What Is It?
2015 Subaru WRX STI
What's New About This Model?
The 2015 Subaru WRX STI Sedan is a redesigned version of Subaru's elite all-wheel-drive performance car and will take its place at the top of the WRX line. The previous WRX STI was sold from 2008-'14 and came in both hatchback and sedan body styles. The new STI will likely be offered only as sedan, but it's a slightly longer, roomier car than its predecessor, while a stiffer body shell and a revamped suspension should provide better handling. Inside, upgraded materials and a few new amenities make the 2015 WRX STI a nicer place to spend time.
When Does It Go on Sale?
Subaru officials say the 2015 WRX STI will arrive at dealers in late March or early April 2014.
How Much Does It Cost?
Official pricing won't be released until February 2014, but we expect the 2015 Subaru WRX STI sedan will be priced similar to the 2014 sedan, which ranges from $34,000 to $38,000.
How Many Body Styles and Trim Levels Are There?
The redesigned WRX STI is available in a sedan body style only.
There are three trim levels: base, Launch Edition and Limited. The base model is the most affordable way into STI ownership, and it comes with all the critical performance hardware, including a sophisticated AWD system (with driver-adjustable center differential settings), front and rear limited-slip differentials, upgraded brakes and 18-inch cast-alloy wheels with summer performance tires. The Launch Edition will be sold in a limited run of 1,000 cars. Aimed at hard-core STI fans, it has gold-painted, forged-alloy BBS wheels, a short-throw shifter and a keyless ignition, plus a few distinctive interior touches. The Limited also gets the BBS wheels and then piles on the amenities, including a power driver seat, full leather upholstery and a premium Harman-Kardon audio system.
What Kind of Engines and Transmissions Does It Have?
· 2.5-liter, turbocharged, horizontally-opposed ("boxer") four-cylinder, 305 horsepower, 290 pound-feet of torque
· Six-speed manual transmission standard; no automatic transmission available
· Standard all-wheel drive with mechanical (planetary gear-type) center differential, front limited-slip differential (helical-type), rear limited-slip differential (Torsen-type)
· Estimated fuel economy: 19 mpg combined (17 city/23 highway)
What Unique Features Does It Offer?
This is the first WRX STI to offer the convenience of keyless access/ignition. Cars equipped with the navigation system offer smartphone integration features, including Internet radio (Aha) and speech-to-text SMS messaging for compatible phones.
The 2015 Subaru WRX STI also incorporates a brake-based torque vectoring system for the first time. We've sampled this feature on the regular-strength WRX, and have found that it sharpens up the car's handling when going around tight turns.
What Kind of Standard and Optional Safety Equipment Is Offered?
All 2015 Subaru WRX STI sedans come standard with front side-impact airbags, front/rear side curtain airbags, a driver knee airbag, electronic stability control and traction control, and a rearview camera.
What Models Will It Compete Against?
Ford Mustang : You might not think of the Mustang in the same sentence as the WRX STI, but if you're shopping for the best performance value under $40,000, the next incarnation of Ford's rear-wheel-drive coupe is going to be hard to ignore. In addition to the expected V6 and V8 engines, Ford is preparing a turbocharged four-cylinder rated at 305 hp, which is of course exactly what the STI makes.
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution : The Lancer Evolution sedan (or the Evo as it's often called) has been the STI's main rival for years and has historically offered better handling, not to mention a slick-shifting automated manual transmission. However, the Evo is showing its age (especially in the cabin), and it's unclear what Mitsubishi has planned for this car after the 2014 model year.
Volkswagen Golf R : With 290 hp, standard AWD and a top-quality interior, the four-door Golf R hatchback will be serious competition for the new STI. Its biggest advantages over the Subaru are likely to be better fuel economy and the availability of an automated manual transmission (a good option if you don't want to deal with a clutch pedal).
Should You Wait for It?
If the current-generation Subaru WRX STI leaves you cold in the ride and handling department, the 2015 STI is worth the wait, as its quicker steering and retuned suspension should make it feel more alive and composed on pretty much any road you encounter. However, Subaru hasn't made many changes to the STI's engine and transmission, so you shouldn't expect acceleration or fuel economy to be much different from the current car. Also, if you want a hatchback, the outgoing 2014 WRX STI is the one to get, because the new car is a sedan only.