2011 SUBARU WRX AND WRX STI
Back in March, Subaru revealed new versions of its turbo-charged WRX hatch and sedan models, with both the hatch and sedan bearing the pumped panels of their hatch-based STI hotter brother.
More importantly, the debut of the WRX sedan with flared fenders gave Subaru enthusiasts renewed hope for the return of an old favourite: the Impreza WRX STI sedan.
Subaru didn't keep its fans waiting long, and in early April the 2011 Subaru Impreza WRX STI sedan made its online debut.
This week, Subaru has launched both the 2011 WRX and 2011 WRX STI range in Australia.
TMR's Tony O'Kane is attending the launch of the 2011 Subaru Impreza WRX and WRX STI today. Watch for his 'first drive' review.
Big changes have occurred in the styling department, with the WRX now wearing the STI’s widebody panels and both models sharing a new set of front and rear bumpers.
The WRX scores a quartet of chrome exhaust tips, while the WRX STI sedan boasts a rear wing every bit as massive as those of previous-gen STIs. In addition, a large front undertray improves aerodynamic downforce.
The 2011 STI also gets new 18-inch Enkei alloys as standard (which also save 1.8kg per corner), and the 18-inch BBS rims of the range-topping STI spec.R have a darker finish.
WRX rolling-stock consists of wider 17-inch alloys, finished in a gunmetal grey finish.
The interior of both the WRX and WRX STI remains largely unchanged from their predecessors, although new dark metallic trim panels and a new stereo system are featured, along with Bluetooth audio and hands-free, iPod compatibility and USB and aux inputs.
Both turbocharged flat-four engines carry over for the WRX and WRX STI, however the STI is now available with a five-speed automatic gearbox equipped with paddle shifters.
Power output for the auto STI is the same as the manual model at 221kW, but torque is pared back from 407Nm to just 350Nm. The WRX engine has the same 2.5 litre capacity as the WRX, but develops 195kW and 343Nm.
Both WRX and WRX STI sedans share a new exhaust system, which uses a larger centre muffler and 80mm piping to enhance the engine’s characteristic boxer burble.
The WRX is only sold as a five-speed manual, while the WRX STI is available with either a six-speed manual or the five-speed auto.
Like all Subaru models the WRX and WRX STI deliver power to all four wheels. The STI boasts Subaru's SI-Drive system, which alters the engine tune and throttle responsiveness to cater for suburban driving or hard-core track use.
Further down the driveline, the WRX has an open differential at the front and Torsen diff at the back. The STI manual is equipped with a helical limited-slip differential on its front axle and a Torsen LSD in the rear, while the auto has an open front diff and a viscous rear LSD.
Major revisions have been made to the suspension of both models. The 2011 WRX, thanks to its wider bodywork, has a wider track width (35mm and 40mm at the front and rear respectively), affording it greater cornering grip.
Tyres are now 235/45R17 in size, 10mm wider than before. The WRX also gains revised rear subframe bushings to improve high-speed roadholding. The front brakes are now 16 inches in diameter, with subtle improvements to caliper design.
Subaru has thoroughly revised the suspension package of the WRX STI for 2011. The ride height is 5mm lower overall, and damper tunes and spring rates have been re-worked for extra grip.
Front springs are now 15.6 percent stiffer, while the rears are 53 percent stiffer. The front and rear swaybars are 1mm larger.
A new alloy lower control arm is fitted to the STI’s front suspension, and features a highly rigid pillow-ball bushing to enhance steering response. Like the WRX, the STI’s rear suspension bushings are stiffer for 2011.
The STI’s brake package continues to be comprised of Brembo Calipers gripping large ventilated discs. The highly grippy Dunlop SP Sport 600 remains the OE tyre, sized at 245/40R18.
WRX pricing still starts from $39,990 (Manufacturer’s List Price) for both sedan and hatch variants.
The WRX with optional SatNav, leather trim and sunroof is $1000 less than the superseded equivalent model, now costing $43,990
Pricing for the WRX STI has been reduced by $2000 and now starts from $59,990 for both sedan and hatch, auto or manual. The WRX STI spec.R commands a $6000 premium, while ticking the box for the optional Recaro front seats adds another $1000 to the RRP.