Officially on sale in the UK on May 1st, with the first allocation of cars already reserved, the eagerly awaited Subaru WRX STI sports saloon has finally debuted in Europe at the 84th Geneva International Motor Show.
Sitting right at the top of the Subaru’s All-Wheel Drive performance cars, the new WRX STI is available just a year after its predecessor was withdrawn, and features a significant range of modifications and enhancements to the body, chassis, interior and packaging.
It’s got an all-new exterior – so much so that it is almost a new model let alone an update on a previous one – with the body and chassis having been stiffened considerably to help improve torsional rigidity along with some substantial performance-tuning of the suspension to give a flat and comfortable ride along those not-so-perfect British roads.
When it comes to steering, the WRX STI has new hydraulics with a quicker ratio and stiffer steering rack; and when it comes to the drive itself, you’ll find maximum control with almost-perfect driver engagement thanks to the very latest version of Subaru’s Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) with Active Torque Vectoring.
And under the bonnet, to help the relationship between driver and engine get even better, there have been revisions to the six-speed manual gearbox to provide an even shorter, quicker shift between gears. The engine itself that powers the new WRX STI is a 2.5-litre turbocharged version of Subaru’s renowned, horizontally-opposed four-cylinder Boxer engine which produces 300PS at 6,000rpm and 407Nm toque at 4,000rpm.
Inside the car, the new WRX STI is almost unrecognisable from its previous incarnation; described as a “quantum leap” away by the Subaru press release. In key areas you will find soft touch materials which are complimented by the new STI dials and carbon-effect and metal trim so that the driver can enjoy a sporty feel (itself enhanced by the new and smaller D-shaped steering wheel) and higher quality ambience.
And there is more space too with more passenger leg room, more shoulder and elbow room all round, and 40 litres more cargo room in the boot.
If you want to see what a real thoroughbred version of the WRX STI looks like, on the stand at Geneva is the ‘car in progress’ that Subaru are putting together to win its third successive class win at the Nürburging in Germany’s Eifel Mountains later in the year..