X

Photos: 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX STI

The 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX STI is a blast on the right kind of road, but gets tiresome on the daily commute. Music fans will be disappointed with the stereo.

CNET Reviews staff
32876791-2-440-0.jpg
1 of 22 CNET Networks
The STI can be exhilarating or frustrating, depending on how you use it. With the engine speed above 4,000rpms on a winding road, it is fantastic, but 10 mph stop-and-go traffic is a teeth-grinding experience.
32876791-2-440-FRONT.jpg
2 of 22 CNET Networks
While the STI's grille presents a subtle band bookended by the high-intensity discharge headlights, the big scoop on the hood suggests its power.
32876791-2-440-SS01.jpg
3 of 22 CNET Networks
The engine compartment is packed with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder boxer style engine, force-fed by an intercooled turbo system. It produces 305 horsepower way up at 6,000rpm.
32876791-2-440-SIDE.jpg
4 of 22 CNET Networks
With its curved hatchback, we think the STI resembles a blister. Subaru doesn't offer an STI in a sedan body.
32876791-2-440-SS02.jpg
5 of 22 CNET Networks
The STI gets a few cues that set it apart from the standard WRX hatchback, such as the front and rear STI badges.
32876791-2-440-SS04.jpg
6 of 22 CNET Networks
The fenders gain some flair with the STI version, along with these vents to bleed heat from the big performance Brembro brake system.
32876791-2-440-SS05.jpg
7 of 22 CNET Networks
As a hatchback, the STI offers a practical and easily accessible cargo area. But we can't imagine filling it with groceries. With the STI, it's more suitable for spare tires and extra fuel tanks.
32876791-2-440-SS21.jpg
8 of 22 CNET Networks
The STI gets LED taillights along with its standard high-intensity discharge headlights.
32876791-2-440-INTERIOR.jpg
9 of 22 CNET Networks
The interior of the STI is very similar to that of the WRX, except for the STI badges and a few extra controls.
32876791-2-440-SS06.jpg
10 of 22 CNET Networks
The STI's handling is superb and requires a lot of input from the driver. A little bit of understeer gives the driver a lot to work in cornering, suitable for dirt and gravel driving where oversteer could be disastrous.
32876791-2-440-SS07.jpg
11 of 22 CNET Networks
The STI has an information pod at the top of the stack, which shows the time and fuel economy, and a double DIN stereo head unit that could be easily replaced by something with more features.
32876791-2-440-SS08.jpg
12 of 22 CNET Networks
We like that the STI gets a sixth gear, where the standard WRX only has five. But most of the real work is done in second and third.
32876791-2-440-SS09.jpg
13 of 22 CNET Networks
Most Subarus have the SI drive feature now, but the STI also gets an adjustable center differential to complement the two limited slip differentials fore and aft.
32876791-2-440-SS11.jpg
14 of 22 CNET Networks
The SI drive has three modes: Intelligent, Sport, and Sport Sharp. Intelligent mode offers slow throttle response but should save some gas.
32876791-2-440-SS13.jpg
15 of 22 CNET Networks
Here you can see the car is in Sport Sharp mode, which gives the quickest throttle response. The center differential is in automatic mode. In automatic, the car will adjust the center differential slip based on various sensors.
32876791-2-440-SS14.jpg
16 of 22 CNET Networks
You can bias the automatic center diff mode by pushing the control lever on the console up or down. If it is biased toward more slip, the car will behave better on dry, paved surfaces.
32876791-2-440-SS15.jpg
17 of 22 CNET Networks
Biasing the center diff for more lock lets the car handle slippery surfaces better, as it will keep torque distributed more evenly between the front and rear axles.
32876791-2-440-SS16.jpg
18 of 22 CNET Networks
In manual mode, you can push the control lever up to completely lock the center differential, allowing no slip, a setting appropriate for mud, slush, and gravel.
32876791-2-440-SS17.jpg
19 of 22 CNET Networks
You can also maximize the center slip in manual mode, which will give the car better control during cornering on dry surfaces.
32876791-2-440-SS18.jpg
20 of 22 CNET Networks
The stock stereo plays MP3 CDs in its six-disc changer, but doesn't show ID3 tag information. It does display file and folder names.
32876791-2-440-SS19.jpg
21 of 22 CNET Networks
We weren't impressed with the audio quality or the audio system's power. At 80 watts, we had to turn it way up to hear anything.
32876791-2-440-SS20.jpg
22 of 22 CNET Networks
There is a convenient auxiliary input jack for the stereo in the center console.

More Galleries

My Favorite Shots From the Galaxy S24 Ultra's Camera
A houseplant

My Favorite Shots From the Galaxy S24 Ultra's Camera

20 Photos
Honor's Magic V2 Foldable Is Lighter Than Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra
magic-v2-2024-foldable-1383

Honor's Magic V2 Foldable Is Lighter Than Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra

10 Photos
The Samsung Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus Looks Sweet in Aluminum
Samsung Galaxy S24

The Samsung Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus Looks Sweet in Aluminum

23 Photos
Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra Now Has a Titanium Design
The Galaxy S24 Ultra in multiple colors

Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra Now Has a Titanium Design

23 Photos
I Took 600+ Photos With the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. Look at My Favorites
img-0368.jpg

I Took 600+ Photos With the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. Look at My Favorites

34 Photos
17 Hidden iOS 17 Features and Settings on Your iPhone
Invitation for the Apple September iPhone 15 event

17 Hidden iOS 17 Features and Settings on Your iPhone

18 Photos
AI or Not AI: Can You Spot the Real Photos?
img-1599-2.jpg

AI or Not AI: Can You Spot the Real Photos?

17 Photos