Each calendar year, approximately 200 test cars grace the DoubleClutch.ca garage. Typically, we all try to get together one night a week and sample each other’s test cars in order to sharpen our overall view of the market and the auto industry as a whole. Some cars come bearing price stickers north of $100,000, and while one would think these are the cars everyone fights over, that’s not exactly the case. It’s the enthusiast cars that tug at all of our heartstrings; the cars that are so simplistic but so perfect that they remind us of the days when driver aids and assistants weren’t so commonplace and “necessary”.
This 2015 Subaru WRX STi has been thoroughly reworked and is all-new for this model year. I was in Detroit at NAIAS 2014 when the car debuted, and I was also at the LA Auto Show back in the fall when its “lesser” sibling, the WRX debuted. One of our writers is a diehard Subaru junkie and has shown me the light. The WRX and the STi owners are a cult – these guys know how to drive (for the most part), and they know how good their cars are. There’s something special about Subaru owners that makes them lack the typical ego and “my car is so much better than yours” attitude. Perhaps it’s the fact that their cars actually are better than most others.
Engine specifications are fairly similar to the outgoing STi; this one packs a 2.5L turbocharged boxer four-cylinder, and it sounds exactly how a boxer should. It makes 305 horsepower at 6,000rpm, and 290 lb-ft of torque at 4,000rpm. While the regular WRX is available with a Sport Lineartronic CVT transmission, the STi (thankfully) is only available with a 6-speed manual. This is one of the best clutch and shifter combinations I have ever driven. The shifter is significantly more refined than the old car, and while the clutch is pretty heavy, it’s very easy to master and ever missing shifts is out of the question. Heel-and-toe shifting is also amongst the easiest of most cars out there today – the STi’s pedals are positioned perfectly.
Throttle response is already good, but improved using the “SI Drive” toggle on the console. I left this in Sport Sharp mode most of the time, identifiable by the “Sport #”. Torque is instant and the STi takes off very, very quickly. Our friends at Subaru claim that 100 km/h is achieved in 4.9 seconds. Another unique STi-only feature is the variable center diff. It moves torque from front to rear depending on the conditions – there are six available settings for this. One thing the WRX and STi are known for is their superb handling. The rally pedigree of these cars is evident; there is next to no body roll and the chassis is just so balanced with a perfect rear-drive bias on the all-wheel-drive system. I will also say that Subaru’s all-wheel-drive system is my favourite currently on the market.
It’s an STi, so fuel economy isn’t something that should even be discussed. I was pleasantly surprised with the economy on the regular 6-speed manual WRX I drove a few weeks ago, but that sentiment wasn’t echoed by this car. In combined driving, I averaged about 11.7L/100km on premium fuel. I actually treated this white Subaru to 94-octane fuel, just to make sure it performed under optimal conditions. On a few highway runs, the car returned close to 10L/100km, but wouldn’t really do much better. This 2.5L boxer isn’t really known for economy, so these numbers are forgotten and replaced by the goofy smile plastered on my face every single time I shifted gears.
My test car was the “Sport” trim package. On top of the standard car, this trim adds the large rear spoiler (a signature STi item), LED headlights, a power driver’s seat, fog lights, and a sunroof. Pricing for the 2015 Subaru WRX STi Sport Package is $40,495. The top-trim Sport-Tech adds leather, BBS forged aluminum wheels, an intelligent key system, navigation, and Harman/Kardon sound system. That one is $44,995. Personally, I feel as though the seats on my Sport are pretty awesome, and this car is so simplistic that I don’t see a need for leather or the intelligent key. Plus, until the WRX and STi get the system carried down from the new 2015 Legacy and Outback, navigation-equipped models get a pretty dreadful aftermarket-ish unit. I’ll pass.
I think the Sport Package is pretty well my perfect STi. The only complaint I really have is the standard stereo. I don’t care for the navigation unit, but I could do with the Harman/Kardon speakers. I’ve seen a bunch of critics (and enthusiasts) complain about the relatively spartan interior Subaru has chosen to stick with. Frankly, I don’t have an issue with it in the slightest. It’s functional, everything is accessible, and it comes with drivers’ toys such as a built-in boost gauge. The driving position is absolutely dead onYou don’t buy a WRX or STi to keep your bum all cushy and ventilated as you comfortably cruise the expressway. This car is meant for curvy country road driving, autocrossing, the track, and dirt roads – these are all places the car excels.
The 2015 Subaru WRX STi is pretty hardcore. It’s a car devoted to a niche market, and this specific clientele adores it. The interior has now been improved, and that was the biggest gripe I had with the previous car. I love this thing – there are few cars I would rather own for $40,000 brand new. Subaru also stands behind their product with a stellar warranty and an indisputable reliability record. For those looking, the aftermarket for the STi is huge; seldom do I see a factory-stock model around Toronto. A few people have asked me about the addition of a hatchback or wagon model – Subaru claims that rather than develop two different body styles, they put all of their efforts and resources into perfecting this sedan into the best car they could possibly make. These efforts are evident; the STi is an animal, please make mine World Rally Blue.
2015 Subaru WRX STi Gallery
*Exterior shots by George Bucur of George Bucur Photography*