To put this review in perspective our current and recent car ownership is as follows: Megane RS265, EVO X MR SST and WRX Club Spec.
We traded in the Megane RS265 for the new MY14/15 WRX STI and now have approximately 5000km on the clock.
The performance, handling and grip of this car are excellent; pitch, roll and yaw has been improved through the addition of thicker sway bars, increased spring rates and a substantially strengthened structure.
The overall driving dynamic is a significant upgrade on past STIs and is considerably better than both our Megane RS and EVO X (when it was stock). Under normal driving conditions, and being cognisant of speed limits, this car simply holds like glue, the turn in is tremendous and very quick thanks to the 13:1 steering ratio.
At below 4000 RPM the drive is remarkably sedate, and with the throttle response (SI system) in intelligent mode, the STI is very simple to guide through the tortures of peak hour traffic.
However, there is an element of Jekkyl and Hyde, put the car into S# (sport sharp) and the set the Driver Controlled Centre Differential to Auto – and hit 4000 rpm. The car transforms itself into a true performance weapon with a tremendous push to the redline.
Keeping the car in the sweet spot (between 4000 rpm and 6700 rpm) delivers an engrossing and exhilarating driving experience particularly on demanding roads with lots of off camber corners and with tight and inconsistent radii.
To get the reward it has to be driven, but the reward is worth the wait.
The technology in this car is largely hidden beneath the skin, there are 4 diffs; 1 x electronic, 1 x viscous centre, 1 x Torsen LSD in the rear and 1 x helical LSD at the front. This is fed through a hand assembled Aisin gear box with an improved and wonderfully smooth action. Throttle response has been changed from previous models and is much shaper with three modes to choose from.
This coupled with the redoubtable 2.5L EJ engine fed by a turbo connected to a larger top mounted intercooler, is linked to stopping power delivered via Brembos front and rear with further improved brake torque aided by a new larger master brake cylinder.
All of the above conspire to deliver a great drivers experience under any conditions. In the current environment this car is perhaps unique, delivering a true and exhilarating analogue experience in a world of numb electric steering and intrusive nanny aids.