By on January 5, 2017

2018 Subaru WRX STI

Break out the vapes. Subaru has released details on the upgraded 2018 WRX and WRX STI, both of which gain new hardware, but not the new global platform found under the 2017 Impreza.

In a bid to keep the models fresh until a fully revamped version arrives, Subaru has tweaked the WRX’s styling, upgraded its drivetrain and braking components, and eliminated a mandatory “option” many Performance Package customers didn’t enjoy paying for.

For those expecting more power: sorry, not this time.

Yes, the same turbocharged 2.0-liter and 2.5-liter Boxer engines carry over into 2018, making 268 and 305 horsepower in the WRX and WRX STI, respectively.

Up front, Subaru facelifted the fascia for a meaner look, adding steering-responsive LED headlights in the process. Base WRX customers will have to find their way through the dark with fixed units, however. Mind those curves. Underneath the new face lies a strengthened structure for better collision performance.

2018_Subaru STI

An extra heaping of sound insulation, coupled with thicker window glass, should provide something close to the library-like environment that owners of all-wheel-drive sports cars crave. Like audience members on Oprah, everyone gets a larger multi-function display! 5.9-inch screens now come standard across the board, while Premium customers will see their Starlink infotainment unit grow from 6.2 to 7.0 inches.

Both models see new front and rear suspension tuning for 2018, with attention paid to steering stability and overall comfort. The six-speed manual transmission now sports a slipperier synchro design for improved shifter feel and smoother clutch take-up, much to the delight of TTAC’s resident WRX owner Bozi.

By integrating the steering motor and electronic control unit, Subaru claims a slight improvement in steering feel, plus weight savings. New 18- and 19-inch wheel designs are on tap, as are grippier brakes. The WRX Premium’s new Performance Package brings JURID pads to the table, while the WRX STI sees larger rotors with Brembo monoblock six-piston calipers up front. Two-piston calipers find their way to the rear.

Premium Package customers no longer have to shell out for a moonroof. That feature is now gone from the goody bag.

On the safety front, Subaru’s Hill Holder and Hill Start Assist features have been dumped in the trash, replaced by a Vehicle Hold (AVH) system that restrains the vehicle in all situations — even on level ground. In Limited models, the EyeSight driver assist system now projects information onto the windshield.

Subaru expects 2018 WRX and WRX STI models to roll into dealerships this spring.

[Images: Subaru]

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35 Comments on “2018 Subaru WRX Appears With More Gear, Less Moonroof, and No Extra Power...”


  • avatar
    PenguinBoy

    Hopefully they will bring back the WRX hatch when the move to the new platform, presumably in another year or so…

  • avatar
    VW4motion

    Great mid-model refresh. Similar to the 2017 Forester updates. Updated sound insulation and door seals made a huge difference in the 2017 Forester.

  • avatar
    mleclerc19xx

    No sunroof? Deal breaker right there. It livens up an otherwise stark black interior.

  • avatar
    ACCvsBig10

    15 years of the same engine in the STI continues

  • avatar
    jeano

    The WRX and STI have different steering systems (electric vs hydraulic) and transmissions with the STI having direct linkages vs cables in the WRX. Has any of this changed?
    Maybe lose some of the snark and do more research than the average Sunday newspaper motoring edition.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    2019 will bring the flat brim cap and vape package.

    That said, a dude in WRX once drove me to get a battery for my 350Z when it died. Super nice. But yea most WRX drivers I see look like college age kids who listen to Mac Miller.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Is the moonroof still there on the Limited trim? Not that I’m likely to buy a WRX anyway (I like quiet and interior comfort too much) but I’d hate to have an even darker interior in this dark corner of the world.

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    Considering that a WRX can do 0-60 in five seconds, does it need more power?

  • avatar
    never_follow

    Couple things – the vape joke is a little old.

    And 2nd – I thought active headlights weren’t DOT legal, which is why the awesome German cars don’t have them in North America (they could have them in Canada, as we’re also allowed ECE reg lights… but apparently it would cost too much to send us the better lights). Or are these dumbed down versions that only go left/right?

    • 0 avatar
      sarcheer

      They just go left/right

      • 0 avatar
        never_follow

        That’s too bad, but better than nothing. I’m surprised more companies don’t have the feature, as far as I know all HID headlights have levelling motors. Having a second set wouldn’t be too expensive or difficult to implement.

        The only other car I know of with them is the old RX350. My inlaws have one, and it actually works great. The low beam being in the middle where the high beam is meant to go makes it look weird, however.

        • 0 avatar
          Middle-Aged Miata Man

          I didn’t know that full active headlights weren’t allowed in the U.S. (thanks DOT) but it explains why the HIDs on my old GLI performed such an elaborate “dance” on startup – side-to-side and up-and-down, two cycles apiece – yet only moved horizontally while driving.

          In use, though, the lost capability didn’t seem to matter much. Those were the best headlights I’ve seen in 25 years of driving.

          • 0 avatar
            Nick_515

            Identical experience in my A4. I am despondent as to what I’ll do once this car goes. Maybe new cars have gotten there.

  • avatar
    319583076

    Is the WRX clutch pedal take-up point adjustable?

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    The WRX is on my next car shortlist, but my co-worker had quite a few problems with his higher mileage Outback, including the head gasket, a cat converter that went bad, ripped suspension boots, and three wheel bearings that needed to be replaced.

    Is this something I should worry about with the WRX? I don’t live in the woods like he does – I’m more interested in the AWD and 6-speed combo, plus room for (I assume!) 4 adults.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      Those are all pretty common things to go wrong with a ’95 – ’12 vintage Subaru. Subarus are well built in that they will keep running with a myriad of problems…

    • 0 avatar
      EAF

      My good friend’s 2015 STI with < 3000 miles will be in need of a new clutch very soon. The car is 100% stock right down to the factory fill. He drives for a living, his prowess with a manual is not in question, so what's the issue? I have no idea but apparently the smell of a burning clutch disc is considered normal on this model according to his dealer.

      Despite what Subaru fan boys and girls say: the issues with head gaskets continue, issues with oil supply to bearings, issues with the OEM tune running lean, issues with oil consumption regardless of oil used, break-in routine or transmission selected. This is more than isolated instances, visit consumer affairs and you can spend hours reading case after case after case.

      I want to love Subaru, but I do believe it is a mediocre product that has been overrated by its fanbase to a staggering degree. When people ask me, I recommend other Japanese & Domestic makes with inferior AWD systems.

    • 0 avatar
      bullnuke

      I’m guessing that your co-worker’s “higher mileage Outback” is seven or more years old. Turbo 2.5’s didn’t have the head gasket issues that plagued the non-turbo engines back in those days and the 2.5’s of both flavors since 2010 have not shown similar problems. I watch a couple of Subaru blogs (where the dog-loving, Birkenstock folks complain) and since 2010 the only issues of note were oil consumption on the 2.5 FB’s (which Subaru will replace the short block without complaint) and low-beam headlamp bulb replacement for 2011’s (which Subaru will do for free). Boy racer WRX’s did have some problems with ring-land cracks on the #4 piston of the 2.5 EJ engine a few years ago but I’ve seen nothing on it in the last 4 or 5 years.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    I’m curious to see how they did the integrated roof rack mounts. More cars should come with an option like that. The roof rails on my wife’s Clubman that allow quick and easy crossbar attachment are super nice.

  • avatar
    EAF

    I had read that the 27 year old EJ will be scrapped for 2018, a more powerful FB 2.0 would be used in its place.

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