Few cars can lay claim to being true icons, especially in the modern era. Whilst some extraordinarily impressive machines have graced our roads in the last 10 or 15 years, it often takes decades to truly acquire cult status. However, thanks largely to its huge sporting success in WRC, the Subaru Impreza WRC became an instant favourite with car fanatics, young and old. It won three world championship titles and such rallying greats as Colin McRae, Richard Burns and Petter Solberg made their names behind its wheel. The instantly recognisable blue and lime green livery undoubtedly added some panache to the mixture, whilst in thousands of bedrooms around the country, the sticker-adorned remote control model was the must-have ultimate sign of cool for every 10 year old boy.
Set for release in summer 2014, the new Subaru WRX STI is once again ready to get hearts pumping and pulses racing amongst UK petrolheads. Based on the WRX saloon car launched at the LA Motor Show back in November, the STI, as has always been the case with Subarus decorated with those three letters, will represent the ultimate performance-honed evolution of the model.
Significant enhancements have been made in the engine room, with the 2.5 litre turbo-charged Boxer four-pot engine tuned to STI spec to produce 305bhp and 290lb/ft of torque. The six-speed gearbox has been upgraded for even shorter, slicker and sportier shift feel.
Of course, the real genius of the WRX and its rally-bred predecessors has always been its almost unrivalled driving experience. Accordingly, the 2014 edition has been honed to perfection under a wide variety of conditions around the world, including extensive testing at Germany’s Nürburgring circuit. Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive and Active Torque Vectoring systems give the driver maximum control and this combined with meticulously re-tuned springs and dampers will provide the WRX STI with its distinctive immaculate handling.
A car with this much pedigree naturally has to look the part, so the new model gets the Subaru wing treatment; the monster signature rear wing rises up above the tailgate with great menace and beneath, the diffuser integrated bumper and twin dual mufflers are unmistakably Subaru. Red ‘STI’ badges are scattered around the front grille and wings, whilst the lighter and larger diameter 18inch alloy wheels top off the whole predatory package with aplomb.
Inside, highlights include a new D-shaped steering wheel designed to give the driver maximum feel on the road and dials framed by fresh carbon effect and metal trim, giving the STI a suitably sporty feel.
The best part though? You can land yourself one of these beasts for just £28,995, that’s some £4,000 cheaper than its predecessor! However, don’t spend too much time mulling over it, as Subaru have stated the new WRX STI will only be available in limited numbers when it goes on UK sale in summer 2014.