IT seems like only yesterday when the last WRX STI was sold in the UK amid an outcry of sentiment on the sad loss of this iconic model. Less than one year on, Subaru UK confirms the new WRX STI is coming to these shores in summer.
The good news for performance car fans around the country is that as a result of the recent movements in exchange rates, the new model will be priced at a highly competitive £28,995 when it hits showrooms in May, some £4,000 cheaper than its predecessor.
Unveiled at the Detroit Motor Show, the new WRX STI is based on the WRX saloon car launched at the LA show in November, but with some significant enhancements.
Subaru has honed the driveability of the new WRX STI to perfection, testing it under a wide variety of conditions. As with past generations of the model, extensive testing also took place on Germany's Nürburgring circuit to ensure the WRX STI is the pinnacle of Subaru AWD sports performance.
At its heart is a 2.5 litre turbo-charged Subaru Boxer four-pot engine which, in STI guise, produces 305hp and 290lb/ft of torque. The six-speed gearbox has been reinforced and now adopts even shorter throw and slicker, sportier shift feel.
Subaru's trademark Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive employs the latest vehicle dynamics control (VDC) and Active Torque Vectoring for maximum control and driver engagement. Spring and damper rates have been meticulously re-tuned to provide a more compliant ride while retaining body composure, and the electronic power steering is now mounted on a more rigid steering gearbox mount for improved fuel efficiency and more "direct" feel and response.
A lot of work has also gone into improving the perceived quality of the WRX STI interior. For the new model, highlights include a new D-shaped steering wheel of smaller diameter and designed to give the driver maximum feel. Soft touch materials are used in key areas while new dials and carbon effect and metal trim is also employed to give the STI both a suitably sporty and more upmarket feel.
UK buyers can expect a comprehensive standard spec, in addition to changes over the WRX on the exterior design including the large signature rear wing and larger diameter wheels. At the rear, the diffuser integrated bumper and twin dual mufflers are unmistakably Subaru while new 18in alloy wheels are designed to be both lighter and more rigid. LED lighting is employed for the headlights, tail and brake lights while STI badges are found on the front grille and wings.