2015 Subaru WRX STI
by John Davis
MotorWeek awarded the Subaru WRX its Drivers’ Choice Award as Best Sport Sedan for 2014 based on how much more fun it was to drive, and how much less it cost compared to other four-door performance rivals. Still, even while handing out the honors, we knew that another shoe from Subaru was about to drop in the guise of an all new WRX STI, the brand’s traditional top dog sporty car.
Well, the 2015 WRX STI is here and it is almost everything we hoped it would be. Going down the spec sheet, the new WRX STI checks all the right boxes for purists with a rally grade suspension, a six speed manual transmission, and over 300 horsepower. However on that last point, we were surprised that is the same output, and indeed almost the same powertrain, as the previous model.
The horizontally opposed turbo flat-4 is Still 2.5 liters in size, with the same output of 305 horsepower and 290 lb-ft of torque. It is also mated to the very same six speed manual transmission. However, minor tranny improvements do reduce vibrations and makes shifts among lower gears smoother.
Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive is naturally standard, as is the Driver Control Center Differential. This, combined with the helical limited–slip front differential, and the TORSEN limited-slip rear setup, basically translates to lots of grip. That mission of grip is further by new Active Torque Vectoring. This innovation works with the stability and traction control to apply a bit of braking while cornering to carry that grip right through the hairpins.
Indeed, it is in cornering and overall handling where Subaru felt the most improvement in the WRD STI were needed. To that end, they added chassis rigidly, and thoroughly retuned the suspension. A quicker steering ratio also adds precision and better feedback. The end result is a car with road manners that are just that much better than its predecessor to warrant our undiluted praise.
Like the WRX, the STI is now part of a separate marketing scheme that is distanced from the Impreza on which it is still based. The body is clearly an evolutionary design with a longer wheelbase and more laid-down windshield than the previous car. Keeping in character, the STI has a big rear wing to augment the WRX hood scoop up front, and quad exhaust in the back. It’s still a bit overt in its performance intentions, but then that’s the point of the STI.
Inside one will find things are also very similar to the standard WRX including racer red gauge accents and flat-bottom steering wheel. The improved “STI” embroidered seats do deliver better grip, and we loved the STI-exclusive short throw shifter.
We invite you to join MotorWeek for an exclusive road test of the 2015 Subaru WRX STI on episode #3336 which begins airing nationwide on May 10, 2014. For a complete listing of the public television stations that broadcast MotorWeek, go to motorweek.org and click the “About the Show” tab at the top. MotorWeek is also seen Tuesday evenings on the Velocity cable channel.
While we always love something that’s “all-new”, there’s a certain charm to holding on to some of the “tried-and-true”. The 2015 Subaru WRX STI has always been a showcase of exceptional performance with an accessible price. It may cost more than a WRX, but it’s no less of a performance value, and easily money well spent.