Subaru WRX STI Gains More Horsepower for 2019

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
subaru wrx sti gains more horsepower for 2019

Subaru announced pricing for the 2019 WRX and its big-winged STI variant this week, making special mention that the spicier option will receive a boost in horsepower and performance. It’s something enthusiasts have been clamoring for, but those seeking massive gains will probably be a bit disappointed. The aftermarket is likely to play a part in the lives of many a WRX STI, despite the factory upgrade.

Meanwhile, the more-humble WRX will go mostly unchanged for the 2019 model year. Subaru has said it will persist with the 268-horsepower 2.0-liter boxer engine and symmetrical all-wheel drive system with torque vectoring. However, it does get a new 6.5-inch high-resolution touchscreen with smartphone integration and a rear-view camera.

Those optioning for the “Sport Lineartronic” CVT also get the benefit of Subaru’s EyeSight driver assist suite. But we can’t recommend it over the six-speed manual without feeling a little dirty.

The STI also keeps its current engine, a turbocharged 2.5-liter boxer, but Subaru tacked on 5 additional ponies for the 2019 model year. It now boats 310 hp, thanks to a new air intake, high-flow exhaust system, and a retuned ECU. Subaru assures us that stronger pistons have been installed to help the engine cope with this massive influx of power. What’s potentially more exciting, however, is the STI’s upgraded manual, which has its 3rd gear ratio revised to improve acceleration.

Subaru didn’t say what kind of difference it would make. We’ve noticed that 3rd gear in the STI always seems to come in right before 60 mph, and often wondered if the company would change things up to alleviate that non-problem and improve upon the (somewhat irrelevant) metric popularly used to measure the acceleration of road cars. However, we sincerely doubt this particular gearing modification will do much for that since 2nd remains untouched. It could help it get to 100 mph a bit more swiftly, though.

In addition to wilder body work and more power, the STI offers a few other things the standard WRX doesn’t. Additional features include a multi-mode driver-controlled center differential and unique instrument cluster.

Both cars will receive a limited number of special-edition “Series.Gray” vehicles, painted in Subaru’s Cool Gray Khaki color. It’s a very interesting hue. We’ve seen it on the Crosstrek and it can hit the eyes as totally flat grey or an almost baby blue, depending on lighting. Limited to 750 WRX models and only 250 STIs, the grey cars will only be sold as six-speed manuals and possess a number of unique features: black alloy wheels, crystal silica badging, upgraded brake pads, steering-responsive headlights. The STI version of the grey also receives Bilstein-tuned sport suspension and dampers.

Expect to pay more for these than the standard models, which also see a modest increase in price for the 2019 model year. Pricing starts at $28,080 for the WRX and $37,480 for the WRX STI, both of which include the $885 destination fee. Checking the Series.Gray box tacks on an additional $3,100. Deliveries should begin this summer.

[Image: Subaru]

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  • Conundrum Conundrum on May 25, 2018

    Can't comment on a diesel pickup. Don' ever want or need one. The STI weighs 3450 lbs. Not as heavy as your average plodding CUV. But yes, you actually need to be awake to drive it, and it's not what I'd call a commuter car. If the thing wasn't so blasted noisy, I'd have had a 2016. More fun than a barrel of monkeys and still with hydraulic power steering. You can trundle around town in fourth, plop a U-ie into second, stand on it and DEPART. Feels delicious, like a grown-up Abarth with actual guts. Quite unlike all the zombiefied modern sedans I've driven, some 19 different ones in the last five years. If you buy by the hp and haven't a clue what really wringing a car out is like nor care, buy an EB Mustang. Or Accord 2.0t or something. The transmission is a completely different unit from the cheapo WRX one which is derived from the 1973 Leone. Much nicer to shift and no rev hang from the old EJ engine, unlike WRX and Hondas. Just add mucho gazolin because yes, it has a drinking problem. And extra alloys for winter tires because nobody but nobody has steelies. The costs mount. Unfortunately, Subaru has removed one of the two center-diff lockers for 2019 along with awarding a nominal 5 hp increase. The mechanical ball and ramp one is gone, so no loud sproings as you power up a rough gravel hill amymore, where front or rear spinning axles in the air are abruptly arrested. Just the electromagnetic clutch one remains. They cheaped out, the misers! Still has front and rear torsenish diffs. As I say, with no wing and a nicer interior than the WRX, all I wanted was a proper quiet muffler for stealth. But the usual crew that buys STIs would have a collective fit if that happened. For highway drives, it was not acceptable to me. Have I driven a new GTI? Yes, twice, one manual, one DSG. OK sums up my impression, but the tiny front doors means the B-pillar is what you see when you look left. No such problem in the STI. At all. Cannot warm to the wedged-in driving position the GTI proffers me. YMMV. If so great. I really don't care nor need advice on the particular matter myself. Thought about it a lot, really a lot. It does not suit me, and the shifter is merely OK, so it'd be a DSG. Geez, maybe I should get an STI anyway before analog cars disappear. Ponder. Hmm. Need some comfy earplugs. Besides the WRX, the rest of Subaru's lineup are bumbling dog carriers that suck the life out of you, or the chocolate-dipped ice-cream cone BRZ with 200 gerbilpower.

    • See 1 previous
    • Advance_92 Advance_92 on May 29, 2018

      Depends on your definition of analog. The STI in the US has always had an electric throttle.

  • Akear Akear on May 27, 2018

    Why can't Ford create interesting vehicles like this.

    • CoastieLenn CoastieLenn on May 30, 2018

      Focus RS Focus ST Fiesta ST (In order of "intersesting-ness".) The FoRS was flawed in block casting (2.3 block is weak but "easily swappable" to the 2.0 Focus ST block) but was otherwise a gangbusters fast compact car.

  • Tassos BTW I thought this silly thing was always called the "Wienermobile".
  • Tassos I have a first cousin with same first and last name as my own, 17 years my junior even tho he is the son of my father's older brother, who has a summer home in the same country I do, and has bought a local A3 5-door hatch kinds thing, quite old by now.Last year he told me the thing broke down and he had to do major major repairs, replace the whole engine and other stuff, and had to rent a car for two weeks in a touristy location, and amazingly he paid more for the rental ( Euro1,500, or $1,650-$1,700) than for all the repairs, which of course were not done at the dealer (I doubt there was a dealer there anyway)
  • Tassos VW's EV program losses have already been horrific, and with (guess, Caveman!) the Berlin-Brandenburg Gigafactory growing by leaps and bounds, the future was already quite grim for VW and the VW Group.THis shutdown will not be so temporary.The German Government may have to reach in its deep pockets, no matter how much it hates to spend $, and bail it out."too big to fail"?
  • Billccm I had a 1980 TC3 Horizon and that car was as reliable as the sun. Underappreciated for sure.
  • Inside Looking Out I did not notice, did they mention climate change? How they are going to fight climate change, racism and gender discrimination. I mean collective Big 3.