Last year we tested the 2008 Subaru WRX and were left hoping the STI version would make up for the suburbanization of the model. Well, the 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX STI arrived in our garage and set all our worries to rest. From our first look at the STI parked in our garage, we could tell that it was a pit bull compared with the cocker spaniel-like standard WRX. The smooth sides of the standard WRX get bulked out by meaty fenders on the STI, wide enough to make room for the 245/40R18 Dunlop Sport 600 summer tires wrapped around 18 inch rims. Big Brembro brakes sit in the rims, and special vents sit behind the front fenders ready to bleed off excess heat.
Where the standard WRX we tested was the sedan, the WRX STI only comes as a hatchback--an unnecessarily bulky body for a car that should not be consigned to grocery runs. The blister-like design of the new WRX looks even worse in the hatchback STI, with its weirdly rounded back end. We weren't at all impressed with the stock stereo in our STI, but the car can be optioned up with a navigation head unit that includes Bluetooth cell phone integration and an additional 20 watts for the audio system.