The controversial styling of the new Impreza has meant the former icon has been largely relegated to hot hatch status, however Subaru Australia has today launched the flagship WRX STi – and its hotter than ever.
This generation of the potent STi is now more accessible than ever as well, with buyers given the option of an entry level STi, or Spec.R variant.
Both models offer identical naught to one hundred performance at 5.2 seconds, which is 0.2 seconds faster than its predecessor. Although not at the cost of fuel consumption, posting a remarkable 11.2 percent improvement with a 10.3L/100km combined cycle.
The Australian-spec 2.5-litre engine surpasses the 206kW limit of the previous model, now up to 221kW with torque up to 407Nm from an enthusiastic 4000rpm.
Pricing for the Impreza WRX STi starts from $59,990 whilst the spec.R variant is $64,990 which includes 18-inch lightweight BBS alloy wheels and Recaro seats with leather and alcantara.
WRX STI is a technological tour de force including:
Other features unique to WRX STI include:
The WRX STi represents the debut of Subaru’s Intelligent Drive system, featuring three different engine settings – Intelligent (I) mode, Sport (S) and Sport sharp (S#).
Multi-mode Driver Control Centre Differential (DCCD) controls the torque distribution ratio between front and rear axles, through the STi’s front and rear LSDs which minimize torque loss and maximize driving pleasure.
“Third generation Impreza WRX STI is by far the most sophisticated and technologically advanced. It is radically different to the superseded car and achieves a new benchmark that competitors will find difficult to match with such comprehensive specification, combining performance, style and sophistication.”
Sharing only the bonnet, roof and front doors with the standard WRX, the STi adds flared guards, vented bumpers, quad exhausts, 18-inch alloy wheels, a rear diffuser and aerodynamic rear wing.
The wheelbase has increased by 85mm despite a 50mm overall reduction in length, whilst width has increased by 55mm as a result of wider front and rear track.
The roof spoiler incorporates an LED brake light whilst additional indicators can be found in the colour-coded wing mirrors, which can be electronically folded.
Fog lights have been integrated into the unique zero-lift aerodynamic front bumper, plus Xenon self-levelling headlights with pop out power jet washers.
In additional to the trademark WR Blue mica, the WRX STi is also available in Obsidian black pearl, Pure white, Spark silver metallic, Lightning red and Dark gray metallic.
The interior carries a darker, low sheen finish emblazoned with trademark hot pink STi badging. The instrument cluster is unique to the STi and coloured illumination is added to the glovebox, driver and passenger foot wells and open centre console tray, improving low light visibility.
The entry-level model includes STI embroidered sports bucket seats with leather and alcantara trim. WRX STI spec.R variants get leather and alcantara bucket seats jointly developed with Recaro. Refined side and shoulder support as well as air filled lumbar support offers a comfortable position for spirited driving.
The engine in the STi sits 22mm lower than the standard WRX, producing a lower centre of gravity. The quad exhaust system reduces airflow resistance by 38 per cent for increased power output and revives the boxer-burble exhaust tone.
There is no pseudo paddle shift imitation manual in the STi, instead rightfully sits a six-speed close-ratio transmission with a triple cone system is added to first gear, in addition to the carbon synchros on fourth and sixth gears, producing a smoother gear change and shorter throw.
The addition of a groove within the shift keys of the 1-2, 3-4 and 5-6 speed sleeves reduces vibration and improves the overall shift feeling.
The rally-derived Multi-mode Driver Control Centre Differential (DCCD) technology offers three modes.
AUTO- is ideal for agile, sporty driving on good grip surfaces – Limited Slip Differential strength is decreased.
AUTO+ helps optimise safety on lower grip, slippery surfaces – LSD strength is increased.
AUTO is the default mode. It enables the electronic system to optimise differential strength – suitable in most conditions.
MANU (manual) allows the driver to increase or decrease front: rear torque split to suit individual needs and driving style. Torque split is normally 41:59.
Similarly, the Subaru Intelligent Drive (SI-Drive) system offers three modes.
Intelligent offers very gentle, smooth power output – best suited in congested conditions at low speed, or for smooth freeway cruising. Activated by pushing the dial down.
Sport is the default mode. It optimizes performance on city and highway drives and is ideal for routine, day-to-day driving. Activated by turning the dial left.
Sport # boosts engine revolutions for sharp, sporty driving. Provides dynamic performance for true driving enthusiasts through highly responsive engine and throttle control. Activated by turning the dial right.
A blinking indicator light located in the tachometer advises the driver when is the optimum time to change gear.
A new double wishbone rear suspension set-up teamed with WRX STI’s wider tread offers exceptional performance and sharper handling. The front strut suspension offers high lateral rigidity, improving steering response and cornering stability. Lighter than the previous system, it reduces cabin shock levels over bumps and contributes to the significant NVH reduction.
As with all new generation Imprezas, the STi achieves the maximum five-star rating for occupant protection in crashworthiness testing and the highest possible four-star pedestrian rating.
Dual front, side and curtain airbags protect occupants during a collision, whilst four-pot ventilated front Brembo brakes and 2-pot rear ensure the driver has every chance to avoid one occurring in the first place.
Every Impreza has Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) as standard, offering Off, Traction and Normal settings.
Normal uses the full system, controlling power and braking in emergency situations via ABS, EBD, TCS and VDC. It is ideal for daily driving.
Traction controls only braking and torque delivery. It cancels the engine’s torque reduction control.
Off enables driving without VDC and TCS and is ideal for experienced drivers.
Previous generations of the Impreza were notorious targets for thieves, the STi features the latest advanced engine immobilisers and DataDot theft protection and includes a double-locking barrel lock, located in the driver’s door.
The entertainment package incorporates a premium 10-speaker six-stack in-dash CD system that adds tweeter speakers installed in each door gusset, with an auxiliary terminal is installed in the centre console. Steering wheel audio controls are standard.
The optional navigation system features an intuitive seven-inch touch screen display within easy reach of the driver.
New Impreza WRX STI model specifications at a glance:
Impreza WRX STI spec.R adds:
Impreza WRX STI MY08 pricing
These are retail recommended prices and do not include dealer and statutory charges.
Impreza WRX STI $59,990
Impreza WRX STI spec.R $64,990
DVD satellite navigation $2990