For years the Subaru WRX STI has been a no frills rally car with insane grip. Has anything changed with the redesigned 2015 model? Has the new Subaru grown up too much?
First of all, we’ll go over the differences. The new 2015 WRX platform, interior-wise, feels absolutely huge compared to the previous car. I’m 6 feet tall and it feels absolutely cavernous. Additionally, my long-torso friend who has no headroom in nearly any car fits with room to spare in the 2015 STI. The interior feels far more polished and upmarket than the outgoing model, and the seats are amazingly comfortable as always.
Has the character of the new STI changed? No. And I’m happy for that. This 2015 STI retains the tried-and-true EJ25 2.5 Liter turbocharged engine and extremely close ratio 6 speed transmission. The car is always ready for anything, and the engine is responsive and works well. The car is still the same fun rough-around-the-edges car as it always was, but with a far more polished interior and exterior. The build quality is very good, with thoughtful touches like an LCD screen with a boost gauge and other awesome functions. Grip is plentiful. The Subaru bites into corners like few other cars do. Ludicrous grip doesn’t begin to describe it. The STI bites into the pavement like it has studded tires. The driver-controlled center differential makes it easy to dial in a more neutral balance by shifting more power to the rear. The steering is extremely quick ratio and and has tons of feedback. Diehard Subaru fans may miss the unequal length exhaust manifold sound as the new car has an equal length one, but I like how smooth it sounds.
Now for the elephant in the room: Turbo lag. This engine has quite a bit of turbo lag, but it really doesn’t matter. The turbo makes full boost by around 3000rpm. I’ve heard others complain about this, but you just need to adjust your driving style. If kept above that RPM level, which is extremely easy with short and close gear ratios, the STI never drops out of boost when you want it. If you complain about the turbo lag, you simply aren’t driving the car right.
I don’t have a 0-60 time with this car as I didn’t want to kill the clutch. It needs to be slipped a lot to get a good time, and I didn’t feel it was worth it. I was also having too much fun carving up corners on my local streets.
Overall I really enjoyed my week with the 2015 STI. It finally feels grown up enough to be taken seriously, and has always had the performance to back it up. It can finally fit 5 adults in relative comfort if you can avoid making your morning commute into an autocross or timed road race event. One caveat to the Subaru: be careful when you are enjoying the car with your morning coffee. The cup holders are great, but the car generates more than enough cornering force to throw liquid out of the small hole in the top of the cup. (Dear Subaru, I didn’t stain the glorious alcantara buckets, it was just on the console) All-in-all, the 2015 Subaru WRX STI is a real enthusiasts car, and I hope Subaru keeps it that way. The world needs more cars like this.