First Drive: 2011 Subaru WRX STI

August 5th, 2009

Subaru has a talent for continuous improvement of its vehicles, particularly the performance-minded Impreza WRX and STI models.

And as he rolled an all-new sporty Impreza WRX STI and high performance for 2008 gave the WRX a variety of mechanical upgrades for 2009, with a few tweaks last year. Now, for 2011, both of these rally-themed models get a more aggressive look, but it is the top STI, the most innovative performance is given the time.

In the first place to look: Line up both of these models together and they are closer than ever appearance. Together, both of these models have a number of changes, most of which are now divided between the WRX and STI. The new wide-body look creates a new grille, a new 17-inch alloy wheels with wider tires and a spoiler for the WRX sedan. Up front, the lower air intake is wider and lower lip spoiler resculpted, and the blackout foglamp edges further support from the broad, low look. In back, both models have a more aggressive look with lower-body quad-tip exhaust and of course along the front and rear fenders now bulge out, giving the car more lust. Within the familiar appearance, but there are a new instrument cluster, a new audio system, and darker, more subdued trim.

Both models continue to offer four-door sedan or five-door hatch body styles. But probably, contrary to what we thought in pictures, it is the sedan most of the new wide look-fendered benefits. From the rear three-quarter corners in person, where the sedan has looked a bit dowdy and awkward since the redesign, the flared bodywork makes the whole design pop. The sedan gets a more aggressive spoiler configuration that helps improve aerodynamics and top speed to increase (up to 158 km / h for the STI). In our opinion, the hatch was already the better of the two body styles, and also some of the advantages of the new look.

Closer than ever to view, but different in personality

The WRX STI and now the same body, to share, but the powertrain and suspension is where she is very different. While the WRX will get a 265-hp, 2.5-liter horizontally opposed (boxer) four-cylinder engine and five-speed manual transmission with viscous differential all-wheel drive, the STi gets a 305-horsepower, 2, 5-liter turbocharged boxer four, six-speed manual transmission and an all-wheel-drive system that the driver-Controlled Centre Differential (DCCD) plants.

Before looking for some extra toolbox of STIs occurs, there is quite a difference between these two models, just in the way they respond to your right foot in how they sound. Start the STI up and carefully take off and the engine sound is deep and pulsing, with more of a tuner note, the WRX sounds more like a ‘normal’ car.

Indeed, these two models have very different tuning, and the uninitiated might think, at first glance, the stronger the WRX engine. It’s a bit strange that both engines are listed as the preparation of their peak torque at 4,000 rpm, and the STI delivers a peak of 14.7 psi boost, versus 14.2 psi, but the STi engine saves it all for the higher ranges. Shift a little early and the STI feels almost sluggish, but keep the revs and somewhere north of 3,500 rpm it will suddenly pin back in your seat. Fortunately, the manual gearbox has ratios close together, and once you get on top of the peak boost you can stay close. The WRX, by comparison, comes on smoother, torquier, in a way you can complete a 1000 rpm lower feel, and the combination of slightly larger gap between the gears makes it feel more docile, more flexible, but ultimately less aggressive.

Full disclusure: Subaru brought us to great heights above the road Aspen (and over the Continental Divide) to show in part that the turbo engines are not affected by altitude in the way that other performance cars. Indeed, we breezed through a squeaky Dodge Charger on one of the passes.

There is SI-Drive, on the STI, where you can select Intelligent (I), Sport (S) or Sport Sharp (S #) mode, each affect throttle response. Large Brembo brakes are also included in the STI, and a Super Sport ABS allows independent control of each wheel and reduces understeer. And the stability control system includes a “traction” mode, intended for the track, the brakes, but no longer cuts the gas, but can also be plotted.

There is a substantial difference in the way the WRX STI and ride and handling. While STDs setup feels tight and well controlled in almost all cases, the WRX and continue to surprise us with her poise, the WRX has a bit more bounciness, a little more lift and squat under extreme maneuvers. Both models, by the way, benefit from a few inches more rear track, and the WRX has stiffer rear coaches and new, lighter wheels 17×8 Hitachi.

Completely reworked suspension for STI

While the WRX’s suspension layout is usually implemented through, there are some important changes in the suspension of STIs. With some clever engineering, Subaru has succeeded in the spring, buses stiffen, and stabilizer bars, and lower ride height without the in-cab experience harder. The key to this is a new pillow-ball coach setup at steering pivots in essentially the way to help isolate hardness while maintaining responding, communicative feel simply turn-in (and maintaining the geometry of the middle) which would improve driver confidence. It is a solution borrowed from racing cars in the STI is the perfect solution, and Subaru says that enhances stiffness at the track and reduces understeer in bends.

Driving the 2010 and 2011 STI models back to back on a poorly surfaced road closed course, it felt a bit strange that so much could be done without stiffening added hardness. In general, the stiffer springs and 16 percent to 53 percent stiffer in the back, and the ride height is only 5 mm lower, and all I found myself more confident running the tail in tight corners, and making more precise control adjustments in the middle.

willing partner, the STI is the DCCD system, which sends 41 percent of torque to the front wheels and 59 percent to the rears. There is an Auto, Auto +, Auto-, and six levels of manual small-diff crash, all accessible through a small door switch in the center console. While we were driving on the road for most of the time in Auto mode, the circuit we were able to get to that rotation, and feel the little bit of power oversteer in the car and the Traction mode.

No more STI Basic Inside

Once upon a time getting an STD meant getting a very basic tuner car interior with limited opportunities, but you will no longer need to make that compromise. Subaru has become wise to the idea that WRX buyers prefer an STD, and some STDs buyers seek a BMW M3 or Porsche Cayman-without-up comfort to the automaker now has an all-weather package for the STI, and to learn and an optional moonroof. A touch-screen nav system with Sirius Satellite Radio will remain optional. And Subaru has finally a one-touch up / down driver window with anti-pinch. Of course all this puts the WRX STi and stronger competitive basis against the arch-rival, the Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart and Evolution.

We were not so fond of the interface or the sound quality of the audio systems in the WRX and STI models, although they are also a Bluetooth connection, both for hands-free calling and music streaming as well as an aux input, USB and an iPod connector. Otherwise it is easy to forget when he op the track that this very practical, useful voertuigen, with a good set of all-weather band, they are great at the snow, they do not have the delicate earth of other performance cars, and The rear seat folds down easily for more cargo.

Both models come late summer. Prices are only modestly from 2010, with the line-up ranging from $ 25,495 for a base WRX sedan and hatch up to $ 37,345 for the WRX Limited sedan.

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