The Subaru WRX is powered by a 2.0L turbocharged horizontally opposed 4-cylinder engine. In standard WRX guise, it produces 268 horsepower, which is fed to all four wheels through a 6-speed manual transmission. The WRX STi is powered by a 2.5L turbocharged 4-cylinder that makes 305 horsepower. The STi features the same all-wheel-drive system and 6-speed manual combination that is so potent in the standard WRX. The Sport Lineartronic continuously variable automatic transmission is available on the WRX but not on the STi.
The WRX comes in three trims: Standard, Premium and Limited. Standard WRX models come with 17-inch wheels and a 6.2-inch Starlink multimedia touchscreen infotainment system, which features HD Radio, smartphone integration, a CD player, USB and iPod inputs, six speakers and Bluetooth hands-free connectivity and audio streaming. Automatic climate control, rear backup camera, tilt/telescopic steering, full power accessories and cloth sport seats with driver's 6-way manual adjustability round out the base features.
The WRX Premium comes equipped with 18-inch wheels, heated front seats and mirrors, a power glass moonroof, fog lamps and an aero package that includes a rear spoiler.
Limited trim includes everything from the Premium trim as well as a 10-way power adjustable driver's seat, leather-trimmed upholstery, and LED headlights. Subaru's EyeSight driver assist technology is available on the WRX Limited and includes active safety features like adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking and lane departure warning.
Beyond the bigger engine, the STi differentiates itself from the WRX with a more aggressive exterior, featuring a unique hood and more pronounced fender flares. The bumpers are also more aerodynamic, giving the STi the impression of a high-performance vehicle. Underneath, the STi backs up this impression with lower, stiffer springs, bigger brakes and 19-inch alloy wheels.
The STi comes loaded with features and is available in standard and Limited trims. Standard features include a 60/40 split folding rear seat, a leather wrapped flat-bottom steering wheel, a 3.5-inch LCD screen mounted in the instrument cluster and a dual-zone climate control system.
Optional across the WRX range is a navigation and Harman/Kardon audio package. A Performance Package deletes the sunroof but adds Recaro front seats, painted brake calipers and better brake pads.
Safety features include big anti-lock brakes, traction control and stability control, a host of airbags, and the confidence of Subaru's symmetrical all-wheel drive system.
In the US, we mostly know STI as the tippy-top trim of Subaru's WRX sedan. But to enthusiasts around the world, Subaru Tecnica International is highly regarded for its go-fast Subies of all shapes and sizes. It's the performance arm responsible for the absolutely legendary 22B, not to mention a bevy of other cars that'll make any Gran Turismo aficionado's face go all hearts-for-eyes emoji.
Since 2000, STI has built a series of what it calls S-line cars, beginning with the S201, and most recently including the Japan-only S208. For American Subiephiles, these limited-run S-line models have been a particularly tantalizing bit of JDM forbidden fruit. But we're finally getting in on the fun later this year, when the new S209 launches on US soil.
The S209 represents the WRX STI's most significant increase in power since its EJ25 flat-4 engine originally launched in 2004. The 2.5-liter powerplant gets stronger internal components, a larger turbocharger and a redesigned air intake. Maximum boost pressure increases from 16.2 psi in the standard car to 18.0 psi here, and in a nod to the 2004-07 WRX STI, there's an intercooler water sprayer, activated via paddles on the steering wheel.
A source told Motoring that Subaru's global AWD platform was a no-go.
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