What is it?
Hopefully still something to get excited about. Subaru’s WRX STI may have fallen far from the heady favour of its halcyon days – when an RB5 driver could expect to garner the nodding appreciation of passers-by – but the last model showed that there was still life in the old badge provided you took the time to see past its myriad faults.
The latest model – more a significant update than a completely new car – is intended to patch up the worst of the problem areas. Improved stiffness and agility appear to have been at the top of Subaru’s list, with a higher percentage of ultra-high-tensile steel used in the body and a quicker ratio added to the still hydraulic steering system.
The suspension remains by MacPherson struts at the front and double wishbones at the rear, although both have undergone minor surgery with cross members, subframes, anti-roll bars and bushings swapped out for strengthened, thickened or stiffer alternatives.
Up front, the same trademarked, turbocharged 2.5-litre four-cylinder boxer engine as before is reused, although it hunkers down under a larger intercooler now and gains a modified ECU for better throttle response. Power remains unchanged at 296bhp, and there’s still plenty of CO2 (242g/km) falling out of the exhaust despite the engine's new Euro 6 compliance.
The six-speed manual gearbox has had its action revised, but otherwise the symmetrical all-wheel drive set-up – with its mechanical limited-slip centre differential – is untouched. Arguably the most notable alteration is saved for the price. With the currency markets at last working in Subaru’s favour again, the manufacturer can claim a £4k cut over the previous STI, leaving the saloon handily shy of the £30k mark at £28,995.