New look, improved performance for the road-going rally car

While power figures haven't changed, Subaru boosted the WRX and STI's performance and tech cred. And no, you still can't have it in a hatchback.

Andrew Krok Reviews Editor / Cars
Cars are Andrew's jam, as is strawberry. After spending years as a regular ol' car fanatic, he started working his way through the echelons of the automotive industry, starting out as social-media director of a small European-focused garage outside of Chicago. From there, he moved to the editorial side, penning several written features in Total 911 Magazine before becoming a full-time auto writer, first for a local Chicago outlet and then for CNET Cars.
Andrew Krok
2 min read

Hot off the heels of its all-new 2017 Impreza sedan and hatchback, Subaru has thrown a whole host of updates at the Impreza's performance variants, the WRX and WRX STI.

Both models feature light updates to the front fascia. The headlights look a bit slimmer alongside a new grille and a larger lower air dam. The higher-end WRX Limited and the STI both add LED headlights that move in conjunction with the steering wheel. All WRX and STI models now come with roof rack mounting brackets, because that's the Subaru lifestyle, yo.

The interior's been tweaked a tad, as well. Every model gets slightly nicer interior models, redesigned door grips and a remote trunk opening that works a bit faster. There's also thicker door glass and better seals for reduced cabin noise. The multi-function display is larger now at 5.9 inches, up from 4.3. The WRX Premium model features a new 7-inch infotainment screen, as well, larger the previous model's 6.2-inch unit.

Subaru updates 2018 WRX, STI with more performance, more tech

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The WRX still packs a 268-horsepower, 2.0-liter flat-four engine mated to all-wheel drive and the buyer's choice of a six-speed manual or a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The manual sports an enhanced shifter feel with a new synchro design. The suspension has been tweaked a bit, as has the electric power steering.

There's a new Performance Package available for the WRX Premium trim. It adds eight-way power Recaro seats, red brake calipers with upgraded brake pads and the moonroof is deleted to save weight. There's also a new design for the standard 18-inch alloy wheels.

As for the STI, that mamma jamma still rocks the 305-horsepower, 2.5-liter H4 from before. The STI's suspension features the same upgrades as the WRX's, but its all-wheel drive system now sports an entirely electronic limited-slip center differential. 19-inch wheels are now standard, a first for the STI. The only transmission on offer is a six-speed manual, which is the way it should be, damn it.

2018 Subaru WRX STI
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2018 Subaru WRX STI

Still no hatchback. Sigh.


While there's no new Performance Package for the STI, it comes standard with powerful Brembo brakes. The Brembos feature yellow painted calipers and a beefier six-piston setup up front. The rotors are larger than before, as well, and new brake pads should help bring this puppy to a stop in no time. Recaro seats are optional for the base model, but standard on the Limited model.

In terms of safety equipment, certain models of WRX can be optioned with Subaru EyeSight, a suite of active and passive safety systems that includes autonomous emergency braking, forward collision warning and a neat little warning that lets you know when the car ahead of you has started moving, in the event you're distracted at a red light.

The 2018 Subaru WRX and WRX STI land at dealerships this spring. The base WRX goes for $26,995, while the WRX STI starts at $36,095.

Editor's note: This article has been updated to show new pricing information for the 2018 Subaru WRX and WRX STI.