Review: Subaru WRX STI A-Line

By Patrick Everett Tadeo
 

Subaru WRX STI

For some reason, Subaru has dropped the "Impreza" name from the car's STI version sometime last year, so the Japanese carmaker's high-performance flagship model now simply goes by the name Subaru WRX STI. Apparently, with so many changes being done to the car, Subaru has decided to make it its own model that's distinct enough to stand on its own.

That said, with an all-new Impreza debuting last year, it's certain that the curtains are about to be brought down on the current-generation WRX STI. We spend some time with what used to be Subaru's lone halo car before its replacement goes on sale probably next year.

Subaru WRX STI Styling

STYLING

Subarus have always been a love-it-or-hate-it affair. The WRX STI continues that tradition with its very busy-looking front fascia that's highlighted by the large hood scoop for the top-mount intercooler. It's definitely more mature-looking than the pre-face-lift model, which--hard to believe--was even busier-looking with the strake-like design on the fog lamps for starters.

With its front and rear tracks wider than its plebeian brethren, the WRX STI's bulging flared fenders are a necessity. In a way, these add to the car's appeal as they give the semblance of flexed muscles. Out back, the quad tailpipes only serve to enhance the car's athletic nature even further.

Also, despite the WRX STI now at the tail end of its life cycle, it still earns a stare or two in its stock form. Not bad for a car that's almost five years old already.

Subaru WRX STI Interior

INTERIOR

Since the WRX STI is an Impreza on steroids, its interior is practically the same as the regular 2.0-liter car, save for some touches of luxury like the Alcantara-trimmed sport front seats and the red stitching (which continues onto the 60/40-split rear seats), aluminum pedals and faux aluminum trim on the center console.

As expected with the car's hatchback body, cargo capacity is limited compared to its sedan counterpart. Nevertheless, it capably handled three large duffel bags--and some duty-free shopping bags to boot--for a lengthy, weekend stay in Subic.

Subaru WRX STI Engine

ENGINE PERFORMANCE

The WRX STI's main selling point is its EJ25 2.5-liter turbocharged flat-four engine. With its torque at 350Nm, it isn't uncommon to see the car's body twist slightly when it is being revved in neutral. And with its power at 296hp, 200kph isn't all that hard to achieve, especially when you know with your seat-of-the-pants dyno that it's capable of exceeding that speed with hardly any effort.

Furthermore, despite the prodigious amount of power available on tap, getting 7km/L in the city and 11km/L on the highway is achievable provided you have a light foot. You only have yourself to blame, really, if you get less than the aforementioned figures because it's understandably hard to fight the urge to step on it, especially when you're at the head of the traffic at an intersection and the traffic light turns green.

While it's anathema to think of a car like the WRX STI being equipped with an automatic transmission, the parking space known as Metro Manila requires it.

Subaru WRX STI Ride

RIDE AND HANDLING

As expected of a car with a sporty reputation, the WRX STI is firmly planted on the ground, with nary a hint of body roll when it attacks a corner. The suspension tweaks to the face-lifted model, which includes stiffer suspension and the lower arms with pillow ball bushings, stiffen the ride even more. This will undoubtedly displease passengers who have lower back problems.

Subaru WRX STI Extra Features

EXTRA FEATURES

The SI-Drive is a thing of mechanical wizardry. Once you've tried it, you'd wish each car you drive afterward had it. It transforms the WRX STI into three different cars. In Intelligent mode, it's a mild-mannered, gentleman's sports car; the ride seems more forgiving and the throttle output is more linear. In Sport Sharpmode, civility is thrown out the door as it becomes a feral beast whose g-forces push you back into the driver's seat with even the minutest blip of the throttle. For the best of both worlds, the Sportmode seemingly puts the car's capabilities a hairline away from Sport Sharp while keeping everything as calm and collected as if it were in Intelligent mode.

THE VERDICT

The Subaru WRX STI A-Line is the perfect compromise between a fast everyday grocery-getter and an asphalt-tearing track car. One minute it's cool and suave like Tony Stark, the next it's as capable as Iron Man with the push of a button. If you can tolerate the rather stark interior and the firm suspension, and prefer the nimble hatchback body to the traditional sedan form, then there are very few cars on the market right now that can go toe-to-toe with this Subaru.

SPECS: SUBARU WRX STI A-LINE

Engine:2.5-liter flat-four turbocharged DOHC 16-valve gasoline

Transmission:5-speed automatic

Power:296hp @ 6,200rpm

Torque:350Nm @ 3,000-6,000rpm

Drive layout:AWD

Seating:5

Price:P2,548,000

Score:17/20

Photos by Patrick Everett Tadeo

SIGN UP FOR EXCLUSIVE AUTOMOTIVE UPDATES!
GET VIA
COMMENTS

User account login

Not registered? Click here to be a TopGear.com.ph member.

Forgot your Password?.

Click this link to view our posting guidelines.

Filter comments by:
  • Kyoichi Sudo Feb 25 2013 @ 08:46pm
    Good thing about this car is that it will never be old in terms of name and herritage. Even if the new gen shows up this car will still be hot in the eyes of many people...
  • GotToRead Feb 25 2013 @ 10:46pm
    EVO > WRX STI. That is just my preference :)
  • black07 Feb 26 2013 @ 12:44am
    whats the difference between the non A-line and the A-line? and why does this sti not have the DCCD diff?
    • John Rigor Feb 27 2013 @ 12:03am
      The a-line Subarus simply mean they have automatic transmissions. The non a-line models have manual transmissions. As for the DCCD, I am not sure, but I think it also has it.
      • black07 Feb 27 2013 @ 01:02am
        ahh yun pala yun thanks man! i tried researching, apparently ung mga a/t yata wlang DCCD
    • desh__ Mar 07 2013 @ 09:23pm
      The a-line is automatic, does not have DCCD and it has less torque.
  • Niky Tamayo
    Niky Tamayo Feb 26 2013 @ 01:54am
    I still don't like the automatic. Not that the STI is not exciting with the AT. It still is. But the transmission is a handicap in stoplight drags and on the racetrack. The manual STI is so lovely easy to balance on the throttle, clutch and brakes in cornering that it's a shame to spec the STI model with an AT. On the other hand, I thoroughly approve the automatic Forester FXT, and wouldn't have it any other way. - I hear they're still selling the STI sedan... and that comes in manual. :D Hope they increase the discounts.
    • John Rigor Feb 27 2013 @ 12:04am
      But I'd also love to see a manual Forester FXT. :)) It'd be so fun to drive.
    • Niky Tamayo
      Niky Tamayo Feb 27 2013 @ 12:44am
      The matic suits the Fozzie's character. It's a dragster disguised as a mommy mobile. It doesn't have the handling to necessitate a manual transmission. An STI does, so limiting it to the long-legged 5-speed AT is a disservice to the car.
  • torquebender Feb 26 2013 @ 11:48am
    i would still admire the sedan sti...
  • The Stig Feb 27 2013 @ 08:14am
    EVO pa rin ako!!!.I'm still anxious on the next gen rivalries of the STi and th EVO...hoping the next EVO won't be hybrid...
    • DePendot Feb 28 2013 @ 03:23pm
      di pa ba deads ang EVO? (im huge fan myself)
      • black07 Mar 02 2013 @ 11:21pm
        deads na for now.. no new for evo 11
        • GotToRead Mar 03 2013 @ 11:58am
          There is, the replacement is due next year. Diesel hybrid powertrain daw.
Filter comments by:
1 to 6 of 6