Tuesday, August 30, 2011

2011 Subaru Impreza WRX STI: Get Amped

The 2011 Subaru Impreza WRX STI is a high-performance car that offers a potent engine and a nicely tuned suspension. But really, if you're more than 24 years old, you might look a little odd driving this car.

That's because this is pretty much a toy for the "too-fast, too-furious" set. You know the kind: amped up on energy drinks, saying "dude" a lot, very The Situation-esque.

What's odd about this is that otherwise, Subaru is a serious car company, that makes excellent products known for reliability and their all-wheel drive.

But I guess even car companies should have a sense of humor, and this is Subaru's turn at being a bit cheeky.

The Impreza WRX STI get its name from the WRX and the STI models, which can be had as five-door hatchbacks or sedans. Some would say that this car competes with the the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo, and that's fair enough. But you'll also find it compared with the Mazdaspeed3. I have a bit of a problem with that one, because that car seems a little more mature. You can have fun in the Mazdaspeed3, but it also has excellent road manners and doesn't come outfitted in ridiculously gaudy race car regalia.

The WRX STI now has wider fenders, squared-off bumpers, and a black grille. Those things are OK. But when you add the ridiculous spoiler, you really are saying that this car is fine for the track, but driving it in normal circumstances is like wearing cleats to go shopping in Macy's.

Subaru has firmed up the suspension on the WRX STI and added 18-inch wheels.

There are also higher spring rates and thicker stabilizer bars for enhanced handling. The Brembo brakes feature four-piston front and two-piston rear calipers and give the car superb stopping ability.

The engine is a 305-horsepower turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder linked to a six-speed manual transmission. It makes 290 pounds-feet of torque.  The engine has sequential multiport fuel injection and incline start assist and a high-cross-flow-design intercooler and Subaru’s Intelligent Drive system to bolster traction.

On the interior, check out the tilting, telescoping leather steering wheel with audio controls, automatic climate control and keyless entry. Coming standard are Bluetooth audio streaming, hands-free calling, USB ports and a single-CD stereo. Options offered include heated seats, side mirrors, moonroof, satellite radio, leather upholstery, xenon headlights, a navigation system and projector-beam fog lights.

The test drive model had a sticker price of $39,870.

The WRX STI offers lots of performance capability, and its own kind of styling. But there are other models out there that offer great performance and that you can actually grow older with. And you might even get away with paying a bit less.

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