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RALLY CAR FOR THE STREETS: Soon to be electrified, the WRX STi is now a classic.

I've always been a fan of the Subaru WRX STI and was a bit concerned when I learned that it would not be manufactured anymore. I was relieved when I learned that they will return with an electrified powertrain, but until then let's enjoy what we have with this world rally phenom. No matter what happens, this version will always be a perfect classic for the ages when it comes to the the rally world. The WRX was made for the streets, and yet performs for that rally experience.

DRIVE AND PERFORMANCE

I like to start with performance because that's what I do. That of course means taking it on the streets and unleashing the STIs 310 horsepower and 290 lbs. of torque. The Subaru 2.5 liter turbocharge boxer achieves 3,500 or or 4000 rpm. The all-wheel drive is standard. It drives stiff on the suspension and punchy with the power you get in a snap, so you have to be careful as a driver around town.

To be honest, you get a feeling like you're a rally racing star once you get behind the wheel. It just gives off that attitude. You got different modes to choose from on the center console. Those modes include intelligent, sport, and sport sharp. I prefer the sports Sharp because it throws the STI into an aggressive mode and still isn't overly anxious. The hydraulic powered steering is light and responsive and the turning ratio is about 13.3: 1. It's that tight and that sharp.

The standard 6-speed manual gearbox is more than formidable. That firm suspension allows your body to sit comfortably in the seat without a lot of body motion. The driver can fine-tune the chassis by adjusting the drivetrain's front to rear torque split. You may need to get it done at the shop or you can do it yourself.

Driving feels comfortable from top to bottom. There's headspace, leg space and enough room for me to move my legs around when shifting gears. At 6'3, I have to pay attention to such things because I often get lots of head knocks and knee bang-ups.

I found greater performance when downshifting and learned that the high-end pool and second and third gears are absolutely over the top. With regard to mileage, the STI gets about 16 miles per gallon in the city 22 on the highway or 19 combined.

The Subaru WRX STI remains the brand’s ultimate performance model, bringing rally-bred performance technology to the road with Multi-Mode Driver Controlled Center Differential (DCCD) Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, Active Torque Vectoring and Multi-Mode Vehicle Dynamics Control.


EXTERIOR DESIGN AND STYLE

It looks rough in a good way. I've always loved the look, the vibe and the attitude of the WRX STi. The grill in the front is absolute Subaru WRX. There's no mistaking that. The forward leaning athletic stance is muscular and yet attractive. It maintains the Subaru DNA with the sleek and sporty facia, wider wheel wells and strong bold lines running along either side of the car. The front lower air intake, spoiler and edges make it all the more aggressive looking.


THAT LEGENDARY TAIL WING

That Wing in the back keeps the rear wheels glued to the ground, especially at higher speeds. It also aids in the stability of the car. The big Wing at the back also serves notice that this is a car made for the track and the streets. It's not just there for show. The rear spoiler consists of two spoilers in one. The air comes over the STI and down the rear windshield over the lower part of the spoiler while the rest of the air is moved to the upper part helping lock down the car.


INTERIOR DESIGN AND FUNCTIONALITY

Inside there's a multimedia tech setup from top to bottom that includes Subaru's starlink infotainment software. That infotainment readout is delivered on a 7-in touch screen that includes Apple carplay and Android auto as standard.


The STI is just amazing to drive. I've been a fan from the beginning and it's as intoxicating as anything on the road. The base STI arrives at about $37,895 and the hiring STI limited is about $42,595 and the 500 series White edition is about 43,595. There's lots of competition in the segment including the Civic type r the Volkswagen golf r and the Hyundai Veloster all under $41,000 and none of which come with the all-wheel drive if that matters to you, it does matter to many people who are performance oriented.


 

Make sure you are ready for the Miami International Auto Show



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