2011 Subaru WRX/WRX STi Review

By: David Berthon

Subaru WRX/WRX STi Subaru WRX/WRX STi Subaru WRX/WRX STi
Subaru WRX/WRX STi Subaru WRX/WRX STi Subaru WRX/WRX STi
Subaru WRX/WRX STi Subaru WRX/WRX STi Subaru WRX/WRX STi

Criticised in 2007 for the softer image of its performance WRX, Subaru Australia has returned it to its hard-on roots for 2011 with an update that offers extraordinary value.

2011 Subaru WRX/WRX STi Review
We drive the new Subaru WRX


2011 Subaru WRX/WRX STi 

Not only does the latest WRX lift the performance bar and gain the same pumped body of the hotter STi variant, it retains its original 1994 sticker price of $39,990.

 Remarkable value for a model that 16 years and 30,000 after its introduction offers so much more presence, performance and refinement.

 The faster WRX STi, now available in sedan as well as hatch, has dropped $2000 to $59,990. A five-speed auto with manual paddle shift is also a welcome STi option for the first time at no extra cost.

 Visually, little now differentiates the wider, more muscular WRX from the hotter STi, apart from the STi’s much larger boot spoiler and subtle badging, which may disappoint the more potent model’s most ardent worshippers. The track is now 35mm wider in the front and 40mm wider in the rear whilst tyre width, mounted on new lightweight 17-inch alloys, has grown 10mm. The WRX now also adopts the sportier STi four tailpipe exhaust system.

 Engines remain unchanged on the latest series apart from different engine mapping on the new auto STi. The standard WRX retains the 2.5-litre DOHC intercooled turbo boxer engine with variable valve timing on the intake cams. It is still only available with a five-speed manual which is somewhat limiting, running a high 2600rpm at 100km/h in fifth.

 The WRX STi gains variable valve timing for both intake and exhaust valves - mated to a superior six-speed manual or five-speed auto. The auto pushes out the same power (albeit developed 200rpm higher) but torque drops from 407Nm at 4000rpm to 350Nm across a 3000-6000rpm plateau. Despite this, Subaru Australia suggests that 70 per cent of customers will opt for the auto variant.

The centre differential splits drive 45:55 front-to-rear, although this is continuously variable depending on conditions. Lightened suspension sits 5mm lower with new spring and damper rates and thicker stabilizer bars. New lightweight 18-inch alloys also save a combined 7.5kg.

 At the Philip Island circuit the mastery of the new lightweight STi setup was just so evident – the automatic especially composed and displaying enormous grip pumping out of corners, the manual paddle shifters falling easily to hand and, with ‘blipping’ control, far faster to operate than the manual box.

 Subaru have changed little interior wise apart from darker tone metal cabin finishes and contrasting silver trim highlights but the WRX gains Bluetooth with steering wheel-mounted buttons and a welcome USB jack.

 STi customers can spend another $6000 to upgrade to the Spec R with satellite navigation, sunroof, leather trim and even lighter BBS wheels. Sportier Recaro seats add a further $1000.



Subaru WRX/WRX STi (Auto)


Engine: 2457cc flat 4, DOHC, 24v, turbo

Power: 195kW@6000rpm/221kW@6000 (221kW@6200)

Torque: 343Nm@4000rpm/407Nm@4000 (350Nm@3-6000)

Weight: 1450kg(hatch)/1455kg(sedan)

Transmission: 6-speed manual/6-speed manual, 5-speed auto.

0-100km/h: 6.0sec (claimed)/5.2sec manual, 6.0sec auto (claimed)

Price: $39,990/$59,990



Unique Cars magazine Value Guides

Sell your car for free right here


Get your monthly fix of news, reviews and stories on the greatest cars and minds in the automotive world.