Subaru WRX STI


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

SUBARU has come up with a worthy successor to the Impreza turbo with the rocket ship that is the WRX STI.

But unlike its predecessor this is a muscle machine with a touch of refinement.

I drove the saloon model which will be the favourite for Scooby aficionados who never really accepted the Impreza hatchback and will likewise take umbrage at the five-door version of the STI.

The saloon has the classic shape featuring the characteristic large air scoop on the bonnet.

It looks purposeful without being too OTT despite the distinctive nose and bulging wheelarches.This is perhaps due to the fact that it does without a huge rear spoiler on the boot - preferring a more modest offering instead.

However, it still has the ability to attract a crowd and wherever I went people would stop and stare or come over for a closer inspection.

Once the novelty has worn off though there are a couple of things to bear in mind. For example you won't buy this car if fuel efficiency and the environment are important to you as the STI guzzles fuel achieving an average consumption figure of just 26.9mpg while emitting a rainforest strangling 243g/km of carbon dioxide.

That said the environment will almost certainly be the last thing on the mind of anyone buying the STI.

More likely will be an appreciation of the modern day electronics that ensure this Scooby's performance is excellent - with the 2.5-litre engine developing a devilish amount of horsepower resulting in a 0-62mph time of just 5.2 seconds and a top speed of 158mph.

There are stability and traction controls and throttle response can also be changed electronically with the resulting technical data thrown up on to the instrument display in a dazzling array of colours.

The interior offers a stripped-down racing car ambience with functionality in general taking precedence over style.

The Recaro sports seats support your body in a vice-like grip which considering the performance on offer is just as well.

The suspension set up is more in keeping with racing on a track than pootling around town, with rougher roads making their presence felt in the cabin.

Indeed even normal roads with relatively smoother surfaces still have the ability to shake the chassis of both car and driver - although the beast under the bonnet takes your mind of this somewhat.

The upside of the new suspension system and the stiffer bodyshell is the control this gives you over the power - essential unless you like driving into lamp-posts.

The four-wheel drive offers confidence-inducing levels of grip and corners can be taken as if on rails thanks to the STI's extremely low centre of gravity, low ride height, wider tyres and substantially stiffer rear springs.

So this Scooby is a hoot to drive and is sure to be popular with traditional fans as well as attracting new admirers.

All STIs are also fitted with keyless entry and push button start, hill start assist, climate control, SI-Drive and cruise control as standard with one trim level leaving both saloon and hatchback models sporting a price-tag of £32,995.

Security systems are excellent - just as well as the STI provides an attractive target to the criminal element. As well as a satellite tracker system, there's also an alarm, immobiliser, deadlocks, remote central locking, etched windows and locking wheel nuts.


Subaru WRX STI saloon

Price: £32,995

Mechanical: 300ps, 2,499cc, 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: 19

C02 emissions: 243g/km

Bik rating: 35%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles


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