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 - 316mmfront 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The Two-tone blue and black seats that reside in the blue STi are a little outdated, It makes me wonder why Subaru doesn't just opt out for the Recaro seats like the ones found in the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX.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.
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.
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 StereoABS (Antilock Brakes)Adjustable Steering Col. - Tilt onlyAir Cond. - Climate ControlAirbags - Driver & Passenger (Dual)Airbags - Head for 1st Row Seats (Front)Airbags - Side for 1st Row Occupants (Front)AlarmAluminium - BonnetBody Colour - BumpersBody Colour - Door HandlesBody Colour - Exterior Mirrors PartialBody Kit - F&R SpoilersSkirtsRear ApronBonnet ScoopCalipers - Front 4 SpotCalipers - Rear 2 SpotCD PlayerCD Stacker - 6 disc In Dash/CabinCentral Locking - Remote/KeylessCruise ControlCup Holders - 1st RowData Dots - Part IdentifiersDisc Brakes Front VentilatedDisc Brakes Rear VentilatedDrive By Wire (Electronic Throttle Control)EBD (Electronic Brake force Distribution)Engine ImmobiliserFog Lamps - FrontFootrest - DriversHeadlamp WashersHeadlamps - High Intensity DischargeHeadlamps - Xenon (Low beam only)Independent Front SuspensionIndependent Rear SuspensionIntermittent Wipers - VariableLeather Gear KnobLeather Hand Brake LeverLeather Steering WheelLimited Slip Diffs - Front & RearMap/Reading Lamps - for 1st RowMesh GrilleMetallic Finish Centre ConsoleMetallic Finish Dash BoardPedals - SportsPower Door MirrorsPower Steering - Speed SensitivePower Windows - Front & RearRadio CassetteRemote Fuel Lid ReleaseSeat - Height Adjustable DriverSeatbelt - Pretensioners 1st Row (Front)Seatbelts - Lap/Sash for 5 seatsSpoiler - RearSports Seats - 1st Row (Front)Sports Steering WheelSunvisor - Vanity Mirror for DriverSunvisor - Vanity Mirror for PassengerTacho