2011 Subaru Impreza WRX STI new car reviews

The STI sedan is back.
And so is the STI's giant wing. On the plus side, according to Subaru it reduces lift to zero.
You can still get a five-door STI, though.
Here's the reverse angle of the five-door.
The STI's interior is still a functional place.
There are two wheel choices, too. The standard wheel comes from Enkei.
Forged BBS wheels are still an option.
Yep, rally was on the press introduction schedule. Rally tires were fitted for durability reasons. (And to fit the 15-inch tires, the cars were backdated to the earlier brakes.)

Better than: 2010 Subaru Impreza WRX STI
But not as good as: Impreza WRC
GRM Bang For The Buck Index: 97.82

In addition to sampling the revised 2011 Subaru Impreza WRX, we got to see the 2011 Impreza WRX STI. The higher-output STI also gets some fairly big changes for the 2011 model year:

The Four-Door Sedan Returns

The original U.S.-spec STI only came in one body style, a four-door sedan. That configuration seemed to work fairly well.

When the Impreza received its redo for 2008, the STI package migrated to the five-door wagon. The STI sedan had become a thing of the past. Subaru said that the wagon made a better rally platform, but the enthusiasts did what they did best: complain.

Well, now there's a freedom of choice as the STI comes in two flavors: wagon or sedan. According to Subaru, there's little weight penalty between the two: 3384 pounds for the sedan and 3373 pounds for the wagon. (For those of you without a calculator, the wagon weighs 11 pounds less.)

There's a Retuned Chassis, Too

The changes aren't limited to the body, as the chassis received some work, too. First, ride height has been dropped by 5mm.

The anti-roll bar rates are also up, as both the front and rear bars have grown one millimeter thicker: 20 to 21mm up front and 18 to 19mm out back.

The spring rates are also up: 16 percent on the front end and 53 percent on the rear end. (Looking for real figures? The fronts have gone from 39.8 N/mm to 46 N/mm, while the rears have moved from 34 N/mm to 52 N/mm.)

One more big suspension change: Where the front control arms were secured with rubber bushings, starting in 2011 rod ends are used.

New Wheels

Finally, the STI gets new wheels. The base sedan receives a new 18-inch Enkei wheel. At 23.1 pounds, it's 4 pounds lighter than the base wheels previously used. The wagon and Limited sedan come with forged 18-inch BBS wheels. Each one weighs 20.1 pounds.

We should also mention the prices. The four-door STI starts at $33,995, while the Limited will cost you $37,345. The five-door only comes in one flavor, and it retails for $35,995. (And as Subaru notes, while the five-door price has gone up by a grand, it includes the BBS wheels, a $2000 option in the past.)

Other staff views

David S. Wallens David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

The STI, as usual, does everything the WRX does--just half a notch better. As expected there's more torque and more grip.

We also got to some back-to-back track testing between the 2010 and 2011 cars. Yeah, the new car does feel a bit sharper. Glad to see the new hardware showing up in the butt dyno. We didn't get a ton of laps, but the new car does have crisper handling.

Bought an earlier car? Start thinking about those stiffer springs and bars. The new control arms bolt on, too.

Any negatives? Yeah, one. The regular WRX felt wonderful during every moment of our street drive. The STI's steering, however, seemed to have a dead spot. I didn't notice it while on track, but during our street drive the STI's steering just felt a bit numb. The steering felt fine going into the turn, but once there it went a bit limp.

Supposedly the only differences between the steering setups involve the power steering pump. Or maybe our car had low tires or some other abnormality. Either way, I wouldn't confuse the STI's steering with that of a 911. Let's hope that our test car was just acting funny.

Other than that, the new STI is a winner. It does everything an STI should, and I'm glad that the sedan is back.

As a bonus, we also ran a few rally laps in the new STI. Nice to see that the car can still take a beating.

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