From £31,550
The best-sorted new-shape Subaru STi to date

Our Verdict

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The Subaru STi is fast, grippy and offers immense value

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    Subaru WRX STI 320R

    If the WRX STI is already very much your cup of tea then there’s unlikely to be any way of convincing you that the 320R's power boost is a bad idea.

What is it?

Subaru may have pulled out of the World Rally Championship, but it still wants an STi for privateers to run in Group N, the category for more standard vehicles. Enter the Impreza WRX STi Spec C.

At first glance it may seem much the same as any other new-age STi, but don't be fooled. The Spec C is a lightweight, toughened-up homologation special that's full of trick stuff and is eye-wateringly fast once you get it in the groove.

For those who believe the regular STi lacks some edge in its latest incarnation, this Spec C could be just the car you¹ve been waiting for.

What's it like?

See the full Subaru Impreza Spec C picture gallery here

The Spec C has the same power and torque outputs as Japan's potent 2.0-litre WRX STi ­ 304bhp and 311lb ft ­ but it gets a new, high-response twin-scroll turbocharger and a reprogrammed ECU to boost mid-range thrust.

And that's just for starters. An extensive round of weight saving has cut out 30kg, and the chassis gets stiffer springs, dampers and bushes (up by 15 to 30 per cent). There's a more rigid front crossmember and a thicker rear anti-roll bar too. The result is an STi that truly moves things on, albeit at the expense of some day-to-day usability.

Three things in particular stand out. First, the savage mid-range response from that Japan-only 2.0-litre turbo engine. Off the line it's no quicker than a domestic STi, but gun it in second, third or fourth from about 4000rpm on and the pick-up is instant, relentless and frankly gob smacking all the way to the 8000rpm red line.

Second, on sticky 18-inch Bridgestones the Spec C packs titanic grip.

And third, the steering is enticingly quick and kart direct. On winding A roads the Spec C is a sensation, with instant turn-in, no body roll and plenty of feedback. You'd need a closed circuit and some brave pills to find the limits. However, the ride is on the firm side of harsh, particularly at low speeds, and the brake and clutch pedal actions are heavy. The Recaro sports seats are great, though.

Should I buy one?

Bottom line: this is the best-sorted new-shape STi to date and at £23,692 - virtually the same price as a normal STi in Japan - it looks a bargain.

Peter Nunn

Join the debate

Comments
15

21 August 2009

bargain. this is what people should get if they want performance, not high bhp fwd hatches.

21 August 2009

" An extensive round of weight saving has cut out 30kg,"

This is what we want. Am more impressed with the removal of lard rather than an extra few horses stuffed under the bonnet.

But will it be faster than a lime green focus RS on British B roads?

21 August 2009

My type of car, but of course it will not be as fast as an RS Focus!

21 August 2009

I must say from what I've read, in no way will this be faster cross-country than a Focus RS.

21 August 2009

would like to hear you explain why. anyway its not possible any piece of road in existance in the planet the subaru will be quicker. even in a straight line.

21 August 2009

I know we ended up with the 2.5 Litre in the UK for emissions reasons, the two litre lump is a far superior engine. Coupled with the light weight body this car has, for me this has to be the best new gen Impreza yet.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

21 August 2009

Rubbish!

21 August 2009

I guess these will be imported by the Subaru guru Mr Litchfield rather that through the "official" importers - I hope he sells dozens of 'em ...

21 August 2009

[quote TegTypeR]we ended up with the 2.5 Litre in the UK for emissions reasons, the two litre lump is a far superior engine[/quote]

It always surprised me that the Impreza engine capacity went up by 25% and the 0-60 got worse! I had a 2l WRX with PPP and it was amazingly quick off the line. But the latest STi with PPP doesn't match it's 0-60 (Prodrive's figures, not mine).

It's one of the reasons why I couldn't buy another Impreza. Although I wasn't impressed with the understeer when you weren't going hell for leather, and the handbrake digging in to my leg was just annoying.

21 August 2009

Sounds like a monster though I am sure that it is not better or quicker than a Focus RS as Autocar have already said that a Focus RS is better and more fun than a Nissan GT-R and has no torque steer at all! ; )

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