Subaru Impreza WRX STI: Building on redesign starts with new add-ons

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There are few vehicles I find myself piloting that have the distinction of such a dramatic exterior cue as the 2018 Subaru Impreza WRX STI. The rear fin is so pronounced that it is hard not to get a look from just about anyone in the vicinity of the car.

If getting attention is high on your list, and your budget is a bit light, I’d recommend you still stay tuned, as the WRX is a value virtually no car on the road can equal. And not many try.

SUBARU LEGENDS

Subaru has always been known for manufacturing dependable vehicles that are safe and probably one of the most affordable ways to get yourself into a four-wheel-drive ride. Subaru’s most recognizable nameplate is the Impreza. Add in the WRX for the rally-race-inspired merging of 4-wheel-drive traction with sport-tuned performance and you have distinction in the compact class.

NEW EQUIPMENT

Subaru completely redesigned the compact Impreza sedan for 2017 and in the 2018 model year there are some tweaks to the standard equipment with add-ons of CarPlay and Android Auto, in addition to a modestly enhanced interior décor. Base model Imprezas still offer a manual transmission, though most opt up for the automatic or CVT versions.

The Gen-4 2018 WRX, and WRX STI, receive some updates, including a sharp front fascia adjustment, enhanced suspension, 19-inch wheels on STIs, premium Brembo brakes, and a new Performance package.

EXTERIOR TWEAKS

Even with the slight tweaks in 2018, the WRX STI delivers that unequaled rear spoiler treatment, which makes it familiar to Subaru enthusiasts – but distinctly different from anything else on the road.

While I was a fan of the previous exterior styling, the 2018 tweaks improve the impact of the front grille, deliver larger air intakes, and redesigned LED headlights that swivel in turns. New collision performance not only add value, but makes this performer a n even safer ride.

FAB FLAT-FOUR

At the heart of the Subaru is its flat-four engine design. This unique engine configuration allows the pistons to glide horizontally, as opposed to vertical movements for traditional engine designs.

The WRX base offers a direct-injected, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that delivers 268 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. Mated to a 6-speed manual transmission as standard; a CVT is optional, there is the choice of working the gearbox for fun or sitting back and enjoying the ride a bit more. The manual features a highly-touted synchro design that reduces friction for enhanced feel smoother shifting.

The WRX STI keeps its turbocharged 2.5-liter flat-four with 305 horsepower and 290 lb-ft of torque. This model tested especially well during my week-long drive and along with a tremendous ‘planted’ feel on the pavement, it delivered outstanding fun and athletic performance.

STI PRICING

The base WRX begins at $27,855, with the high-end performance WRX STI (wing and all) hitting the mark at $36,955. My STI Limited’s additional equipment included 8-way power adjustable Recaro seats, leather trim, a power sunroof, 7-inch multimedia unit, navigation, blind-spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, and keyless entry. If for some reason you might want to part with the bold rear spoiler, Subaru offers more discreet options that may fit your shy ways.

If you take anything away from this summary, think about Subaru as a value for entering into the world of 4-wheel drive, as well as the one place you can go (for a price) that delivers a rear spoiler worthy of the axiom wing.