?2015 Subaru WRX STI: The ultimate performance Subaru”
Lots of Subaru WRX fans were likely upset with the passing of the 5-Door Hatch for the 2015 model year, as the 2015 Subaru WRX is back to offering only a five-passenger, four-door sedan. The same holds true for the 2015 Subaru WRX STI hot rod version. Both are all new despite the fact that they?re still an Impreza beneath the surface. There is however, no longer any Impreza reference ? they are referred to only as WRX or WRX STI.
Since we?ve already reviewed the new WRX version, we?ll deal here with the 2015 Subaru WRX STI. There was a time when it seemed that most auto journalists would agree that Subaru?s WRX STi was a less civilized machine than the Lancer Evolution from the Mitsubishi camp. No more my friends, the WRX STi for 2015 four-door sedan comes with a large sculpted rear wing spoiler that opens up rear vision. This latest iteration WRX STi brings the brand?s performance flagship status to a totally new and more desirable plane.
Power continues to be provided by a 2.5-liter, DOHC, 16-valve, intercooled, turbocharged, horizontally-opposed ?Boxer? four-cylinder engine with Subaru Dual Active Valve Control System, variable intake and exhaust valve timing) and SI-DRIVE Engine Performance Management system. The potent mill cranks out 305 horses at 6,000 rpm while also developing 290 pound feet of torque at 4,000 rpm.
The engine mates to a six-speed manual gearbox that regulates gear ratios to Subaru?s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive System which incorporates a Driver Control Center Differential (DCCD) version that?s exclusive to the WRX STi, and takes driver controlled response to the next level. The DCCD system provides three selectable automatic performance modes in addition to six manual differential-locking settings. The DCCD AWD system integrates the Vehicle Dynamics Control stability and traction control system, which also offers three driver selectable modes through the Intelligent Drive (SI-DRIVE), a powertrain performance management system that enables the driver to tailor the vehicle?s driving characteristics by choosing from three selectable modes ? ?Intelligent,? ?Sport? and ?Sport Sharp? ? using a switch on the steering wheel.
The new WRX STI will be offered in three trim levels: a Base model that starts at $34,495.; a special Launch Edition starting at $37,395. with only 1,000 units to be produced, featuring a Blue Metallic8-inch BBS gold-painted forged alloy wheels, Alcantara upholstery featuring blue and black leather bolsters and black stitching, Keyless Access & Start and STI short-throw shifter; and a Limited model that begins at $38,495. and adds an 8-way power driver?s seat, 18-inch BBS forged alloy wheels, Auto on/off headlights, harman/kardon premium audio, including 440-watt amplifier and 9 speakers, Leather-trimmed upholstery, Welcome lighting and a Power moonroof . Options for the Limited model STI include: Keyless Access & Start, Touch-screen navigation system, including navigation features of the optional navigation/audio for STI. Add $795 Destination and Handling charges for all models.
The 2015 Subaru WRX STI features a one-inch longer wheelbase than the previous WRX STI that yields a roomier interior. The body displays an aero-enhanced design, with hood, fenders, doors and quarters, bumpers, headlights and taillight clusters expressing WRX STI identity. The aluminum hood with integral scoop provides fresh air to the intercooler, and the scoop is now set more deeply into the hood providing improved forward visibility. Rear-seat legroom has been increased by nearly two inches over previous WRX STI, and lower side sills and wider-opening doors allow for easier entry and exit. The windshield is more raked than before, with the A-pillar pulled forward nearly eight inches at the base for better forward vision. Low-beam headlights are new LED units as are the taillights.
The new chassis is also stiffer, with larger front brakes, and?performance-tuned suspension. The Electronic Power Steering system?s?response was benchmarked against top-handling sports cars. The 4-wheel?independent, suspension componentry consists of MacPherson-type struts, aluminum lower L-arms with pillow ball mounts and bushings, coil springs and stabilizer bar up front and Double wishbone with subframe, pillow ball bushings for lower lateral links, coil springs and stabilizer bar in the rear.
The new WRX STI rolls on 235/45 R17 94W Dunlop SP Sport Maxx RT tires mounted on 5-?Y?-spoke cast alloy wheels / BBS? forged alloy wheels featured on WRX STI Launch Edition (gold-finished) and WRX STI Limited models Braking chores are handled by power-assisted 4-wheel discs with Electronic Brake-force Distribution and 4-channel / 4-sensor ABS, Brake Assist and Brake Override.
This latest iteration Subaru WRX STI showcases a much bolder front end design with a deep front spoiler and unique grille. A new ?nose-cone? design combines the grille and bumper cap into one unit ahead of the hood. The wide-body stance is enhanced by the new wheel designs.
The rear doors and fenders were specially designed for the 2015 WRX STI, and continue the model?s wide-body stance, but now in a more rakish new profile. The Subaru hexagonal grille is flanked by narrower headlights designed to reflect a raptor-like stare.
Interior refinements haven’t been forgotten either – The high-performance feel is experienced immediately upon entry as the driver grips the new flat-bottom, leather-wrapped steering wheel, with tilt and telescoping adjustments. The wheel also integrates switches for audio and Bluetooth? control. The dashboard is lower, and the ?A?-pillars are narrower for better outward visibility. There are new whiplash-reducing front sport seats and a new driver?s side knee airbag. The STI electroluminescent instrument panel features a 3.5-in. LCD central screen that displays various functions such as warnings for low oil and windshield washer fluid and selected gear. Trunk space has been increased to 12 cu. ft. A new Multi-Function display with a 4.3-inch LCD screen provides a rear camera display, boost gauge display, audio, Bluetooth and climate control settings, VDC screen showing traction control operation and a vehicle self-check and maintenance reminder. HD Radio and SiriusXM? Satellite Radio. are standard, and a harman/kardon? premium audio system is offered; 440-watt, 9-speaker system, Keyless Access & Start and navigation with Aha? smartphone integration are optionally available.
Tactile appointments and details are in evidence, including soft-touch materials for the dashboard, door trim and center console armrest. Numerous compartments are positioned in and around the center console to hold a variety of personal items, such as phones, USB drives and MP3 players. The available power sunroof opens one inch farther than on the previous WRX. Whiplash-reducing front performance design seats feature separate tilt- and height-adjustable head restraints. The new high-grip black fabric is trimmed with contrast stitching, which is also used on the leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob.
Safety & Security features and equipment include: 3-point seatbelts for all seats (height-adjustable for outboard positions); front seatbelts ?with electrically triggered pre-tensioners and force limiters; 4-channel/4-sensor Anti-lock Brake System with Electronic Brake-force Distribution and Brake Assist; Daytime running lights; Impact-sensing fuel cutoff; Subaru?s Advanced Frontal Airbag System; front seat side pelvis/torso air bags; side-curtain air bags; driver?s side knee airbag; LATCH uniform child restraint anchorage system; rear seat head restraints, height-adjustable (all positions); Ring-Shaped Reinforcement Frame body structure with front and rear crumple zones; safety pedal system; security system with engine immobilizer; Tire Pressure Monitoring System; Vehicle Dynamics Control with traction control system; whiplash-reducing design front performance seats with separate height and tilt-adjustable head restraints.
I was able to experience wheel time on the road (Carmel Valley?s G16 in California) in a?Limited model WRX STI finished outside in Ice Silver metallic with a Black, trimmed in?Red interior. The base price was set at $ $34,495. which came to an estimated final?sticker price of $39,290. I was later treated to track time on the famed road course at Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca in both a Base model and Launch Edition model WRX STI. SUMMARY: The 2015 Subaru WRX STI represents a dramatic improvement over its predecessor and is now even more exhilarating to toss over tight and narrow, twisty back roads ? not to mention on a track. The added power and tighter chassis makes carving challenging roads a complete blast. The new WRX STI is impressively quick, with rapid acceleration and virtually no turbo lag. Steering feel is right on the money, responding instantly to input.
Ride quality is unquestionably very firm, but still manages to deliver a reasonable level of comfort, with phenomenal seat support. The manual gearbox, allows for fast smooth shifts in all models, except the Launch Edition, where the short throw shifter?s action is even better.
Regardless of WRX STi enthusiast?s reaction to the new sedan only styling, there?s no denying that this latest iteration WRX STi is much more pleasurable to drive for extended distances. It?s more civilized and refined than ever before, without sacrificing any performance or handling attributes ? in fact, both the performance delivery and handling characteristics are indeed better.
One may properly think of the 2015 Subaru WRX STi as a turn-key rally racer, that is sophisticated enough to handle more mundane duties such as grocery runs. The ride compliance is surprisingly respondent to virtually any road surface (or non-road surface) ? no more lost dental fillings. Fuel economy isn?t bad either, with EPA ratings of 17 mpg City and 23 mpg Highway. Long live the WRX STi (STi by the way, stands for Subaru Tecnica International ? the high-performance and motorsports subsidiary of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd).
If there are any frowns in order, it?s due to the fact that a Rally school is not included with the purchase, and there?s no Roll cage included ? just kidding. That having been said, this latest WRX STI is a winner in any of its trim levels. Subaru is on a roll in terms of sales figures and the new WRX STI should contribute to continued success.
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?[wptabtitle] SPECIFICATIONS: 2015 Subaru WRX STI [/wptabtitle]
|Base Price:||$34,495. Base model|
|Price as Tested:||$39,290. Limited model|
|Engine Type and Size:||2.5-liter (DOHC), 16-valve, flat, horizontally opposed (BOXER), turbocharged/intercooled 4-cylinder with Subaru Dual Active Valve Control System, variable intake and exhaust valve timing) and SI-DRIVE Engine Performance Management system.|
|Horsepower (bhp):||305 @ 6,000 rpm|
|Torque (ft./ lbs.):||290 @ 4,000 rpm|
|Transmission:||6-speed manual transmission (WRX STI Launch Edition features STI short-throw shifter).|
|Drive Train:||Front mounted flat opposed engine / Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive with Driver Control Center Differential (DCCD) featuring three performance modes and six driver-selectable differential locking settings; mechanical and electronically controlled limited-slip center differential; helical limited-slip front differential and TORSEN® limited-slip rear differential, steering angle input sensor; nominal torque split is 41:59.|
4-wheel independent, high-performance STI sport-tuned.
Front – Inverted struts with forged aluminum-alloy lower A-arms with pillow ball joint mount, coil springs, 24mm stabilizer bar.
Rear – Double-wishbone type with coil springs and damper units, stiffener bar, 20mm stabilizer bar.
|Brakes:||Power-assisted Brembo Performance Brake System, 4-wheel vented discs with 4-channel, 4-sensor Super-Sport anti-lock brake system (ABS) with g-sensor; Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Brake Assist and Brake Override.|
|Tires:||Dunlop Sport Maxx 245/40R18 97W summer Performance mounted on 5-“Y”-spoke cast alloy wheels / BBS® forged alloy wheels featured on WRX STI Launch Edition and WRX STI Limited models)|
|Length Overall:||180.9 inches|
|Curb Weight:||3,386 lbs. – Premium and Launch Edition / Limited: 3,444 lbs|
|Fuel Capacity:||15.9 gallons|
|EPA Mileage Estimates:||17 mpg city / 23 mpg highway|
|0 – 60 mph:||5.1 seconds|