares of wood you have inside, you’re buying it to hoon it up and down, all day long. Or something along those lines…
A triple spoke leather wrapped steering wheel, dubbed “D wheel” by Subaru, lets you control the beast, while Recaro sport seats come as standard.
As a consequence of the fact that the A pillar sits 8 inches further front, the glass surface has increased, leading to improved visibility and a more airy interior, improving on the slightly claustrophobic cabin that characterized previous iterations of the vehicle.
Perhaps the single most important aspect of the Subaru WRX STi, the driving experience is reminiscent of the older versions, meaning that it retains the same feeling of Japanese muscle, but it also improves on the handling. A lighter body, up to 140% stiffer than the one produced for the previous iteration, coupled with a suspension system that has been stiffened by 22% in the front and 6% in the rear, insuring no body roll whatsoever.
The SI-Drive management system is capable of altering the throttle response and comes with three settings: Intelligent, Sport and Sport Sharp; the first will provide a linear throttle response, while the latter will nail you to your seat. Not recommended if you’re carrying eggs.
With the arrival of the new model, new components also made their way to the vehicle, but an unfortunate fact is that the old engine is reutilized in the 2014 car. Electrical problems made Subaru’s less of a joy to own, but a recent study has concluded that they occur less often, thus improving the general perception of the brand.
Safety features include ABS, Brake Assist and Hill Hold Control, ABS, a host of airbags including front, side and curtain, a low tire pressure monitoring system and a rear view camera.
Starting at £28,995, it represents quite a good value for money, if you’re looking to have fun, that is. If you’re looking for luxury, we’d advise you to look elsewhere.
For the mentioned sum, you will receive a 2.5 litre boxer engine, capable of delivering 301 bhp through a six speed manual with short ratios, connected to a four wheel drive system. 0 to 60 comes in 5.1 seconds, while the declared top speed is 160 miles per hour. A not so wonderful figure is represented by the fuel consumption, which will be 27.2 mixed cycle according to the manufacturer, but a more realistic value would be one revolving around 19-25mpg.
For the driver and front passenger, the Subaru WRX STi will feel very spacious, as the front seats have various degrees of adjustment, while the steering wheel is adjustable in depth as well as in height. Step in the back, and the story changes: despite an extra two inches compared to the previous car, there is still not enough room to properly relax your legs, so long journeys will be a bit tiring. Headroom will also pose some difficulty to tall persons, but on the upside, the boot measures 460 litres, so you can stow away one of your friends in there with ease.
If you require further information on the Subaru WRX STi, click here.