2015 Subaru WRX STI Details:
- 300hp turbo 2.5L boxer motor carried over to next generation WRX platform
- Features full aerodynamic body package
- Electronic aides include Subaru Intelligent Drive, Driver Controlled Center Differential and Active Torque Vectoring
- Special Launch Edition commemorating motorsports heritage limited to 1,000 units
When the third generation Subaru WRX - the era before the current version that debuted at the LA Auto Show late in 2013 - launched all the way back in 2008, the all-wheel-drive sport compact took a shellacking from critics and enthusiasts. A big reason was the uninspired design of the car, both in five-door hatch and four door sedan forms, exceedingly blah when compared to the flared fendered goodness of the model's STI trim.
So how did Subaru fix things? In 2011, they began manufacturing the standard, non-STI WRX with flared fenders. Done and done.
This morning at the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Mich., Subaru debuted the STI for the 2015 WRX, otherwise known as the fourth generation, and when we heard which engine was in the range-topping rally-inspired machine it gave us pause, taking us back to 2007 and the third-gen. rollout. See, the STI is ostensibly getting the same turbocharged 2.5-liter lump as the outgoing iteration, which seems a little counterintuitive given virtually everything else about the model is brand-spanking new.
This isn't so much a complaint as it is a "Huh?" We're sure engineers are working to find more ponies, whether that's in this mill or another - still, it threw us for a loop. And it shouldn't; 305 horsepower and 290 lb-ft of torque is nothing to sneeze at.
The power plant is mated to a specially reinforced six-speed manual transmission, the only way the STI comes. There is a staggering amount of electronic nannies on this edition of the WRX, which includes the Subaru Intelligent Drive (SI-DRIVE) powertrain management system, a Driver Controlled Center Differential (DCCD) and Active Torque Vectoring. The first allows the driver to tailor the car's driving characteristics by choosing from among three selectable modes, the second governs torque transfer response and the last applies brake pressure to the inside front wheel to facilitate more neutral cornering.
The new STI takes full advantage of the stiffer new WRX chassis, which helped net a quick steering response, 2.5 turns from lock to lock. Handling will also be enhanced with elements like aluminum front lower control arms, STI-tuned suspension and standard 18-inch wheels with 245/40R18 summer soles.
STI gets a lightweight aluminum hood, with the functional hood scoop set more deeply into the hood this time for better forward visibility. The full aerodynamic body kit includes signature rear wing and a rear diffuser.
The cabin is spruced up nicely, and again driver centric, starting with new Alcantara seating surfaces accented by red and black leather bolsters and red stitching. The 2015 STI also sports dual-zone automatic climate control, the All-Weather Package (dual-mode heated front seats, heated exterior mirrors and windshield wiper de-icer) and a pretty stout in-car entertainment system (AM/FM stereo with HD Radio, a single-disc in-dash CD player, 6 speakers, MP3/WMA capability, Radio Data Broadcast System (RDBS), Bluetooth hands-free calling and audio streaming, iPod control capability, iTunes Tagging, SiriusXM Satellite Radio (subscription required), USB port and a 3.5mm auxiliary audio input jack).
Subaru will also be offering a WRX STI "Launch Edition," a version that celebrates the brand's competition heritage and will be limited to just 1,000 units. All will be painted in WR Blue Pearl and floss gold BBS forged alloy wheels, like every proper classic STI. The Launch Edition will also rock a special cabin trim with blue highlights, short-throw shifter and keyless access and start.
Get a healthy dose of a Launch Edition in the image gallery. Look for pricing and availability for the 2015 Subaru WRX STI to emerge in the weeks ahead.