The more things change, the more the stay the same, right? That is how that particular saying goes, and it’s one that could easily be applied to the new 2015 Subaru WRX STI. The lines of the body have changed, the interior has received a few upgrades, and the only body style being offered is the sedan. Still, under the hood sits the familiar 2.5-liter Boxer four-cylinder engine, there’s a large wing out back, and the upgraded interior will not be confused with that of a luxury car.
So is the newest STI just a refreshed all-wheel-drive burble monkey? Sort of… but in a delightful way.
Yes, the engine is the same. The chassis, however, has been stiffened up considerably, which means the STI rolls through corners more flatly, and this means you are a quicker burble monkey through your favorite section of twists. Additionally, the upgrades to the interior bring it in line to the realm of a far more livable cabin space for daily commute purposes. An optional (standard on the Limited) Harman Kardon sound system brings delightful noise if you tire of the unequal length headers doing what they do. The flat-bottom steering wheels lends, however, keeps the sporting notions firmly in you face. That’s good though, because that is what STI buyers want.
Do they want it enough to shell out $34,495 (+ $795 D/H) for the car? I’m going to say yes, since that’s exactly what the old one cost. Should you desire the Limited version, you’ll need another four grand. The real one to get, however, is the Launch Edition, which costs $37,395, and comes only in World Rally blue paint, is shod with the delightful BBS Forged Alloy gold wheels, and gets a short-throw shift kit to boot. Subaru are only building 1,000 examples, so you’d better hurry if that is the one you want. Gold wheels won’t be an option either, so loyal Subie lovers need to raise their hands quickly.
Still, no matter which version you get, it’s certainly an amount of money best classified as More Than A Little Bit. You do wind up with a car that stares all sorts of terrain types in the face, snorts, burbles, and then attacks. The Volkswagen Golf R offers a more premium environment, and the Mitsubishi EVO is more manic. Neither of them, however, have stars in their grilles, and a combination of World Rally and Nürburgring wins in their hearts.
[Disclaimer: Subaru flew me to Northern California to check out the new WRX STI. The automaker put me up in lovely hotel, and fed me delicious food. They also had to rip my hands from the wheel to get me to leave the race track.]