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I am a big Subaru fan, I am sure you have realized it by now, Subary are safe, Subaru are reliable, and Subaru are bloody fast! The WRX STi has always been the best thing to come out of Subaru, the Liberty B4 (GT) is up there as well but nonetheless, the WRX STi is like a chocolate cake with triple layers of cheese, stuffed with Ferrero Rocher and served with cream. In other words, some people like it, some people hate it.

Initially I really wanted to give the Impreza the number 1 spot for the best sports car (under $65,000) in Australia, but I decided to put it in third. The WRX STi is the top of the range Impreza, below it sits the WRX WP10 (Australian limited edition) and then the standard Impreza WRX.

The WRX STi starts at $56,990, which is a good $16,000 more than the standard WRX. So what do you actually get for the extra $16,000? For a start the STi uses the exact same engine as the standard WRX, albeit with a bigger turbo and intercooler and some more basic mods done by Subaru Technica Internation (STi), bigger gold wheels, thankfully the STi doesn’t come in auto, instead it comes with a 6 speed manual (compared to 5 for the WRX) and with massive brakes:

rear disc brakes – 316mm
front disc brakes – 326mm (Brembo calipers)

The STi Engine puts out 206kW of power and 392Nm of Torque, this is compared to the standard WRX’s 169kW and 320Nm of torque. The 0-100km/hr time is reduced by half a second from the standard WRX, as the STi does the dash in just 5.4 seconds.

The important thing about the STi isn’t that its just faster and better equipped than your standard WRX, its more that the car has been built as a race car. With suspension that gives you back pain, a massive rear wing that can be spotted from 5 km away, a road presence that turns the head of any car nut, the STi tells the world one thing, I am a seriously fast car.

The Two-tone blue and black seats that reside in the blue STi are a little outdated, It makes me wonder why Subaru doesn’t just opt out for the Recaro seats like the ones found in the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX. The alcantara-style highlights, racing pedals, and an all too uninspiring gearshift are also found inside the STi.

Subaru Impreza WRX STi MY06

All be said, the STi isn’t a car for those that take their kids to school, and that’s not just because their kids will get beat up by the bullies who are jealous of their dad’s car, but more so because they might value their children’s well-being and would prefer a nice, soft and comfortable ride and so they’d probably either buy a big 4WD or a boring 4/6 cylinder family car. Either way, this isn’t a family car.

Its a shame the limited edition Subaru Impreza WRX STi 22B (2 door STi) that came out a few years ago in a limited run, is no longer being made, because the STi begs to be a 2 door sports car, there is absolutely no reason for the STi to be a four door, excusing the fact that Subaru have to base it on their rally car (which is 4 door), the majority of STi owners would not need it to have 4 doors.

I say its not a family car because unless your family likes going around corners at 90km/hr, the STi will be a waste. Put the STi into a corner and the unlimited amount of grip that you get makes you wonder if the laws of gravity still apply when you’re driving this car. Similar to the Evo IX the Subaru has a feature to set the computer-controlled centre diff using a knob on the slightly dull centre console. A feature more suited to a Porsche 911, the STI’s Driver Control Centre Differential (DCCD) features a torque sensitive gear type LSD working with an electro-magnetic clutch.

Subaru Impreza WRX STi MY06

Unless you really know what your doing, you’re best leaving these settings in auto and allowing the car to figure the power ratio out for it self; which it does by measuring the steering wheel angle and current traction, amongst other things . However if you’re game, and I am sure you will be once you drive this beast, the DCCD gives you the choice to manually set the front-to-rear torque split by picking from six settings.

The reason this car doesn’t make it past the Evo IX isn’t just due to personal taste, the current 2.5L STi is matched to the teeth with the Evo, however if you are going to buy an STi it means that you are after a car that can only be described as hardcore, and if you are going all out and buying an STi, the Evo IX presents the better choice.

So this is why it is not in the number 1 spot, unlike the Mazda RX-8 which is built to be a sports car, the WRX STi, just like the Evo IX, is built on top of a boring family car. However despite having 4 doors and sharing its heritage with plebian model, the WRX STi can out-handle cars that are nearly 5x its price, the fuel usage isn’t that great, but its not that much more than your standard WRX, 11.6L/100km for the STi compared to 10.9L/100km for the WRX.

Nevertheless, it has to be said that for the $16,000 that you are spending on top of the standard WRX, not only can you make your standard WRX faster, but also far better looking than the STi using the money you save on some aftermarket modifications, I guess it depends if you value the warranty on your car!

Standard Equipment list follows:

6 Speaker Stereo
ABS (Antilock Brakes)
Adjustable Steering Col. – Tilt only
Air Cond. – Climate Control
Airbags – Driver & Passenger (Dual)
Airbags – Head for 1st Row Seats (Front)
Airbags – Side for 1st Row Occupants (Front)
Aluminium – Bonnet
Body Colour – Bumpers
Body Colour – Door Handles
Body Colour – Exterior Mirrors Partial
Body Kit – F&R Spoilers
Rear Apron
Bonnet Scoop
Calipers – Front 4 Spot
Calipers – Rear 2 Spot
CD Player
CD Stacker – 6 disc In Dash/Cabin
Central Locking – Remote/Keyless
Cruise Control
Cup Holders – 1st Row
Data Dots – Part Identifiers
Disc Brakes Front Ventilated
Disc Brakes Rear Ventilated
Drive By Wire (Electronic Throttle Control)
EBD (Electronic Brake force Distribution)
Engine Immobiliser
Fog Lamps – Front
Footrest – Drivers
Headlamp Washers
Headlamps – High Intensity Discharge
Headlamps – Xenon (Low beam only)
Independent Front Suspension
Independent Rear Suspension
Intermittent Wipers – Variable
Leather Gear Knob
Leather Hand Brake Lever
Leather Steering Wheel
Limited Slip Diffs – Front & Rear
Map/Reading Lamps – for 1st Row
Mesh Grille
Metallic Finish Centre Console
Metallic Finish Dash Board
Pedals – Sports
Power Door Mirrors
Power Steering – Speed Sensitive
Power Windows – Front & Rear
Radio Cassette
Remote Fuel Lid Release
Seat – Height Adjustable Driver
Seatbelt – Pretensioners 1st Row (Front)
Seatbelts – Lap/Sash for 5 seats
Spoiler – Rear
Sports Seats – 1st Row (Front)
Sports Steering Wheel
Sunvisor – Vanity Mirror for Driver
Sunvisor – Vanity Mirror for Passenger

  • Bryan

    You cannot make a Wrx exactly like an STI for the sole fact that as a cost saving measure subaru only uses aluminum suspension components on the STI and cast iron ones on the standard Wrx, meaning that 16000 extra does stand for something more then just the engine or the dccd . The STI has suspension components different from the entire impreza line. The engine is, if i’m not wrong different too. The new WRX engine has cast internals however the STI engine has Forged internals allowing it to suppositely put out 400 hp reliabily something the new WRX cannot do. Subaru did this to stop people from tunning the WRX to beat the STI with reasonable cost. Such that for a WRX to go faster then an STI you will need to spend more then buying an STI in the first place. The truth is an evo is faster however with regards to build quality the STI leaves the evo behind in terms of structual stiffness and chassis strength. With properly tunned suspension the STI would be able to equal the evo in corners as it actually had be set up more for comfort then the evo from the dealers. Mind you I respect the Evo but with regards to chassis build the subaru has it beat. O yes mitsubishi knows that the evo’s chassis is prone to creaks due to its rather low stiffness hence the evo X uses a new chassis unfortunately making it a full 90 KG heavier. No matter how much power the car has weight kills handling.

  • Ange

    Hmmm, I guess as a 31yo female owner of an 06 STI I don’t quite fit the stereotype. My 13 yr old son & 8 yr old daughter are quite happy to be dropped off at school, although they joke that they have to jump for it because Mum doesn’t quite stop the car. They’re not unaccustomed to cornering at 90kmh, although I try to restrict this to when I’m driving by myself, especially since my 13 yr old son has started to become a weight liability…
    My amazing car turns heads no matter what speed it’s travelling! Generally the look on anyone’s face is one of appreciation of the STI’s blatant power….in the case of male observers it usually results in their jaw resting on their chest in disbelief! This quickly progresses to a look that makes you assume they’re about to bring up their lunch!
    Only 4 items which could do with improvement – and none of them are performance related. 1.Needs Leather Interior; 2.Stereo; 3.Remote Boot Release on Fob (although shopping is another weight issue) 4.Sunroof – my husband’s request, I don’t like the extra wind drag!

  • http://moparmal.tripod.com/ The Rat Patrol

    Ange: Gawd it makes me puke the way WREX owners go on about their cars like they’re Aston Martin DB9s. You must have owned some pretty boring cars if you reckon that bulbous roller skate on wheels has any “head turning” appeal. LOL!!

    ……..and as for “performance”…I guess its adequate for a Hi tech AWD platform MY 06 peformance car…but hardly “Giant killing”…

    Id caution ANYONE thinking that a high 13 sec qtr mile car is going to be the quickest thing on the road…..at least considering the stuff I know is out there on “duty”….mine included.

    (I think the current day 4 Banger drivers have been lulled into a false sense of security by dusting off MY05 Club – Portlys and un-modded 1700 KG FPV’s…these are NOT legit V8 weapons)

    Now a real car? and real performance?…just check my website ..

    Classic, NOT plastic….


    .live and learn chickadee…..:wave:

    • Audiluv

      Haters gonna hate

  • Sam

    ^^ agreed

  • http://www.pedalcar.com.au Lisa Preston

    Nice Charger,but not going to make it as fast around a race track as The REX,agreed Sam?

    We have XA GT COUPE ,modified {if you have an old copy of Street Machine Sept 97 you will see it}.671 is now gone but the rest of the car still the same.I love and very much appreciate old Aussie Muscle cars. But they are in a different class to the new stuff of today,but agreed at a set of lights,I would think twice before having a go at you. I may get traction first though. Nice job,nice car.

  • Sam

    common sense suggests that something 35 years older will be significantly outpaced on the track by todays technology, esecially a wrx. but in a few years the current model rex will be replaced by a new one, and be gone and forgotten about

    the charger is a true legend because just like james dean, it was cool and died young…

  • http://moparmal.tripod.com/ The Rat Patrol

    Like I said…..”and as for “performance”…I guess its adequate for a Hi tech AWD platform MY 06 peformance car…but hardly “Giant killing”…”

    My comments were directed at those that just believe what “hubby, the car section of the Newspaper or the local mechanic” tells them…without ever experiencing a genuinely quick car.

    Beating a factory pig like a CV8 Munro at the lights and a taking on a genuine street machine requires a very different level of HP (KW) .

    A lot of these WREX owners need to get along to Calder sometime……it will put their high 13 into serious perspective.

    and who needs corners anyhow…like anyone races point to point in the burbs…..LOL!!

    Nope…its the first 200 metres and then its stop for ice cream.

  • john smith

    had a look at “rat patrol’s site…real car?.ive got a rex too.and jeez i know which one id rather drive…dunno bout you but it looks ready for the tip to me!

  • Bavarian Missile

    ooohhhh really……… I love Rex’s too ,BUT. Aussie Muscle Cars are worth a bundle at the moment and the Rex in 30 years sorry,wont be. TOO many made!

  • dick

    this car is fucking awesome

  • dick

    fuck off

  • scott liddle

    this is one of the best subaru imprezas i have seen in ages is awesome to look at i would go and by one myself because i like subarus there the best car to drive in the world

  • Matt Damon

    Impreza = Close to engineering perfection, straight line power, it blitzes corners and u can drive it on the street.

    Muscle cars = stupid amounts of power in stripped chassis with stupidly fat tyres that serve no purpose other than to go 400 metres and stop. WOW! WOW WOW WOW! I know which one I’d rather spend a heap of money on. As for “quick cars” there’s plenty of Rexes that run 7’s and 8’s, and there aint many muscle cars that can claim that

  • Matt Damon

    As for what Bavarian Missile said, you kind of people who “invest” in cars sicken me, a car was built to be driven, you’re missing out if you only buy a car cuz u think it will be valuable in 30 years, quite frankly, you are shit

  • Bavarian Missile

    Matt Damon , sounds like some jealousy too me. Why get agro at someone that looks towards their future retirement I mean a lot of people are buying collectable cars instead of super cause you can drive them unlike your super .Come back when your older than 12 mate. 7 & 8 s in a Rex ,is that down the quarter or to a hundred clicks hahaha ? Have you ever watched the old Bathurst DVDs see any 180bs win against a XYGTHO ,oh thats right different class ! How about the current Performance Car Series Championship as much as it pains me to say it is currently being won by a Monaro not a Rex!

    So if you would prefer to waist money spending it on a Rex that will be worth less after you have stuffed with it? Fine. Mate don’t start something you cant finish here cause I have been around a lot longer than you and have been both sides of the fence.Even my 22 year old that is a ricer has just started to realize that spending money on ricers to make them go faster and faster is a waist of time,he currently has just bought a Nissan GTR that he starting to wish he never bought ! After spending more than $20,000 on go fast parts and pretty stuff for his cars over the last 12 months there worth no more and drive like crap as well.

    I have a load of respect for Rex’s and have said many a time if I didn’t own an M3 that would be my choice for affordable fun so I am not anti Rex just anti idiots!

    Oh and by the way we drive our collectable cars and every one in our club does too just not to work ,well sometimes to work if you can find a park that some idiot in a ricer trying to drift wont hit you in! Lol

  • George

    I just bought a 2003 STI modified, to 19 pounds (safe tune I believe) and can tell you it has more power and capabilities and I thought I could handle. I tell you it gets you into trouble rather that out if you go to the limit with it. Coming from VL turbos, Skylines, V8’s, the WRX cr*ps all over them. If only I could drive it to it capabilities. I also don’t like the fact that if I lose it around a corner, I won’t know when it will lose traction. That really scares me.

  • http://subaru.imprezalive.com.au Scott

    Bavarian Missile you got it twisted, True old school muscle is over and no disrespect to the old schoolers but your modern Falcons & Commodores Depreciate in value like no other and Subaru are good at holding their value, by the way good luck with making any modern car last 30 years if you drive it. You want a tip for investing, dont buy a car at all. If you have to have the best transport known to man buy a subaru.

  • Clancy

    My Dad owns a charger, my brother owns a new GTS monaro my 06 STi eats both of them in a straight line or on a corner and uses alot less fuel too!! And you want a good investment stuff cars go real estate cause if you ask me Old fuel guzlin carby fed muscle cars are going out with new pollution policy anyway. So go plastic not classic

  • http://www.kia.com Clancy

    …oh yeah. One more thing.
    I love the nob.

  • john

    a 30 year old car …lol…….even if it was fast it looks like my gramps car, wrx alllll the way not only is it fast it looks good ,and when i buy cars i care about that fact,

  • Willy

    This is all besides the point, it doesn’t matter what u modify u can make any car as quick as another with enough cash, the point is that the sti is produced in a factory with those specs and as a factory car have excepetional performance for the $$$ spent. Yes it’s based largely on the wrx, however under he shell they are an entirely different car…On the street they are great because of the off theine grip, by the time 200metres comes along u are out of room anyways because of traffic, If there is more room there is likely bends and corners in which case the sti will hve a field day.

  • Rat Patrol

    Seems some of the 15 year old fan boys on here need to pay more attention during English classes and stop playing wth themselves under the desk.

    My comment was about the arrogant attitude of STi OWNERS, not the car.

    Even Wee Willy Clancy has agreed that STOCK old school muscle is slow compared to modern performance cars….so these STi and F6 owners have almost never tasted anything as fast as 13 secs…..and they reckon they are just the shit..because they don’t know any better!

    Where “Wee Willy Clancy’s” world comes tumbling down is exactly this –

    MOST F6, STi or EVO X owners have no clue about real power – and don’t dig that there are cars on the road these days that will cover the qtr mile in 11 and 12 secs flat, MUCH faster than their factory 13.0 sec cars.

    And when you start comparing looks and value as well – So which would you feel better driving?

    A – A restored 1971 Muscle car that is an established classic, runs high 11s and has kiddies dropping their ice creams at McDonalds when it goes past, or

    B – a reasonably fast roller skate that you couldn’t pick out in a half full car park?

    No contest – leave your Subie keys at the gate for the next Fanboy with no idea.

    • blah

      Your argument falls apart comparing restored and worked “muscle” cars to stock “roller skates”. It’s hardly the same playing field and you’re very bigoted to say the least.

      A stock 13 second STI is quicker than 99% of cars on the road, and 99.9% of daily drives. Just because they never see the 4 or 5 ’71 worked muscle cars still working and only driving on a Sunday, I wouldn’t expect them to be constantly thinking how much faster they are in 1 very specific form of racing (0-400m).

      Street racing muscle vs tuner over 200m, muscle would get beaten 10 out of 10. Good luck finding grip off the line compared to a 1.7s 60ft.

      As far as arrogant attitude of STI owners is concerned, maybe you’re not so different from them after all.

  • dmc

    Ah the old “new vs classic” debate. So much hate on this page, gosh. I’d say that anyone willing to shell out for either an STI or some oldschool muscle has one thing in common: THEY LOVE CARS! So get over it kids.

    Directed Rat Patrol though, just because I think you’re being a bit high and mighty, I don’t think you are taking the aftermarket component into your “power” arguement above. One of my good mates has a Evo 7, very comparable to the STI when stock. However, after a “little” work, it’s pumping out 340kw – AT ALL 4 WHEELS!

    So yea, I’m pretty damn sure that a lot of modern car fans DO know a little bit about real power, thanks 😉

    Don’t get me wrong though, I do love my classics. Would one day love to do up an old ’69 Impala and a 240z (throw in a chevvy 8 or something just for the ridiculousness of it all!)

  • 10inchTina

    Classic muscle cars are amazing! no doubt about it..

    However! considering you can purchase a used ready to go 2006 STI for around $30,000. I’d have to say that its probably the best vehicle you can buy on the Australian market considering price, performance, slow depreciation in value, low mileage, design and quality.

    If I had an extra $20,000 i’d probably be looking at a BMW e46. But I don’t!!! So everyone having a cry about how crap STI’s are, you’re probably regretting the fact that you drive a MX-5 and stick wall posters of classic cars in your pathetic garage hoping one day that your dreams may come true so you can drive straight down the 400m. Thank you. Good day.

  • 300CS9

    I agree with dmc. I have a mate who’s evo puts out 500hp at all 4 wheels and its true power, no issue getting to 300k and even though it is a 4cly will still beat most V8’s there.
    I have a worked 06 wrx that kills any other V8 on the road (yes I said road not strip) and thats what these cars are about, enjoying them on the streets…mind you I am about to upgrade to a worked 07 STI that is better value for money (as originally stated in the article that it was not worth the 16g more) though with a 6spd dccd gear box, shafts, brembo brakes, and the forged internals of an 06/07 sti 16g is not enough to do that to a normal WRX-the brakes and gearbox alone (second hand) is often 10g +

    And also in the sense of turning heads my Subaru turns plenty of heads as with basic simple body mods (front lip, back lip, double spoiler, hood pins and rims) its something far from the ordinary.


    • Fuck face

      90’s korean cars are the best.

  • Dane

    I’m not normally the type to chime into things like this over the internet, but I really feel like I have to say something here.

    Firstly Rat Patrol, drop the aggressive attitude. If you are anywhere near the age I believe you to be, you would have seen numerous changes in the automotive market worldwide. I would expect you would have the intelligence to realise that in terms of performance, engines, drivelines, suspension and the like are all just packages, tools to achieve a desired result.

    Lisa Preston, you’re just as bad. Ange above, I think you might need to settle down a bit yourself though.

    The STi can carry 4-5 people comfortably, with decent interior appointments, carry some luggage, with a decent sound system standard, and still offer performance for the driver, both in terms of power and handling, whilst also providing strong braking performance, not to mention the aftermarket assistance that is there to tune the car further.  All this for quite reasonable money that many people can afford. Does this not even slightly get your respect?

    As for modern car owners not knowing what real power is – please. Take a look at what the LS guys are getting out of their cars now, bolt on packages giving 11 sec timeslips. And I don’t think I need to mention XR6 Turbos. Also posting strong 10 and 11 second timeslips day after day all around the country. And that’s just Australian cars. I’m not even going to bother mentioning anything else, your statement is incorrect.

    I think what you are failing to realise is that you are comparing stock factory driven cars compared to highly modified classic cars, I agree that many cars today do not give the same surge of acceleration that you used to get from a lightweight car with pretty much zero creature comforts and a large capacity V8. But those were different times my friend, with large carbs and no computer systems getting in the way. However, those days are over, at least in terms of purchasing a car new with this engine response. Did you ever consider how fortunate you were to have cars in that time who could care less about fuel economy, not to mention the environment? Being able to buy fuel for 30 cents a litre or whatever?

    You are going to need to hold onto your Charger’s and the like to keep that response – and good on you. However did it occur to you that the younger enthusiasts are just doing the best they can in terms of what is available to them to obtain performance? I suppose you think that they’re all just “young dickheads” with their baseball caps and the like right? Did it ever occur to you that you were a young dickhead possibly yourself at some stage?
    Maybe you are just bitter that people can go out and buy cars that can give your hero cars a run for its money for half the price, and handle and brake much better as well, be much more comfortable and not something that you have to worry about leaving in the car park for someone to break into in 5 seconds or cant drive often thanks to astronomical fuel bills?

    How about we talk about another issue? Safety? I don’t know about you, but if I was going to be involved in a car crash, do you want to guess what car I’d rather be in? How do you feel about driving your family around in something that’s got absolutely no safety at all? And as I am sure you have noticed in your years of driving, most of the time the risk of an accident comes from the other people on the road, so it’s not exactly in your hands.

    And what about the whole “kids dropping their ice creams” business. Ego much? Do you really want to attract attention everywhere you go?

    Anyways, now that you have had a bit of your own medicine back I am going to tell you a little about myself.
    I am 29 years old and cars I have owned include the following;

    1970 LC Torana (with worked 202, 4 speed, triple carbs, full exhaust etc)
    1977 LX Torana
    1970 KE20 Corolla with 1.5L, 40mm Weber sidedraught carb, upgraded camshaft, 5 speed, weight 640kg)
    1977 XC Sedan with toploader, 351 C and some other goodies
    1982 Chevy Z28 Camaro with 350SBC, 4 speed, 4.11 gears, large cam, heads and exhaust package, stripped interior
    1964 Pontiac Parisienne, pillarless
    1982 Mazda RX-7 with 12A race spec bridgeport…
    Nissan Skyline R31

    I could go on. Unlike you, it seems I am able to appreciate performance on all levels, and realise that there are compromises in each and every regard.

    And as to my current choices of transportation? Well now I have a 2002 WRX with some modifications, and a 2003 BA XR8 Falcon with a Vortech V2 supercharger, running 8psi with methanol injection, producing 345rwkw, in a car that will return near stock fuel economy whilst driving normally, yet has the power to pass most other cars on the road. All this whilst sitting on leather seats, integrated air conditioning, ABS, traction control, airbags….so I have no idea about power hey? I suppose you can get this performance without making your car a pig to drive? And without using any modern components or design methodology?

    You will both probably never even see this article again, or indeed if you do I would say it’s unlikely given the attitude you have displayed previously that you will read it all – I doubt you’re going to like your opinion shattered in such a wide variety of ways, however I hope in the future someone reads my comment and realises that you are stuck in the past and need to move on.