You'd be hard pressed to enjoy an afternoon of driving more than carving canyons in the 2010 Subaru WRX STI. Even at 50 percent of the car's muscular and athletic ability it will put a smile so broad on your face you'll likely get pulled over by the police for too much public exuberance.
That's the good news.
The bad news is that you probably don't spend your afternoons carving canyons. If you are like the rest of us you probably spend your afternoons at work, and of course being stuck in traffic getting home from work in the evening.
This is where the WRX STI pretty much sucks for two main reason:
1) When stuck in traffic you can't help but wish that you were making better (no make that much better) use of the car's 305-HP blown boxer engine and
2) While the STI may be purpose built for the WRC crowd it's plain Jane no nonsense interior is not someplace that rewards much (no make that any) scrutiny.
Sitting in stop and go traffic you'll most likely notice the cars:
a) Cheap plastics
b) Numerous and groans, squeaks, and rattles
c) Over sized appetite for gas (we got an as tested 17.2 mpg)
d) Tinny radio
e) Mysterious lack of chest thumping exhaust note
as we race the STI against an Olympic triathlete in our first man vs.
To be honest we could easily live with all of the above because the STI is just such a pure joy to drive when the road turns twisty, but the lack of the primordial exhaust note was painfully disappointing.
Especially since when driving the STI it is fun to play a game we call find a faster car.
You know, while driving on some boring errand like buying dog shampoo it is just a hoot to try to spot a car that's faster than the STI. Unless you happen to see an exotic sports car, new Corvette, or perhaps a Mitsubishi EVO, the chances of spotting a car faster than the STI are pretty slim.
So it was with a bit of wide-eyed surprise that we found it difficult, if not impossible, to get a 0-60 time below 6.5 seconds. The STI has two overcomplicated electronic locking differential and throttle response switches (that is unless you are Markus Gronholm or Sabastien Loeb) which are pretty useless to the average everyman driver who doesn't spend his or her weekend racing down local fire roads.
We don't fancy ourselves as Sabastien Loeb so these switches proved to be more marketing hype than useful controls.
On the other hand ,the STI's superb front seats and massive fade-free brakes were certainly appreciated when pushing the car through the local canyons.
BTW: We were only able to get a 0-60 time of 6.78 seconds. This could be partially do to the higher altitudes in the Rocky Mountain region.
On the positive side the STI managed to haul to a breath-taking short stop from 60 in just 105 feet. That's one of the shortest stopping distances we're ever recorded for any car we've ever tested.
The other realistic problem is that the STI turbo boxer doesn't really come alive until about 4000 rpm. That means when you have to keep it boiling to get the most of the car's performance.
The solution is a simple one: At a time of twin-turbo 360 HP Ford Taurus family sedans—the STI really needs 400 HP to kick some EVO ass and really push the car's current suspension set-up and bad boy image.
Are you listening Subaru?
So the question you might be asking now is a simple one. Is the WRX STI worth the as tested price of $36,117,00 USD?
That really depends. How badly do you want to be the only kid in town to own of these neo-exotic single purpose Rally cars?
If you pressed us we'd probably recommend that you wait until next year when the WRX gets the STI's wider body panels. Or you might just buy the WRX today. That way you'll get 80 percent of the STI's uber athletic abilities at thousands less. You might also cross shop some of the other cheaper pocket rockets.
Click HERE as we compare the MazdaSpeed3 to the VW GTI.
But if you must have the fastest car in the town the STI will certainly reward both your ego and your afternoon.
On our new TFLcar.com recommendation scale of:
– Buy it
– Lease it
– Rent it or
We give the Subaru WRX STI a Lease It, because it deserves a better interior and bigger engine.