First drive new Subaru WRX STI


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So what is it?
It's the car formerly known as the Subaru Impreza WRX STI, now shorn of the ‘Impreza' bit for reasons TG doesn't quite understand. No matter. Point is, the Subaru WRX STI is the fastest and most extreme car in the Impreza range.
I thought that wasn't coming to the UK?
It wasn't for a long time. Then so many people in the UK, TopGear included, moaned about the STI not featuring in the UK line up. And the Yen lost a stack of value, so Subaru UK gave in and is now going to bring ‘a limited number' into the country.

Limited to exactly the number of people who want one, or a fixed number?
No word on that yet. Just be happy any are making their way here. With the Mitsubishi Evo disappearing, this is the only proper rally-style car you will be able to buy in the UK.

It's not really a rally car anymore though, is it?
It is. It might not be in the WRC, which is filled with smaller cars like the Polo, Mini, and Fiesta. But it's front and centre in the US Rally America championship, helmed by none other than our old friend Travis Pastrana.

So what's new about this car? It looks very similar to the last one.
Despite a bulgy, squat concept car hinting that the new STI would go all Group B on us again, the production car does look remarkably like the last one. But look closely and you'll see there are a number of changes to the outside.

At the front, the bonnet, bumpers, doors and lights are all new. At the back are the trademark huge boot spoiler and diffuser, which kill all lift at speed - and remind other road users they are in the presence of someone in a permanent blinding hurry.

The wheelbase is now an inch longer, the side sills lower and the door openings wider. If you could ever persuade anyone to sit in the back of the car, they'd find an extra two inches of legroom. The two other key changes are the front A-pillar, the base of which is now eight - eight! - inches further forward, giving a more raked windscreen. And a more recessed bonnet air intake. Both improve forward vision.

What's it like inside?
Better. It's still not a patch on anything from Germany, but the new STI is still a huge improvement on the quality of the last car. There's a new flat-bottomed steering wheel, revised seats with separate and adjustable headrests and there's now a reasonable stereo system. The fit and finish is tight and there are flashings of carbon fibre. But it's still what you'd call functional rather than plush.

What about the chassis?
This is where the real work has been done. The key word here is: stiffer. Everything from the springs, dampers, bushings, control arms and all their attachment points has been beefed up substantially. Together they make the STI some 24 per cent more roll-resistant than before.

With such a strong base to work off, the steering rack has been quickened from 15:1 to 13: 1, which Subaru claims make the car respond three times quicker to steering inputs than the last STI. It definitely feels faster on the road, but that's not all the steering's work.

What else contributes?

Written By:- Pat Devereux

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