Subaru Impreza WRX STI 2.5 5Dr Review
Still waters run deep...

Story & pictures by David Khoo
15 Apr 2008

We took the new Subaru Impreza WRX STI for an exclusive drive, and found out there’s more to this hot-hatch than meets the eye...  


the new Impreza should appeal to those who aren't afraid to revel in their "difference"...

The new Impreza WRX hatchback was the subject of great consternation, particularly amongst its die-hard fans who had come to associate the model with the more conventional sedan shape. Of course, as with most things, these are the very same fanatical rabble-rousers who are more content to stay in their comfort zones and quick to dismiss anything "different". Like the fickle world of fashion, there are the early-adopters, trend-setters, bandwagon-hoppers and then, everybody else.

While most folks are content to follow the herd, the new Impreza should appeal to those who aren't afraid to revel in their "difference". With the flared, squared-off stance of the STI, there are few hot-hatches on the road that exude the same kind of muscular presence. Moreover, not only does the STI compete head-to-head against the other fire-breathing homologation rally specials, it enters a new segment now - hot-hatches.

Although cars like the Renault Megane R26, Ford Focus ST, Volkswagen Golf GTI and Honda Civic Type R are now in the STI's sights, there's one facet to the STI that keeps it gamely treading water while the rest of them go under - All-Wheel Drive. Not only does the new STI hit harder, it also grips more tenaciously than any other front-wheel drives.

In some ways, the STI is similar, yet so different from its lesser brethren. While the general shape remains the same, little touches really set it apart from the other cars. Less certainly is more, and this is one car that doesn't need an outrageous wing to garner attention. Apart from discreet "STI" badges on the rear-end, front grille and fenders, the STI really distinguishes itself by its pushed-out fender flares to accommodate the car's wider track.

Bonnet scoop, minimalist roof-spoiler and quad-pipes take care of the rest, but we'd have preferred the optional BBS multi-spoke alloy rims to the five-spoke items the test car was shod in.

Nevertheless, such is the level of road presence and instant street credibility engendered by the STI that the attention garnered on the roads is positively electric.

Rather than bold, brash and overt visual addenda that are intended to create an impression of motorsports, the STI has clearly matured and grown up with the times, with only the most subtle clues to the car's potential.


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