I bought the base WRX STI MY17 two weeks ago and have one word to sum it up - Exhilarating!!
After test driving both the standard WRX and the STI, I felt that the regular WRX was much easier to drive and felt more like a better daily driver - a great car and a brilliant performance bargain for the price.
However, after driving the STI, I felt absolutely engaged on the road. With the feel of a beefy turbo and the sound of that iconic rumble, it reminded me what Subaru rally cars were all about.
Having not owned a Subaru before I learned of other options - such as the Golf R and the upcoming Focus RS - I still felt Subaru was much more compact and had a much more grippy all-wheel-drive system. After all, if you are after power, power and more power, you might as well buy an M series or AMG. Of course, you will be looking at a far heftier price.
At an affordable price, it is surprising Subaru has been able to deliver an outstanding performance car which is coupled with a very spacious cabin.
The STI is my weekend car, which was a fact that greatly influenced my purchasing decision. The My17 models now come with an 8 speaker Harmon Kardon system and sub as standard, along with a 7-inch touchscreen featuring sat nav.
If you are considering the premium model, I would say there will not be much difference apart from leather seats, sunroof and blind spot detection. The base models still include comfortable Alcantara and leather seats, which I think would also perform better at staying cool in the heat.
The only negatives I would say is that you will not have a refined ride in the STI, and if you plan to use it as a daily driver expect the petrol station to be your best friend.