By on January 14, 2014

2015-Subaru-WRX-STI

In the words of Robert Plant, “Does anyone remember laughter?” Does anyone remember when these cars were serious business and hugely desired and not easy meat for V-6 Camrys during freeway rolls? Does anyone remember when showing up somewhere behind the wheel of a pink-trimmed frogeye STi or an Evolution VIII RS was a naked-steel statement of sporting intent? Remember when these cars cost less than the German cars that couldn’t catch ‘em?

Well, anyway, here’s the WRX STi, and it’s powered by a twin-turbo flat-six making 482 horsepower.

JUST KIDDING ITS THE SAME ENGINE AS BEFORE AND IT STILL MAKES 305HP

Here’s some good news: Six-speed manual transmission, selectable center diff, Torsen rear diff, helical limited-slip in front. It’s that same stuff you loved ten years ago, in a significantly larger and softer car. The STi is differentiated by a complete bodykit including aluminum hood with top-mounted intercooler that will be immediately be thrown away by most tuners.

There’s also a harmon/kardon sound system and a flat-bottom steering wheel.

They didn’t ruin it, and that’s good. But in order to have the kind of impact on the performance world that the original STi had, the power numbers would have had to be considerably higher. As it is, Subaru can be content with probably having the edge over the fourteen-second-quarter-mile-sloggin’ Mitsubishi Evolution. Just watch out for those sedans.

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71 Comments on “NAIAS 2014: The Subaru WRX STi Maintains Status Quo...”


  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I prefer the first STI I fell for, a blue wagon with gold wheels, multi-tier rear spoiler, and pink script in GranTurismo on PS1.

  • avatar
    ash78

    And as we wind on down the road, our clutches older than our souls. There was a tranny we all know, but over time it’s getting slow. At least the wheels are still gold. And if you listen very hard, the tuners come to make it fast. When all are one and one is all: CVT’s the final goal.

    /tangent

  • avatar
    Advance_92

    Hang on, does the WRX no longer have an aluminium hood? My 05 would be rusting badly given the quality of Subaru’s paint without that hood. If only the fenders were aluminium, too.

  • avatar
    Short Bus

    Looks nice, but given that the upcoming Golf R is likely to be 99% as capable for the same price I just don’t see the point anymore. Once upon a time the STi was a performance bargain, as has been pointed out…. these days a V-6 Mustang is a better value.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Bah you’re right. And the Golf R will be more rare, and have a better interior, and a more sorted ride. And you’ll be judged as a wank less often.

      • 0 avatar

        Upside of the Golf R – no wing, better interior, hatch.
        Downside – plows through curves like a truffle-hunting swine, everything breaks at 60,001 miles, snooty service departments.

        Upside of the STi – well, they have the engine fully sorted at this point and they look to have improved the seats and the whole interior.
        STi downside – wing (surely dealers will offer a delete option), wheels (ugly, even if forged), poor resolution of the Nav screen (guess I WILL buy one of those giant Nokia phones).

        Tough choice from here. Must drive both.

        • 0 avatar
          Stuck in DC traffic

          Add to downside the STI’s ability to chew through long blocks.

        • 0 avatar
          Short Bus

          “Must drive both.”

          QFT

          Your post reminds me of a video I saw comparing the EVO to the Golf R, where the Golf R was dismissed because the stability control couldn’t be cut off…. in my mind, that’s a deal breaker.

        • 0 avatar
          Phillip Thomas

          The current EJ25 is melting pistons at an alarming rate with the stock tune. I have no idea why Subaru has never fixed this over the 10+ year span of turbo EJ’s. Previously it was just poor tuning that ate pistons, but the GR STi has been killing them softly out of the box.

          • 0 avatar
            Power6

            Something about inability to use forged pistons due to expansion rate hurts cold emissions, and need to minimize ring to surface spacing on the ring, gives you a weak ring land. hence detonation can break it. I guess it is a rock and hard place issue, there is not much Subaru can do about it except quietly replace motors and deny warranty on others. Fanbois claims this is rare occurence on a stock motor but some claimed no mods and Subaru stuck them with the bill…

    • 0 avatar
      Charlie84

      I’ve always maintained that the Golf R is the non-embarrassing alternative to the Evo/STi. But, realistically, the Golf R is more of a “GTI-R” than an Evo/STi competitor. The Japanese cars’ AWD systems are in a different league compared to the Golf’s Haldex.

      Btw, the stability control IS defeatable on both the outgoing and the incoming Golf R.

      • 0 avatar
        Short Bus

        In the outgoing Golf R you had to make some adjustments via VAGCOM to be able to fully deafeat the stability control. It’s fairly trivial if you have a VAGCOM laying around, but you can’t turn off the stability control in an off-the-lot Golf R.

        • 0 avatar
          Charlie84

          That’s correct. But if you are a) someone who has a Golf R, and b) care about being able to turn off ESC, then you probably at least know a shop or somebody with a VAG-COM and the process itself is, as you said, trivial.

          If you’re one of the few Golf R owners that isn’t a VW fanboi, you probably aren’t even aware of the ESC issue and you’d be better served leaving it alone.

          • 0 avatar
            Short Bus

            If you’re the type of person who enjoys flogging a car, it’s a definite concern that you have to modify your purchase to be able to fully enjoy it.

            You don’t have to be a VW “fanboi” to be that type of person.

          • 0 avatar
            Charlie84

            If you are an enthusiast and you were willing to pay $36K or thereabouts for a souped-up Golf, the VAG-COM is hardly an obstacle. It’s a self-selecting audience of forum-dwellers and tinkerers.

            If you are merely someone who likes to flog their car but otherwise leave it stock, then the ESC will not be an issue. It is very well-programmed.

            I also used to be an anti-electronic-nanny purist. Then I autocrossed my old Golf and realized that a well-programmed ESC system is is pretty much a non-issue in a well-driven car. The very few times I experienced any intervention, it was actually helping to rotate the car.

          • 0 avatar
            Short Bus

            Charlie84,

            Again, missing the point. It doesn’t matter how easy it might be, you still need specialized tools to modify that aspect of the car.

            I am not an “anti-electronic-nanny” purist in the sense that I don’t want these systems on my car. I see the value and I don’t mind having them on my car, but……

            I want to be able to turn them off (traction control, stability control).

            I have a 2010 GTI so I know that if you drive it neat and tidy the stability control won’t slow you down, but that’s not the problem. Sure, it’s helpful in the sense that if you feel it engage you’re not driving the car as fast as you could. However…..

            Sometimes I just want to let the tail hang out, because, you know… FUN. It’s a hot hatch, it’s supposed to be FUN.

  • avatar

    No more viscous coupling?

    • 0 avatar
      Short Bus

      I don’t believe any USDM STi ever came with a viscous coupling. To my knowledge it’s been mechanical/clutch limited slips for all three differentials.

      Maybe that changed after 2008/9, which is about when I stopped paying attention to this car.

  • avatar
    Fordson

    Whatever else it is…it just does not look like a 2014 MY car to me. I don’t see anything styling or design-wise about that car that could not have come out in 2008 – except maybe the LED running lights.

    • 0 avatar
      ash78

      Sounds like a compliment to me…

      I guess they could raise the beltline a couple inches, add some confusing diagonally-straked sheet metal on the doors, flare the fenders another inch all around, add a Hofmeister kink, put plastichrome over all the rubber, and add some 20″ wheels. :D

      • 0 avatar
        Fordson

        Not a compliment. You take any of the competitive set of cars, show photos – undated – of the last 3 generations of the car to anyone not familiar with these models, and they can easily organize them chronologically. Not so here.

        Subaru seems to be stuck in a “this is what Subarus look like” rut and they have been for a long time.

        • 0 avatar
          ash78

          I wouldn’t argue against you on the WRX much, but the last couple generations of Forester and Outback have been VERY radically different than their predecessors. And according to many, not in a good way.

          If anything, I almost look to WRX for some sense of brand and design stability.

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    Motortrend recently posted a video of them testing a 22B STI on their YT page. A car that looks better than this, likely handles better than this, and I’m sure is faster than this. The official rating was 276hp as was everything else from Japan in those days, but in actuality, the power figures from the 2.2L were probably about the same. Progress!!!

    • 0 avatar

      Undoubtedly the 22B does not handle nearly as well – though it is probably more fun to drive.

      • 0 avatar
        Phillip Thomas

        I would hazard to say the 22B handles much better. To give you an idea of how far Subaru hasn’t come, the front suspension is pretty much interchangeable between the two. We ran GR WRX hubs on a GC coupe awhile back, but you can bolt most everything into the old GC.

        • 0 avatar
          Power6

          I guess you don’t actually know Subarus huh. True those brakes and (5×100) bearings use the same bolt pattern but that is actually it. the 2008+ WRX used the same front suspension design from the 2005 Legacy, which uses a new LCA bushing design and none of those parts interchages (granted it is still a strut design) go ahead and try to stuff an old Grp N tophat into a 2008 STI, or vice versa a WRX or STI strut into a GC it ain’t the same. The rear suspension is also completely different (strut vs multi-link) ala the Tribeca of all vehicles was the basis for the 2008 Impreza.

          We know Subarus are like Legos but at least slide under one once in a while before talking out your butt on the Internet…

          Just the extra front caster (~6 deg vs ~3 on the old GC) and the superior geometry of the multi-link rear is an advantage of the GR over the old GC. Probably comes down to lighter vs. stiffer on the chassis. The 22B is a legend but lets be real, stock for stock? Progress has been made in the chassis, its the engine that is lacking now.

          • 0 avatar
            Phillip Thomas

            Fully aware of the differences between them.

            It’s all a matter of what you want to swap around. With GR knuckles, and the right tophat for the chassis, I’d wager the GR strut would accept the GC/GD tophat. We had GR knuckles, with GD coilovers (AST 4100’s, I think), on GC control arms; with GC axles using GR outer stubs as an experiment to keep the GR wheel speed sensors during a swap that utilized the GR ECU and motor. Surprise, it all worked enough to run an event or so before the hybrid CV died. Went back to GC hubs and said fuckit keeping the wheel speed sensors.

            I don’t think you know how many I slide under or what I do. I’ll admit it’s primarily with GC and GD cars. But I will say, if you’re near Maxwell, Texas anytime soon, you’re welcome to find out: https://scontent-b-iad.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-frc1/1501762_556330687789748_584310381_n.jpg

          • 0 avatar
            Power6

            Agreed I have no idea what you are about…if you know Subarus you should be reasonable enough then, the whole BP/BL front suspension was a redesign. New bushing design, tons more caster, reduced SAI. And you know the rear suspension aint’t even close.

            I tracked down Grp N bushings and tophats for my GH WRX it was hard to do, believe me if I could have used old GC/GD parts I would have!

            Nice job on the GR knuckle though that is a good one never saw that swap done!

  • avatar
    johnny_5.0

    The Japanese manufacturers were a huge catalyst for the current horsepower wars we are still enjoying, which is what makes it all the more perplexing why they haven’t bothered (or felt the need) to keep up outside of a few halo models. I cross shopped a strange mix of vehicles in 2006 including a STI/Mustang GT/G35 (coupe)/330/IS350. I ended up in the IS350. Sure it was a few grand more than the GT Premium, but it wasn’t much slower stock and it was a hell of lot nicer inside. Everyone else adjusted. The Germans went FI and torque ruled the day over the Japanese. The muscle cars got stonking fast with 400+ hp V8s. The few FI Japanese offerings have been left to wither on the vine just like this STI. It looks like Ford of all companies may offer more compelling FI powertrains with the new 2.3 and 2.7. There’s hints of change coming like Toyota’s new FI 2.0 that will surely end up in the IS 250 and likely spread across their lineup. I just can’t believe it has taken so long.

  • avatar
    carveman

    Sadly Subaru doesn’t have the budget to allow them to keep up with the market. No dual clutch, same horsepower, derivative styling. If you really want an STI get an 04 and cherish it for the beastly breakthrough it was.

    • 0 avatar
      djsyndrome

      They could surely find it somewhere in the nearly 2 billion dollars they expect to pocket for the year.

      http://www.autonews.com/article/20131104/RETAIL01/311049959#axzz2qOdQBvGE

    • 0 avatar
      See 7 up

      Doesn’t have the budget?
      How does a company that is considerably more popular and with higher sales, but really no new models, no longer have the budget it once had to develop a new STI?

      Your probably one of those people that really believe Sub didn’t provide a hatchback wrx/sti because they spent all the money developing one variant.

      • 0 avatar
        Power6

        It was SOAs insinuation don’t shoot the messenger bud. The STI is a very small percentage of sales, I am sure it is not a high priority for them. There is supposedly a new Legacy/Outback coming, and Subaru does consider developing the XV and Levorg new models. As well as the BRZ and two new motors. Not defending them I don’t know what the financials look like for a company of Subarus scale but they are not a large operation for an automaker.

        You are making the same arguments the hate/fanbois are: If you refute the reason why they could not do a hatch or replace the EJ, what do you think the real reason is, they are just generally hateful people trying to torture their fans??

  • avatar

    I wouldn’t be surprised if they introduced a new, 2.5 L, direct-injection engine for MY 2016. They should probably have waited to hold the STi version of the WRX until then.

  • avatar
    Phillip Thomas

    I’m disappointed, not just with this STi, but with this Impreza as a whole.

    -No double wishbone front suspension. This is why the EVO handles better. [I stand corrected]

    -Carry-over motor(?), the EJ is approaching 25 years of age. Hopefully this is just a one-year stop gap until the FA is better exploited.

    -ABS-based torque vectoring, not a fan. It eats brake pads like crazy.

    -Still using a slow steering rack. Hell, the Golf R gets a 2.1 lock-to-lock!

    -Otherwise, nothing substantially new/better/faster

    • 0 avatar
      Short Bus

      The EVO has MacPherson struts up front, same as the STi.

      ABS based torque vectoring can be effective without eating through pads at an alarming rate, it all depends on the programming.

      • 0 avatar
        Phillip Thomas

        Well shit, you’re right. I was black-out tired at PPIHC crewing for an Evo, thought I remember it being double wishbone.

        But were pulling the subframe to replace a steering rack at 3 in the morning, so there’s that.

    • 0 avatar
      Power6

      They did quicken the steering ratio to 13:1, the Subaru usually has a decent turning circle, so we don’t know if 2.6 turns lock to lock vs 2.1 is simply because the Golf R has a ridiculous turning radius and the Subie doesn’t.

      If you are waiting for bespoke double wishbones for a tiny volume STI you’ll be waiting a long time.

      Don’t get me wrong, this is way disappointing, the old EJ is a big fail for Subaru. SOA is claiming they just didn’t have the money to do a new STI motor.

      • 0 avatar
        Phillip Thomas

        I mentioned the Impreza as a whole should get away from struts.

        Steering ratio has nothing to do with wheel angle and turning radius, and everything to do with the ratio at the rack. I can make a stock Subaru have one turn lock to lock with the exact same turning circle. And our rassin’ car with a 1.5x steering ‘quickener’ nearly does that.

        • 0 avatar
          Power6

          No you missed my point I guess, if the road wheel turns at a steeper angle, it means more turns lock to lock for the same ratio. Subaru could easily have steering as quick as the Golf R if its road wheel turns to sharper angle.

          If you like they can put the rack stops out to Queen Mary turning radius level and you can then have your 2.1 lock to lock. (i.e. lock to lock turns don’t mean crap comparing between cars with different turning radii)

          Well you have half what you want, the rear isn’t a strut!

          • 0 avatar
            Phillip Thomas

            Right, but I don’t care about what’s happening at the wheels for this point, at the steering wheel I want a quicker Subaru rack.

            Partly so that in 10 years when they hit wrecked car auctions with the swiftness, and I can get one cheapo.

          • 0 avatar
            Power6

            13:1 is pretty quick rack, what is a QR 11 or 12?

            Sucks to try to change it in the new car, VDC no likey.

  • avatar
    theirishscion

    I know it speaks poorly of my maturity, but having just taken delivery of my 2014 STI 5-door (mostly because I _really_ didn’t want the 4-door, or electric power steering, or really anything else in the way of electric gizmos) it comes as a bit of a relief that I didn’t narrowly miss a 350bhp, 400ft/lb-from-2000rpm fire breathing direct injected monster with a magical rev matching close ratio 7 speed.

    Electric power seats, LED headlights and keyless go, I can live without. I wouldn’t mind the better stereo and the glorified boost gauge whatsit, and it was a pain in the arse to plumb in the rear view camera (though I would have had to do the same work anyway in order to get the Passport installed) but stereo and gauges can both be solved with a small investment at Crutchfield and Cobb respectively.

    I see they’ve moved away from the 1-piece seats as well. That may or may not be a good thing, I’d have to sit in one. I’m pretty pleased with the furniture in mine thus far.

  • avatar
    DGA

    How disappointing. How deep is Subaru in with Toyota anyhow? This smells of Toyota work.

    I’d not be surprised if this is the last STI. Making it the same – more or less – for the last decade only makes me think they really could care less about the car anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      grzydj

      Not very actually. Your theory would have held up if it wasn’t for the 2015 WRX, which features the new FB engine, new transmission choices etc.

      I’m glad Subaru opted to stiffen the chassis, update the steering components etc, but the the WRX should have been decontented with the old engine, and the STI should have got all the fancy new bits.

      This re-skinned STI defies all explanation.

      • 0 avatar
        DGA

        The 2.0 DI is in a lot of Subaru’s now, where the EJ257 is STI only carry over from back in ’04. The new 6-speed in the 2015 WRX is the same cable actuated transmission that is in the European diesel, nothing new or fancy about it. The STI is the only one with that drivetrain combination really. You know what happens to old(er) drivetrains that only exist in one model, no matter how good they are, they get cut as does the model that carries ‘em.

        The WRX is spot on if you ask me and they are committed to it and it shows through the addition of the CVT (mass market appeal) to the model.

        You also pay more for the STI on the basis of the better transmission, brakes, suspension, wheels, and advanced traction control system. I’m curious now, are the new STI’s suspension arms aluminum and does it still employ the old STI inverted strut system?

        I hope that I’m wrong, but leaving the old drivetrain in this STI signifies that they did not want to do much with the car itself.

        • 0 avatar
          Power6

          In fact the WRX has aluminum arms (again) now. So probably STI has the same arms, more stuff you don’t have to buy an STI to get!

          Guess still inverted strut, but since 08 this only applies to the front, the rear is a multi-link arrangement, uses a traditional shock.

  • avatar
    frozenman

    It seems as if Subaru is all about selling you a good performance car that you can take to the aftermarket and make it great, while enjoying the street cred you might bring?

  • avatar
    sitting@home

    “pink-trimmed frogeye STi”

    I didn’t think there ever was a frogeye STi, at least not on these shores ?

    “IT STILL MAKES 305HP”

    Rally cars aren’t about HP, they’re about traction and balance. In order to have WRC rally cred it should make “about” 300hp, anything else is just for poseurs. But then seeing as Subaru hasn’t entered into the WRC in 5 years, and this car has about a liter too much displacement to be allowed, then the link to rally racing is becoming more tenuous by the year.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    No STi could have the impact of the original. You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

    It does seem however that Subaru is going the Civic Si route, which is no good. If the ’04 were available new today, I think people would be going for that over this, even if they cost the same. Subaru is kind of all over the place and losing their character.

  • avatar
    Power6

    The Subaru forums are abuzz with disappointment and defending alike. It does seem this is the most disappointing STI launch ever. Just when it has easily the best chassis.

    And the WRX got detuned for this. Subaru is reading from the Porsche playbook of mistreating customers. I predict the tide starts to turn here…the days are numbered for the old EJ motor though, so they may pull the rabbit out of the hat and bring a current generation motor for 2016. I predict very low sales this year for STI as people wait it out or buy the more rational WRX.

  • avatar
    April

    Who is Robert Plant?

  • avatar
    wmba

    Where are all these V6 Camrys willing and able to challenge an STI or anything else for that matter? I’ve never seen one and I’ve kept a wary eye open for years, based on reports on this site. Paper tiger, then.

    A quick downshift to third, a dab of oppo, and it’s bye, bye Camry for any self-respecting STI driver, if he actually notices the mythical Camry is trying hard in the first place.

    I suppose there are rage-filled Camry drivers around somewhere, just like there may be someone looking to buy an STI and holding back thinking for less money they could float around in a godzilla Camry and enjoy the handling characteristics Mr Baruth found so amazing.

    But I doubt it’s common, and therefore as an argument for belittling the STI on a website strikes me as somewhat puerile but entirely to be expected from the click bait mentality that infests so much of this site. I mean look, I actually got sucked into reading this nonsense and responding.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      In TTAC Land V6 Camrys, Accords, Altimas, and Avengers travel at WOT at all times. They roam the streets like marauding hordes searching out any vehicle to HUMILIATE with their swift acceleration.

      Also, EVERYONE (but especially those hot-shots in 3.5L Toyotas) will constantly challenge you to a street race no matter what you drive. You should expect at least three street races per day on your daily commute, and you are bound by the rules of automotive enthusiasm to participate in all of them.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Here’s some (3.0L) Camry V6 road rage for you. Guy uses all of those horsies to try to show a Mini who’s boss.

      (youtube link) watch?v=_fMHUdsICT8

  • avatar
    Thill

    The 2015 WRX looks to be the big value.. Near Evo performance for $26K??

    The STI has some welcome improvements but they should have updated the engine. Probably will next year when the Golf R hits the US shores.

  • avatar
    Adub

    It looks cool but hasn’t really improved performance since 2004. However, the price has really gone up. Brembo brakes aren’t worth that much.


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