Ten years in the past I scored my first gig within the automotive media enterprise as an intern for ex-TEN publication Sport Compact Automobile. One among my essential duties was shuttling automobiles all throughout Southern California. Often this meant schlepping a fickle, oftentimes barely operating venture automotive throughout city, however infrequently I used to be handed the keys to a brand-new press automotive. Such was the case after I was requested to ship a just-released 2008 Subaru WRX STI to the monitor. I keep in mind falling in love with the distinctive growl of its boxer engine, being shocked by its copious ranges of grip within the corners, and being OK with its dressed-up economic system automotive inside. Once I received right into a 2018 STI lately, it was like reconnecting with an outdated good friend.
In some ways, this automotive isn’t that completely different from the one I drove all these years in the past. The 2018 STI packs the identical 2.5-liter turbocharged flat-four that also makes 305 hp and 290 lb-ft of torque and nonetheless comes solely with a six-speed handbook transmission. It additionally nonetheless has that attribute boxer rumble, one thing the usual WRX’s 2.Zero-liter turbo lacks. Though the bundle is acquainted, there are many updates that assist carry the STI into the trendy period. For 2018, the STI will get a refresh that features a subtly redesigned entrance finish, new 19-inch wheels, a revised all-wheel-drive system, a brand new digital heart differential, new Brembo brakes, and a retuned suspension.
Sadly, the advantages of these upgrades weren’t all that obvious in testing. The 2018 STI accomplished our figure-eight course in 25.1 seconds at a median of Zero.75 g, nearly matching our earlier long-term 2015 STI and falling wanting one other 2015 STI that did the deed in 24.9 seconds at Zero.79 g. It’s additionally not a lot better than a less expensive, much less highly effective 2018 WRX we lately examined at 25.2 seconds at Zero.72 g. The STI’s dealing with numbers slot it proper in between its two all-wheel-drive rivals. We clocked a extra highly effective 2016 Ford Focus RS at 24.6 seconds and a 2016 Volkswagen Golf R at 25.Four seconds. In the meantime, the just-as-extreme-looking however front-drive-only Honda Civic Kind R can lap the determine eight in a mere 24.7 seconds at Zero.78 g.
The brand new brakes, which embody calipers painted in an eye catching greenish yellow, did carry out effectively in testing. The STI wanted 109 toes to cease from 60 mph, and each highway take a look at editor Chris Walton and testing director Kim Reynolds praised the brake really feel. Acceleration was a special story, nevertheless. The STI has all the time been notoriously troublesome to launch, and this automotive was no completely different. However even after getting the differential settings good, feeding the required excessive revs, efficiently participating the vague-until-suddenly-grabby clutch, and hustling via three gears (as a result of second solely takes you to 57 mph) through the notchy shifter, the perfect we might handle was a 5.7-second Zero–60 and a 14.1-second quarter mile at 98.5 mph. That’s a few second slower than our outdated long-termer in each exams and in addition slower than the Focus RS and Civic Kind R. The STI matched the Golf R’s acceleration occasions precisely, however the VW had the upper entice velocity at 102.7 mph.
Though it didn’t impress on the take a look at monitor, the STI proved to be as enjoyable to drive on the road as ever. In case you suppose the common WRX appears like a throwback to the turbo automobiles of outdated, then the STI will take you manner again with its even better turbo lag. That is an annoyance in most conventional driving conditions, besides when you’ve got sufficient open highway to wind up the two.5-liter and expertise full increase. Monstrous all-wheel-drive grip is the WRX’s actual get together trick, and the STI variant has loads of it. It by no means will get outdated popping out of a flip, placing the fitting pedal down prior to you suppose it is best to, and rocketing out of it with ease (assuming you’re in the fitting gear). The elective Recaro seats do an ideal job holding you in place throughout such high-g maneuvers.
As a result of the clutch is on the heavy facet, driving the STI in bumper-to-bumper visitors is a chore. The experience on the freeway is stiff however not a lot stiffer than a daily WRX. Though Subaru says the 2018 mannequin advantages from thicker door glass, new door seals, and a brand new foam-filled windshield header beam, cabin noise continues to be noticeable. The central multifunction show has elevated in measurement from Four.three to five.9 inches, so your increase gauge will probably be simpler to see.
The WRX and STI have been identified for providing plenty of bang on your buck. Though that’s nonetheless true immediately, costs have crept upward, and the competitors is far fiercer lately. Our tester was a base 2018 STI outfitted with the aforementioned Recaro seats and hands-free keyless entry and push-button begin, which bump the worth as much as just below $40,00Zero. The 2018 Focus RS begins at $41,995, and the 2017 Volkswagen Golf R begins at $40,195. If front-wheel drive isn’t a deal-breaker, the 2018 Honda Civic Kind R, arguably essentially the most fun-to-drive compact available on the market, begins at $34,990—or $1,105 lower than the STI’s beginning worth. Then, after all, there’s the usual WRX, which begins at $30,155. You don’t get bells and whistles such because the STI’s fancy selectable all-wheel-drive system, however the common WRX is sort of as fast and is simply as a lot enjoyable to drive on the road.
Driving the brand new STI nonetheless delivers the enjoyment I keep in mind from the last-generation automotive, however there are different choices that ship the identical thrills and extra. The outdated adage “to face nonetheless is to go backward” could be very true within the automotive world, and the STI appears like a automotive that hasn’t moved ahead in a while. Right here’s hoping the next-gen mannequin due in a pair years brings with it important modifications. When assembly an outdated good friend you haven’t seen in years and years, it’s good to have new issues to speak about.
|2018 Subaru WRX STI|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$39,455|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Entrance-engine, AWD, 5-pass, Four-door sedan|
|ENGINE||2.5L/305-hp/290-lb-ft turbo DOHC -valve flat-Four|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||three,444 lb (59/41%)|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||180.9 x 70.7 x 58.1 in|
|Zero-60 MPH||5.7 sec|
|QUARTER MILE||14.1 sec @ 98.5 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-Zero MPH||109 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||Zero.93 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||25.1 sec @ Zero.75 g (avg)|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||17/23/19 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY||198/147 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||1.01 lb/mile|