Subaru WRX STi, reviewed by Tim Barnes-Clay, Motoring Journalist

Subaru WRX STi

There’s nothing else on the road quite like Subaru’s WRX STi. The Japanese-made motor blends power with precision and rally-esque performance with daily practicality, putting it into a segment all of its own. 

Tim Barnes-Clay
Tim Barnes-Clay

The key difference between Subaru and other marques begins with the poise and control that comes from its permanent symmetrical all-wheel-drive and Boxer engine.

However, unlike many performance-oriented motors, the Subaru WRX STi doesn’t just thrill while in motion. Its tailoring, both inside and out, is aimed at making auto aficionados dribble with pleasure. Big bumpers, chunky rear panels, a ridiculously massive rear spoiler and a low ride height give the Subaru WRX STi real kerbside clout.

Inside the four-door car, the quality of materials is better than ever, and the two front occupants are guaranteed a confident and comfortable seating position, thanks to RECARO bucket seats. Two adult-sized passengers can easily fit into the rear seats, too. Behind the wheel, your feet fit easily onto the aluminium pedals and you immediately feel at one with the WRX STi. The broad, leather-swathed steering wheel gives you quick access to audio buttons and cruise control switches. This means you can give your full attention to the road ahead without removing your hands from the wheel. The only thing left is a quick stab of the push-button engine starter to fire the Subaru into life.

Devotees of Subaru performance cars will adore the tune the car produces when it starts up; an exhaust system, with a large centre muffler and big diameter piping, boosts the engine’s legendary boxer ‘burble’. And at the nucleus of the Subaru WRX STi pulses the heart of a champ — the turbocharged 2.5-litre Boxer power unit. The lump thrusts the WRX STi from zero to 62mph in 5.2 seconds and the six-speed manual transmission lets you enjoy every arc of the radiant red rev counter. As you pair revs to obtain the most of the engine’s bountiful torque curve, you feel the 158 mph performance promise of the WRX STI firmly within your reach.

But the entertainment isn’t all about being first away from the green light because, unlike most motors, with the WRX STI you control the set-up. The Scooby features a factory setting of 41/59 percent front/rear torque distribution for best possible balance, and you can tweak this while on the move using the four-mode Driver’s Control Centre Differential system. The Subaru WRX STi also combines Multi-Mode VDC (Vehicle Dynamics Control) – Subaru’s very own version of electronic stability control (ESC), allowing you to vary the point at which this electronic driver aid intervenes. The Japanese motor manufacturer has further fine-tuned its three-mode SI-Drive (Subaru Intelligent Drive) system, which can be used to fiddle with the engine’s traits to best suit an array of motoring conditions.


  • Max speed: 158mph
  • 0-62 mph: 5.2 secs
  • Combined mpg: 27.2
  • Engine: 2457cc 4-cylinder 16v turbocharged petrol
  • Max. power (PS): 300
  • CO2: 243g/km
  • Price: £28,995

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