Subaru WRX muscles STI mettle

2014-04-20T17:13:00Z Subaru WRX muscles STI mettleBy Jim Jackson Times Autos Correspondent
April 20, 2014 5:13 pm  • 

Timing is the magic elixir that helps drive sales in the auto industry.

And now that our region’s winter has disappeared from the rear view mirror, Subaru pulls back the curtain to reveal their next-generation 2015 Subaru WRX STI.

Based off the automaker’s tried and true WRX sedan, the 2015 WRX STI brings a new level of performance to the street honed from the World Rally racing circuits.

For 2015, STI gets a makeover – retooled and redesigned from the functional air-gulping hood scoop to its massive rear wing with only the back deck lid and window architecture borrowed from its WRX brethren.

Subaru WRX STI retains the 305 horsepower 2.5-liter turbocharged boxer (flat) four-cylinder engine from the outgoing model.

All-wheel drive is standard as is a six-speed manual only transmission.

“The 2015 Subaru WRX STI is the closest a buyer can get to a factory-built race car in today’s market,” says Mark Sattler, Internet sales manager for Nielsen Subaru in Portage. “More white-collar professionals are buying the STI for their daily driver, and at the same time are enjoying it for local weekend club racing.”

I recently tested the 2015 Subaru WRX STI on twisty mountain roads en route to the famed Laguna Seca Raceway near Monterey, California.

The 2015 STI’s steering ratio is remarkably quick and irons out S-curves with weighted control that requires less steering wheel input while Subaru’s Active Torque Vectoring all-wheel drive provides Velcro-like surface grip.

Under track conditions, STI’s multi-mode Driver Controlled Center Differential (DCCD) is adjusted with center console switchgear that allows me to customize the all-wheel grip up to a balanced 50:50 split-ratio for more spirited driving.

STI’s turbo power comes on strong with 290 lb-ft of torque felt at 3400 RPM’s for straight-away speed that quickly reaches triple digits.

The DCCD works seamlessly with the anti-lock Brembo brakes to safely rein the car's forward momentum and provide exceptional cornering performance.

Torsional rigidity is 40-percent stiffer and teams with the beefed-up suspension for a near flat body posture in turns.

The five occupant cabin is performance driven with a flat-bottom D-shaped steering wheel that fronts an at-a-glance gauge cluster for easy recognition of gear selection and other critical driver information.

Alcantara lined front bucket seats are well bolstered to fit today’s American-framed driver and passenger comfortably. Back seat riders enjoy legroom that is increased by nearly two inches.

The only rub is the ride quality that suffers from a stiff suspension. Road noise also bleeds into the cabin while at cruising speed. Under power, all is masked by STI’s throaty exhaust.

With a prudent throttle fuel economy of 17 miles per gallon/city and 23 mpg/highway can be expected.

Price for the 2015 Subaru WRX STI starts at $35,290 with freight. An exhilarating driving experience is a no cost option.

PHOTO CREDIT: Jim Jackson/The Times Newspapers

CUTLINE: The 2015 Subaru WRX STI Launch Edition comes with 18-inch gold BBS wheels and special WR blue paint. Only 1000 copies with be produced.

Copyright 2014 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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