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Subaru WRX STI (2014–)

Last updated 6 November 2017

Powerful and vocal boxer engine. Responsive handling with mountains of grip. Large and practical interior.
Running costs are huge. The attention-seeking exterior won't be for everyone. Cabin feels cheap and dated.
Updated 1 November 2017
WRX STI Final Edition launched

Limited to 150 models, it has changed from mechanical and electronic to electronic control of the Multi-Mode Driver’s Control Centre Differential (DCCD) which provides optimum cornering ability....

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Introduction

The Subaru WRX is a high performance family car that's built in the same image as the Imprezas that dominated rallying in the late 1990s. As a result the WRX has a boisterous road presence that's backed up by a 2.5-litre boxer engine pumping 305PS through a race-tuned four-wheel drive system. However, while enthusiasts will enjoy the fun and theatrics, the WRX doesn't actually improve the old and tired Impreza formula.  

The WRX is powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder petrol boxer engine, producing 305PS and 392Nm of torque. The 2.5-litre engine is high revving and full of vocal character, with the 0-62mph dash taking just 5.2 seconds. Power is sent to all four wheels through a six-speed manual transmission that has been reinforced to provide a shorter throw.

The WRX is extremely capable with its stiff chassis providing good balance and lots of feel in the corners. The four-wheel drive system is also excellent, with seemingly endless grip that will make the Subaru apt for high octane driving in all but the harshest of conditions.

Yet, for all of its grip and power, the WRX has some notable drawbacks: the steering is heavy and needs considerable work to get the best from it, while the cumbersome gearbox makes rapid gear changes difficult. The engine is loud at motorway speeds too and the brutal ride makes the WRX a gruelling experience for passengers over long trips. 

The WRX does have a large cabin though, with ample head and leg room for up to four adults. The boot is a decent size too, with 460 litres; however, the interior lacks quality, while the layout feels rather dated compared to the modern and airy cabins of the Honda Civic Type R and the Volkswagen Golf R.

For enthusiasts the WRX will undouble represent the embodiment of a high performance Subaru; the styling is typical of the old Impreza WRX, with a large bonnet scoop and oversized rear spoiler, while diehards will find the booming 2.5-litre engine to be the perfect accompaniment to the WRX's all-round retro appeal. However, for almost everyone else, the WRX will feel like something from a time warp. 

Indeed, compared to the Volkswagen Golf R and Honda Civic Type R, the WRX is too uncompromising, too noisy and too arduous to be considered as a daily driver. The running costs are also painfully high, with a claimed 27.2mpg and 242g/km of CO2. Subaru’s standard warranty is also reduced from five year/100,000 to just three years/60,000. 

 

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