From £31,550
STi stages a return to driving form, though some of the old niggles still remain

Our Verdict

Subaru Impreza WRX STI
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    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.
7 October 2010

What is it?

Things to note about the new Subaru WRX STI. One: it's a saloon. Two: curiously, it's not called Impreza any more.

Subaru has listened to its punters and given them the four-door they've craved since the last one departed in 2007, but nonetheless there's a feeling within Subaru that things have moved on.

We’ve already driven the Australian-spec car so how does the UK version stack up?

See the first drive pics of the Subaru WRX STI

What’s it like?

Well, you can no longer have your WRX with gold wheels or WR Blue paint, for example, and the days when 60 per cent of Subaru sales were turbo nutjobs are long gone.

What returns with the new saloon is a bodyshell correspondingly stiffer than its hatched sibling; that is similarly revised and priced, incidentally. Think of this as a mid-life facelift, not merely a boot introduction.

You'll note accordingly, then, that even away from the rear, new body panels abound (for my money they improve the visuals no end).

With the revisions come minor engine changes which ease the 2.5 boxer through Euro V emission regs. More serious are suspension alterations, to Japanese domestic-market 'Spec C' specification.

It should have had these all along. Most significantly they give tighter body control, impressively not coupled with a ride deterioration (it out-rides a Mitsubishi Evo X convincingly despite spring rates that, at the rear, are stiffened 50 per cent). There's a new sense of poise and flatness, while the mild lateral looseness of old is banished.

Agility isn't back to the 'time-attack' good/bad old days; the STI steers only moderately quickly and still makes a satisfying distance companion. But it is a more rewarding driver's tool too, no question. More grip, more response, more feel, more poise. Less of nothing.

Should I buy one?

I ran an STI hatchback for a year, and argued that for 85 per cent of the time it was preferable to a new Evo. For me, this saloon takes another 10 percent.

It remains weak where Imprezas usually do. Cosseting new Recaro seats and detail trim upgrades can't mask an interior less compelling than those from Europe, while the Yen's relative strength gives a disconcerting price increase. New mechanicals, though, enable it to compete.

Subaru WRX STI 4dr

Price: £32,995; Top speed: 158mph; 0-62mph: 5.2sec; Economy: 26.9mpg; Co2: 243g/km; Kerb weight: 1505kg; Engine type, cc: 4cyls horizontally opposed, 2547cc turbo petrol; Power: 296bhp at 6000rpm; Torque: 300lb ft at 4000rpm; Gearbox: 6-spd manual

Join the debate

Comments
18

8 October 2010

£33k GULP!

That sounds pretty expensive given the looks and performance... used to be 0-60 in 5.5s and c.150mph equalled a fast car, but now most hot hatches can match that.

Feels at least £5k too expensive to me.

Plus the CO2 and MPG are embarassingly bad, making for high running costs.

I sometimes wonder if manufacturers think about how their models will work in the market place before they introduce them... who is actually going to buy this car?

8 October 2010

Where's the spoiler?!

8 October 2010

[quote Autocar] a disconcerting price increase[/quote]

Moving from £ 27.5k to £ 33k is quite a jump. Especially when apparently the Evo X has dropped in price. You can't blame the Yen for that!

It's Subaru UK who are being far too greedy, wait until you see the price of these cars in the car supermarkets. Right now in one of these places you can get a new STi for £ 22.5k. £ 5k less than the Subaru UK price! Are these imports? For a car which is made in Japan they're all imports!

As for this particular varient; it's a dulled down Impreza. Subaru UK are turning their backs on the traditional buyer of their products. From now on, not only because of the price, but also because of the styling (WR blue and big wing please) the only way to buy is via import. Or Litchfield Imports.

I used to be a Subaru owner, bought from new. When I went to change my car it was the Subaru garage I went to first. Unfortunately I really didn't like the hatchback, not just because of the styling but the way it was inside (cramp) and it being wooly if you weren't driving hard.

If I were a Subaru dealer I wouldn't be happy at all.

8 October 2010

They've dropped the name "Impreza" beacuase it will now be called the Subaru "Exhorbitant"

8 October 2010

They seem to have bypassed the design department in their rush to get it into production. Simply awful.

8 October 2010

[quote Lord Snooty]They seem to have bypassed the design department in their rush to get it into production. Simply awful.[/quote]

I agree. And still as classy as a set of flying ducks stuck to the living room wall.

8 October 2010

[quote Symanski]Moving from £ 27.5k to £ 33k is quite a jump. Especially when apparently the Evo X has dropped in price. You can't blame the Yen for that![/quote]

It is the Yen thats to blame. The Evo's will have been imported before the Yen strengthened. You can still buy a new 2010 STi for £27ish as they were also imported before the Yen strengthened.

[quote Symanski]It's Subaru UK who are being far too greedy, wait until you see the price of these cars in the car supermarkets. Right now in one of these places you can get a new STi for £ 22.5k. £ 5k less than the Subaru UK price! Are these imports? For a car which is made in Japan they're all imports![/quote]

You've overlooked exactly what the car supermarkets want you to. Almost certainly the cars will have been imported from Cyprus. Why?, because they're RHD. No problem?, er no. What does Cyprus have that we don't? Answer - year round sun. Because of this, they don't have nearly the same amount of rust proofing as a UK car, they have very short service intervals because of the dust, and have numerous minor differences to suspension and brakes etc. They also don't have the same warranty cover as a UK car. And there is a premium to pay for imported car insurance. I looked into all this before ordering my car back in '08.

[quote Symanski]Subaru UK are turning their backs on the traditional buyer of their products. From now on, not only because of the price, but also because of the styling (WR blue and big wing please) the only way to buy is via import. Or Litchfield Imports.[/quote]

Can't understand this either. Subaru cars are sold in the UK through IM group so I guess its them that pick what spec to sell etc. Even car hating Switzerland have a rally blue one with a big spoiler. Can only guess that Subaru UK are trying to move away from the rally background. Can't think why though.

9 October 2010

Quite honestly, I don't know what Subaru are doing. And I don't think they do either. We thought the MK II Impreza was ugly - until we saw the MK III! They wanted the MK III to appeal to a wider audience but you see even fewer on the road. I think that's due to high prices, the wrong powertrain options, very high CO2 levels, ugly styling and a cheap interior (there's not much left is there?). The Legacy has gone from bland to ugly and the Tribeca is a joke.

9 October 2010

[quote blowerbentley]Quite honestly, I don't know what Subaru are doing. And I don't think they do either. We thought the MK II Impreza was ugly - until we saw the MK III! They wanted the MK III to appeal to a wider audience but you see even fewer on the road. I think that's due to high prices, the wrong powertrain options, very high CO2 levels, ugly styling and a cheap interior (there's not much left is there?). The Legacy has gone from bland to ugly and the Tribeca is a joke.[/quote]

Subaru know exactly what they are doing. Us brits think the world revolves around us and everything should be tailored to our tastes. Subaru do very well in the US and Australia for instance. The US buy more Subarus in a month than the UK does all year so only an idiot would design a car to 'suit' the UK at the expense of US buyers. Subaru is currently one of very few profitable car manufacturers.

9 October 2010

[quote 73henny] they don't have nearly the same amount of rust proofing as a UK car[/quote]

I've always considered this to be a fallacy created by the UK sales people to try and scare off anybody wishing to compare a UK car to an "import".

Do you honestly believe that for some markets the car would skip some processes in the paint shop?

Those Cyprus cars have been imported for long enough for any rust problems to have become a big problem. It hasn't.

Like yourself I looked in to the car supermarket cars, several times. Bottom line is that Subarus are made in Japan and therefore they're all imports.

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