2015 Subaru WRX STI Preview

Jeff Youngs | Jan 16, 2014
FAST FACTS
  • Rally-bred racer for the street
  • Offered only as a 4-door sedan
  • 305 horsepower, 290 lb.-ft. of torque
  • Sophisticated AWD system
  • New Active Torque Vectoring system
  • Standard and Limited trim levels
  • Limited-production Launch package

Introduction

The latest version of The Car Formerly Known As Impreza WRX STI debuted at the 2014 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, decked out for the occasion in limited-production Launch Edition livery. Although the redesigned 2015 Subaru WRX STI remains based on the Impreza, it no longer includes the Impreza name as an official part of its moniker. It does, however, continue to package an impressive level of performance hardware in a relatively affordable, rally-bred package.

Exterior Features

Unlike the previous-generation WRX STI, the new 2015 version is offered only as a 4-door sedan, so those interested in purchasing a 5-door hatchback model should hurry.

Compared with the Impreza sedan upon which it is based, the 2015 Subaru WRX STI is equipped with different bumpers, quarter panels, fenders, doors, LED headlights, and LED taillights. It also has a unique aluminum hood punctured with a functional hood scoop. An oversized rear wing spoiler is standard, and the WRX STI is equipped with heated side mirrors and a wiper de-icer system.

The 2015 Subaru WRX STI Launch Edition is limited to 1,000 units, and is equipped with WR Blue paint, gold BBS forged aluminum wheels, and special interior trim.

Interior Features

Roomier inside and equipped with a larger 12 cu.-ft. trunk, the 2015 WRX STI is equipped with dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, welcome lighting, STI Design electroluminescent gauges, and twin information displays ranging from 3.5 in. to 4.3 in. in size. The standard 6-speaker stereo includes Bluetooth connectivity and audio streaming, iTunes tagging capability, HD Radio, satellite radio, a USB port, and an auxiliary audio input jack. The driver faces a leather-wrapped, tilt-and-telescopic flat-bottom steering wheel, and the rear seat folds down in a 60/40 split design.

Optional Features

Upgrade to the WRX STI Limited and the car adds leather/Alcantara sport seats, an 8-way power driver's seat, power sunroof, and a premium audio system. Automatic transmission is not an option. This version of the WRX is equipped exclusively with a 6-speed manual gearbox.

Under the Hood

The 2015 Subaru WRX STI is equipped with a turbocharged, 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine with horizontally opposed piston design that effectively lowers the car's center of gravity while giving it a characteristic vibration and grumble. This type of engine design is also referred to as a Boxer configuration for the way the pistons jab outward from the crankshaft when the engine is running.

Capable of generating 305 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 290 lb.-ft. torque at 4,000 rpm, the turbocharged engine and 6-speed manual transmission work in tandem with a long list of sophisticated powertrain technologies in order to give the car significant performance potential. In addition to a helical front limited-slip differential, center locking differential, and a torque-sensing limited-slip rear differential, the WRX STI is equipped with a Driver Controlled Center Differential AWD with three modes and a 41:59 power split. Depending on road conditions, torque transfer is governed by throttle position, engine rpm, steering angle, lateral-G measurement, yaw rate, wheel speed, and the braking system to deliver the right amount of power to the right wheels at the right time. Additionally, a new Active Torque Vectoring system aims to deliver neutral cornering characteristics.

The WRX STI is also equipped with Incline Start Assist; Vehicle Dynamics Control with Normal, Traction, and Off settings; and Subaru Intelligent Drive (SI-Drive) with Intelligent, Sport and Sport Sharp driving modes. Performance upgrades also include a stiffer high-performance chassis, an inverted strut front suspension making liberal use of aluminum in order to reduce unsprung weight, firmer springs, Brembo Performance Brakes with Super Sport ABS, and faster steering with a 13:1 ratio and 2.5 turns lock-to-lock. The standard 18-inch aluminum wheels are shod with 245/40 summer performance tires.

Safety

Subaru engineers all of its vehicles with what the company calls a Ring Shaped Reinforcement Frame, which is designed to absorb and deflect crash energy in order to keep occupants safe. While the WRX STI has not been crash tested, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) calls the Impreza upon which it is based a "Top Safety Pick."

Technology

The technology emphasis for the 2015 Subaru WRX STI is based largely on the hardware that makes the car a capable performance machine. In addition, a reversing camera is standard, a premium audio is system is included for the WRX STI Limited, and a navigation system is optional.
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