Subaru WRX STi 2.5

Type UK

Subaru WRX STI, front
Subaru WRX STI, rear
Subaru WRX STI, interior
Subaru WRX STI, front, action

"BUT it's a hatchback!"

This might have been the shocked response of a die-hard Impreza enthusiast upon seeing the last incarnation of this iconic car.

It was a break with tradition that probably didn't please the purists who had a particular devotion to what has always been a sports saloon.

This time around Subaru has gone back to the Impreza roots and it returns in saloon guise - though there's no Impreza tag, it's just the WRX STi.

To my mind it actually looks good too. Nothing too avant garde but purposeful looking without being too over the top.

Boy racers will no doubt seek their own ways to add those touches of bling that might give it a far more menacing stance but the generally toned down looks belie the fact this is something that could actually give a Porsche 911 a run for its money.

Some subtle but stylish touches of chrome help complete a profile that is impressive overall.

On the inside it has a basic and spartan feel, with everything being functional rather than fancy and a little dated.

The sports seats are the real deal, both comfortable and supportive and if you're going to make the most of a car like this you'll certainly need them.

These days there's no longer a WRX and a WRX STi to choose from.

The closest you'll get to the WRX these days is the far more pedestrian 2.0 RX.

It was always the case that the difference between the WRX and the more potent STi could be summed up by the fact the WRX was obviously designed more with the road in mind while for the STi it's the track that's the focus.

Consequently the STi can feel a little out of place when pootling around town.

The ride is hard and I mean ‘hard'. If while driving along you open your mouth and try and make one of those "aah" sounds you would for the doctor it'll end up sounding more like an impression of a machine gun.

Strangely it's something you get used to (sort of), though there's no doubt it could pose problems if you intend using it as an everyday car.

Of course the payback is the STi offers performance that's getting up there in extreme territory.

When you look at how much it costs and what it delivers you can only conclude it offers exceptional value for money.

And as well as going back to its saloon roots the STi has also gone back to basics as far as handling and performance goes, thanks in large part to a stiffer body shell and a first rate new suspension system.

The hatchback felt a little bit softer and dare I say it easy to drive but this time it has that unmistakeable hard edge that is perhaps its defining quality.

Put simply it is both thrilling and great fun to drive.

With oodles of power at your disposal it sprints effortlessly in a straight line to speeds that might see your licence under threat, while through the bends it is both highly capable and composed.

And despite that edge you soon get a feel for it and it is surprisingly forgiving too thanks to its trademark four-wheel-drive.

Another bonus is a gutsy engine note that is immensely satisfying and pleasing on the ear.

But for me, best of all is the fact that it can still double as a family car. I even got five adults in and though I doubt whether we'd have wanted to travel too far for a short hop across town it was certainly up to the job.

You wouldn't be able to do that in a 911 - unless it was the UK contortionist team.


Subaru WRX STi 2.5 Type UK


Mechanical: 300bhp, 2,457cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving four wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 158mph

0-62mph: 5.2 seconds

Combined MPG: 26.9

Insurance Group: tba

C02 emissions: 243g/km

Bik rating: 35%

Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles


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