It occurs almost every time a redesigned car debuts-the peanut gallery chimes in. It’s ugly. It’ll never be exactly the same. It looks like so therefore. They got it wrong…
People could make all the judgments they want, and haters will hate, but eventually many come around once they get the opportunity to drive the auto, or view it modified, or generally wrap their minds around exactly what the engineers were concentrating on.
The moment the newest 2015 Subaru WRX STI went viral, almost half in the comments concerning the sedan-only high-performance turbo AWD variant were negative. So we can relate-it looks very little such as the concept that swept us off our feet with the 2013 New York City International Auto Show. But after creating a chance to see a fully prepped race version in person, we can easily honestly say thespoke with Subaru engineers about what makes this STI different than the prior generation, they told me the older one fell short when it stumbled on driver control. Power-wise, the automobile was more than sufficient to handle for that average driving enthusiast. So, instead of spending millions to make a few extra ponies, they developed a chassis that would be more balanced, quicker and safer around the track. About feeling that emotion and control, although it’s not about numbers with the new STI.
Willing to drive the auto for the first time, I took a quick flight out to Monterey, to meet with the bigwigs at Subaru. Before I knew it they had me on a bus to a little track known as Laguna Seca Raceway (ever heard of it? ) where I had been thrown a helmet and given the keys to a barely-driven STI. My job sucks, right?
Starting the car and taking it out of the pits for my initial warm-up lap, the initial thingtogether with how well the chassis is dialed-in. After each lap I could take each corner faster and faster, yet the STI didn’t even break a sweat, since the car remained balanced and gripped like glue. Once the first two sessions, I was feelin’ good; I’m no professional driver by any means but this car gives you that confidence.
I walked over to talk to a Subaru engineer from the pits about everything that’s been changed to make the new STI much more agile. He went on to list out more things than I had enough time to jot down on my notepad. Literally every area of the chassis has become touched: stiffer torsion bars, more rigid control arm bushings, higher strength steel, bigger sway bars, etc.
Then came some numbers that blew me away: lateral stiffness up 38%, roll stiffness up 24%, torsional rigidity up 40% (DUDE! ). The new STI is just so much more of a handling monster compared to the outgoing model, and it falls just short of Porsche 911 territory-a vehicle that’s more than double the price! The engineer told me the latest 911 was used as the benchmark throughout the STI’s development. We figure with only a number of power and chassis mods, the latest STI could really offer the 911 a run for the15 minutes, it was time for my next session. Discovering how well it handled, the time had come to push the car even harder and extremely test the car’s symmetrical all-wheel drive system and power delivery. I was impressed with how crisp each shift was. Through the presentation earlier that day, I remembered the tranny mounts are stiffer and the gearbox uses a modified shift mechanism and new rod profiles- all equating to some more smoother and solid shift. Subaru nailed it!
I had been also luckily behind the wheel of any Launch Edition STI, which features the short-throw shifter (an option on the standard model). After every 2.238-miles of Laguna Seca, I didn’t would like to pull to the pits. I really wanted to keep going. The power delivery is strong and peppy as boost kicks in after 3,000rpm. Subaru told me the ECU is retuned being more responsive, with more accelerator input with less throttle-created for easier heel-toe action and quicker reaction times. And with four differentials working plus a new active torque vectoring system which helps improve near limit cornering by distributing torque on the outer wheel, the car would accelerate from corners with control and gusto!
After more than 10 laps around the world-famous Laguna Seca, I was convinced the new Subie was a track-ready performer. But nevertheless hungry for more, the day was just half over and Subaru let me take its Launch Edition STI out in real lifeset out on a journey through Carmel Valley to perform some real world shit. I discovered a 60-mile stretch of road that had been desolate with nothing but twisties. I went for it, driving like I was on an actual road rally. With blind corners and sudden sharp turns, I had been quickly thankful for the meaty four-piston front, dual-piston rear Brembos-they never overheated and also stopped over a dime. Subaru told me later the brake booster was improved from the previous STI for a more and solid linear feel-I’d have to agree. Continuing my road abuse, another feature that I was thankful for was the increased visibility the newest STI has. Subie designers implemented narrower A-pillars, added a partition glass and lowered the instrument panel to allow drivers to see the highway better.
The route I was on had several of the bumpiest, pot hole-infested roads I’ve found in California. I found myself surprised how well the wheels, tires and suspension handled everything. I probably wouldn’t have gone as hard in the lowered car or with low-profile tires. At times, I pushed the auto past my driving limit and was saved by the all-wheel-drive system and active torque vectoring. There were sketchy sections on the streets where if I were in a front-wheel-drive car or a vehicle not as balanced, I would have easily eaten some dirt. But the STI drove similar to a king. I didn’t want the road to end, but it did as I finished the afternoon’s drive by using a high-speed run of 125mph on the open straightaway. It got there effortlessly, I might add.