Tuesday, October 17, 2017

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A collection of stories, reviews and rants

Review - Subaru WRX STi

 

sti-profileOnce upon a time there was a motorsport category called the World Rally Championship. STi badgeSuch was the clout it had, the drivers were household names and car makers couldn’t throw enough coin at it. One of those makers was Subaru and with their dedication to an all wheel drive platform inside a smallish chassis, combined with Scandinavian drivers of such talent they frightened Formula 1 drivers, they forged a legend.

The flash of blue and yellow as the Impreza rally car powered through dirt or snow or tarmac stages on the way to a chequered flag cemented the car into motorsport lore.

Subaru’s hardcore motorsport division, STi (Subaru Tecnica International) joined the party and added their name to a road going version of the WRX, itself a relation of the rally car, by amping up both power and visual appeal. The 2015 model launched in early 2014, bringing with it both apprehension and anticipation: apprehension for the question of will it be any better and anticipation because of what it promises to bring.

A Wheel Thing has had the pleasure of its company in Premium specification. In place of the (updated) 2.0L boxer in the standard WRX is a 2.5L flat four. Max power climbs to 221 kW at 6000 revs but, more importantly, torque increases to a V8 rivalling 407 Nm @ 4000 revs. By being flatter it sits lower in the engine bay and helps with the centre of gravity. STi engineFrom here things get a bit techy. The Australian STi comes with a six speed manual gearbox only, one that’s provided by Aisen and rebuilt by STi.

sti-dashPower is sent through to all four paws but has, in the process, to pass through a centre differential, with the mirror acronym of DCCD. In human speak, it stands for Driver Control Centre Differention, a two mode (auto or manual) switchable system that splits torque on demand and allows the driver to control the level automatically sent or have more control (six levels) in manual mode.

Atop the red crackle painted engine is the intercooler intake, said to be larger than the previous model plus revamped electronics, helping the reponse time of the engine’s management system. Fuel is 98RON only and economy is claimed to be 10.4L/100km in a combined cycle, from the 60L tank and in a car weighing around 1500 kg dry. Zero to licence loosing takes a mere five seconds.

At the front there’s not much in the way of changes from the WRX; there’s the black chrome headlight inserts and the STi badge on the black diamond grille. It’s the rear that catches the eye, especially of the high schoolers unaccustomed to seeing something so rarely seen nowadays. It’s the wing, of course, sitting loud and proud atop the bootlid. From inside it’s noticeably style to give almost completely unobstructed rear STi frontvision, from outside it draws the eye to the pert rear like seagulls circle discarded chips.

STi profileSubaru, however, have offered buyers the choice of being discrete, with the small lip style spoiler being made available. In profile the long snout and car rearward design updates the previous model mildly, with the guards, like the standard WRX, pumped slightly and with the front guards getting the plastic vents and STi badge insert. Just under the rear window pillar are crease lines that wouldn’t look out of place on one of the STi’s major rivals from days past, Mitsubishi’s Evo9. At the rear are four chromed tipped exhausts, either side of the black plastic valance and from which the 2.5L boxer four emits the characteristic Subaru burble.

On top, being the Premium, is a sunroof yet, again surprisingly, parking sensors, as standard, are nowhere to be seen. Naturally, there’s central locking and push button start, with the locking system avaiable on the door handle by a simple touch. On the Inside. STi SI DriveSTi front seatsSTi dashFrom the electrically operated driver’s seat, there’s not much different, looking straight ahead, from the WRX. The tiller gets the STi badge instead of WRX and pedals in the footwell are the same chrome/rubber dotted setup.

sti-wheelIt’s when you look right and left you’ll note the red alcantara inserts in the leather appointed seats and stitched leather inserts on the doors and, in between the seats, a jog dial for the three mode SI Drive system in place of the WRX’s steering wheel mounted buttons. Ahead of the driver are the same information filled view screens as found in the WRX plus the hot red backlighting on the dials and tiller. Being the Premium spec the STi was given the Harman Kardon audio and touchscreen/satnav system.



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