The ubiquitous star of the World Rally Championship circuit and edgy X-game competition has brought even more excitement and performance to the model you and I can call a daily driver.
In 2008, Subaru redesigned and rebuilt the Impreza lineup. In 2009, the WRX team worked toward a goal termed “Kyo-Ka” (translated from Japanese as “strengthening”) to make the Impreza model even more appealing to factory tuner aficionados.
For 2011 buyers now have a choice of two body styles for the first time ever with the STi logo on them.
A “wide and low” four-door sedan model returns to accompany the five-door sportwagon and with it the return of the big wing spoiler on back.
Building up from the all-new platform, Subaru engineers have given the 2011 WRX STi significantly enhanced suspension tuning, stiffer spring rates, larger stabilizer bars and re-tuned suspension damping. They have also added a new damper valve to the steering gearbox for improved steering feel and better response.
The model is better balanced as well, thanks to lowering the engine mounting height, and of course being a Subaru, WRX features standard symmetrical all-wheel-drive keeping this little rocket glued to road at all times. If you were to look up “corners on a dime” in wikipedia they would probably have a picture of the Impreza WRX STi listed there.
Subaru’s great little 2.5-liter “Boxer” four-cylinder engine cranks out a beefy 305 horsepower and 290 lb. ft. of torque and takes full advantage of the chassis and suspension upgrades for a real “showroom to track” experience. Fuel economy rolls in at 17 mpg city and 23 mpg highway.
While base Imprezas can be ordered with an automatic transmission, the six speed manual gearbox with triple-cone synchronizers on the low gears is the only way to go for the STi. Shifts are solid and tight and the clutch will not wear out your left calf muscle even in stop and go traffic. The WRX manual transmission also features the automaker’s anti-rollback technology so hill starts are a snap as well.
The driving experience in the STi is enhanced even more thanks to multi-mode driver controlled center differential on the AWD system as well as Subaru’s Intelligent Drive (SI-DRIVE) offering three settings – intelligent, sport and sport sharp – to match the demands of the driver and the moment.
Attaching the WRX STi to the roadway are 18-inch BBS alloys sporting sticky Dunlop summer performance rubber. Braking is accomplished thanks to the Brembo Performance Brake System that employs ventilated four-wheel discs at each corner along with Super Sport ABS technology to enhance stability under hard braking.
Inside we find a perfect blend of performance paired with comfort including leather sport bucket seating, power moonroof, HID headlamps, audio system with steering wheel mounted controls, Bluetooth and iPod connectivity, and our tester came with the GPS nav system.
Pricing for the 2011 Subaru WRX STi sedan begins at $37,345 with our test model arriving at $39,870.
Domo arigato Kyo-Ka.