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GUESS WHO'S BACK? (some text hidden)
By Jonathan Crouch
The Subaru WRX STI has always been something quite unique. Now it's being discontinued and won't be replaced. Before it finally goes though, there's this 'Final Edition' version for enthusiasts to enjoy. Jonathan Crouch reports.
Ten Second Reviewword count: 84
The most exciting car with a roof that you can buy for under £35,000? You might well be looking at it right here. The Subaru WRX STI 'Final Edition' is a final hurrah for this iconic rally replica model line. It's a familiar recipe under the skin, with a 2.5-litre turbocharged flat-four sending 300PS to each corner. More modern rivals claim more sophistication but none of the thrills they deliver are quite the same as those you'll get at the wheel of this Subaru.
Backgroundword count: 225
Nostalgia. There's a place for it - right? Especially when it comes to cars. And when it comes to fast, affordable excitement, there aren't many that spark it as much as this one, Subaru's WRX STI. This model isn't called an 'Impreza' any more, but it's with predecessors that were so-badged that its origins lie, cars that back in the Nineties dominated the World Rally Championship in the hands of legends like Richard Burns and Colin McRae. Subaru had to make road-going versions in order to compete at this level and found there was a ready market for them from those in search of supercar performance with an affordable pricetag. At its original launch back in 1994, this car was powered, as it is now, by a 2.5-litre turbocharged flat four - but a rather different one back then. Only with the third generation STI model of 2007 was power boosted to the 300PS output we enjoy today. In that MK3 version's lifetime, the 'Impreza' badge was dispensed with to distance the car from humbler models and an uprated 330PS power unit was also offered. Subaru decided though, that this fourth generation design didn't need it and finally re-launched the car here in 2014 as a more extreme, more involving and more affordable option to more super-hot hatches like Volkswagen Golf R and Audi's S3.
Driving Experienceword count: 323
A lot has changed since the Impreza was a hero car. Back in the Nineties, 210PS would scare us stupid and have us gibbering for hours afterwards before we were sat down or sedated. These days, we have power fatigue. It takes a lot to make us sit up and take notice, but the WRX STI looks to be made of the right stuff. All-wheel drive and 300PS in a car that weighs about as much as an Audi A8's door card tends to focus the mind. Under the bonnet is the familiar 2.5 litre turbo-charged Subaru boxer four-cylinder engine, which in STI guise, produces 393Nm of torque. The six-speed manual gearbox features a short throw and a very direct shift feel. There are two driver-orientated changes to this 'Final Edition' model. The wheel size has been increased to 19 inches to house new larger Brembo brakes with yellow painted calipers, which improve fade-resistance and brake performance and a consistent pedal feel when driving on the limit. And there's been a change from mechanical and electronic to purely electronic control of the Multi-Mode Driver's Control Centre Differential (DCCD) which provides optimum cornering ability. As before, Subaru's trademark Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive employs the latest vehicle dynamics control (VDC) and Active Torque Vectoring for maximum control. Spring and damper rates have been tuned to provide a relatively compliant ride while retaining body composure and the electronic power steering is mounted on a rigid steering gearbox mount for reasonable fuel efficiency and sharp response. Drivers can use the Subaru Intelligent Drive module (SI-Drive) to switch through Intelligent, Sport, and Sport Sharp, using a rotary controller on the centre console. There's even a Multi-Mode Driver-Controlled Centre Differential (DCCD), which offers the driver six manually-adjustable modes for various traction situations. The default torque split is 41:59 front to rear. Expect 62mph to come and go in around 4.7 seconds with a top speed in the region of 155mph.
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