“Should I have splurged on an STI?” It’s a question all Subaru WRX owners ask themselves at some point. We’re no exception. We’ve enjoyed our Four Seasons 2015 Subaru WRX Premium, but from the very beginning have wondered whether we should have sought those three extra letters. It came to a head when a 2016 Subaru WRX STI arrived at our office for two weeks, wearing the same shade of blue pearl paint as our car.”
Many people insist that the current (2015-2016) WRX is equal or even better than the current STI. This is mainly due to the ultra-tunability of the WRX’s FA20DIT engine, the fact that it has a broader spread of torque through it’s rev range than an STI, and the fact that it’s cheaper.
I’ve been instisting that the STI is the better car because it’s more track-tuned. No, not everyone is interested in track driving, but we’re talking about cars with rally heritage here (both the WRX and the STI shares that heritage). It’s funny that the WRX supporters appear to conveniently forget this to support their argument but it is almost always mentioned when someone compares the WRX to a FWD or RWD car.
What I love about this article is that they highlight the WRX’s street strengths (it’s torque availability across the rev range) while also showing that the STI is the better car when it comes to spirited driving (it’s edgier and those edges become a negative aspect in daily driving, but become positive once the pace increases).
On the track, that immediacy gives the STI a clear advantage. More aggressive torque vectoring helps it claw through corners more quickly, and more communicative steering lets you approach the limits of adhesion with greater confidence. “It’s a WRX with all the slop and bushings and hesitation removed,” says Holmes. Even here, however, we’re talking about the difference between good and great. We’ve taken our Four Seasons WRX to the track; it’s no slouch.
I’ve said the following many times, too:
Making a decision between them boils down to how you’ll be using your Subaru. If you plan to spend lots of time at the racetrack, figure out how to scratch together the extra $8,100 for an STI. Its superior suspension and sensitive controls simply make it a more rewarding car to drive at ten-tenths.
Both cars are great. One is less focused but great for the street, while one is track-focused and great for the track. Run either one out of their element and their weaknesses will show.
I usually frown upon articles that compare the two cars. They’re not made to compete against each other. Back in the day when there was the Ford Mustang LX 5.0 and the Ford Mustang GT, you rarely saw articles comparing the two. You didn’t see comparisons of Suzuki’s B-King and their Hayabusa, either. You don’t normally see comparisons of Dodge’s Hemi-powered Charger SRT and their non-SRT Charger. You typically don’t see the Porsche Cayman base model compared to the Cayman GTS, yet so many people get wrapped around the axle in trying to compare the STI and WRX. I don’t really get it. They’re two different cars that focus on two different markets. Buy what you want and be happy about it (without trying to justify which is better because of your subjective view).
Lastly, no, you can’t buy a WRX and tack on the parts that it lacks ($8000+) to make it equal an STI. You’ll run out of that extra $8000 in savings well before you end up with an STI equivalent…and you’ll still just have an WRX. The STI’s 6-speed alone justifies it’s higher price, but the STI is the sum of it’s parts…they’re all tuned to make the STI what it is. I DO NOT hate the WRX, but it is the base product of the product line.
Here’s a video I just found that has an opinion (I don’t really agree with ALL of it but it does mention some things I didn’t comment on) —