Sensai Master

Sensai Master

2017 Subaru WRX STI

The quintessential poster boy for street legal rally cars, master, teacher, leader of the pack, Mr. Miyagi of the Rally world is the Subaru WRX STI. Its reputation proceeds it, and when we got the chance to hop in and have a little test drive we jumped at the opportunity. It’s a car built to be pushed. Of course it works just as well as a regular ‘practical’ vehicle, perhaps for a family of four but this baby was designed for those that want nothing more then to push the limits and boundary’s, race round corners, pedal to the floor at top speed’s, pushing the throttle, screaming for more. If this sounds like you…Read on…

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The Engine Bit

Let’s kick of where it really counts. The Engine. While the standard WRX has a 268-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter flat-four, the STI has a turbo 2.5-liter that is not used in any other Subaru. It makes the same 305 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 290 lb-ft of torque at 4000 rpm as last year’s model, which some may consider disappointing. Its top speed sits at 255kph, and having driven the car it surprises me that its zero to 60 time is 5.3 seconds, the numbers hint that the Sub may be slightly sluggish, but it feels like an absolute rocket when your sat in it.

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The In’s and out’s

Looks wise we see a more aggressive front fascia, adaptive LED headlights, brackets for a roof rack, and dark-gray 19-inch aluminum wheels wrapped in 245/35R-19 Yokohama Advan Sport V105 tires. It also gets a new STI Sport Design instrument cluster with a color LCD display, heated exterior mirrors, red seatbelts, and a more capable security system. Other features include a power sunroof, a proximity key, push-button start, navigation, a Harman/Kardon audio system, blind-spot detection with cross-traffic alert, and eight-way power-adjustable Recaro performance seats which hug you in all the right places.

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The Driving Technicality’s

Honestly speaking, getting the most out of your STI requires a fair amount of right arm work, and the acceptance that everyday is leg day. It interestingly performs better in lower gears, giving you that lift off, and pull back jerk you want and expect from a car of this calibre. However, if already driving along at say 100kph in 5th you will struggle to achieve the same get up and go effect. Cornering at high speeds is where the STI comes into its own, super glue is an understatement. I would personally go as far as to say Zero body roll or slippage, but perhaps I wasn’t pushing it hard enough.

It comes equipped with SI-Drive (or Subaru Intelligent Drive), a driving-mode selector that affects only the engine’s power delivery. Using a centre-console dial, you can pick among Intelligent, Sport, and Sport Sharp, depending on whether throttle response or fuel efficiency is more important. When switched into Sport or Sport Sharp, a torque curve is displayed in the centre screen.

The big news, is that Subaru fiddled with the all-wheel-drive system. Whereas the centre differential in the previous STI was controlled via mechanical and electronic methods, the 2017 has gone full digital. Subaru calls it the Multi-Mode Driver Controlled Centre Differential (DCCD), and it’s intended to improve the car’s already great handling. Subaru also upgraded the brakes, using yellow-painted monoblock Brembo calipers—six pistons up front and two in the rear—as well as larger cross-drilled vented discs, 13.4 inches in front and 12.8 inches in the back.

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The Verdict

Okay, so it could be considered slightly ostentatious, but if you’re the type buying the WRX STI its assumed that’s what you want it for, it’s a show off car!! It has the look, its has the power and above all it has the sound. The performance isn’t quite what it once was but the glue that sticks the STI to the road in the form of the limited-slip differentials, torque vectoring and 6 speed manual gear box sure make up for it. Its steering is laser-quick and its brakes grip like crazy. The result makes it entertaining, fun and exhilarating to drive.

© COPYRIGHT ARABIA MOTORS OCTOBER 2017

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