Subaru left us unsurprised today with the release of the new 2015 WRX STI at the 2014 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. Simply put, it's the more powerful STI version of the all-too familiar WRX, which for all intents and purposes, is a tuned Impreza.
Unlike the 2015 WRX that ditched the 2.5-liter turbocharged unit for a newer 2.0-liter force-fed boxer delivering 268hp (+3hp), the new STI continues with the larger displacement engine, which produces the same output and torque figures as before at 305 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 290 lb.-ft. at 4,000 rpm.
There's no auto-option for the STI as the 2.5-liter engine is teamed exclusively with a 6-speed manual transmission working together with the Multi-Mode Driver Controlled Center Differential (DCCD) version of Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system that uses planetary-type center differential gears with a nominal 41:59 torque split. A mechanical limited-slip type center differential supplements an electronically controlled center differential to enhance torque transfer performance.
A new feature for the STI is the Active Torque Vectoring system that is an enhancement of the Multi-Mode Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) stability and traction control system, and which can apply brake pressure to the inside front wheel to offer more neutral cornering.
Offered exclusively as a sedan (no hatchback this time folks), the STI comes with the Subaru Intelligent Drive (SI-DRIVE) powertrain management system that allows the driver to adapt the car’s driving characteristics by choosing from three selectable modes – “Intelligent,” “Sport” and “Sport Sharp” via a rotary dial on the center console. It does so by modifying the engine control module and by fine-tuning the electronic throttle control system.
Subaru also pointed out that STI's new platform offers a stiffer and more agile chassis.
Appearance-wise, the big rear wing won’t let you mistake it for an…Impreza or the WRX, unless, of course, we're not talking about stock models. You get all the usual cosmetic and aero pointers like the side skirts, hood scoop and modified bumpers.
If you want a more unique look, Subaru will offer an STI Launch Edition limited to a 1,000 units. These cars will exclusively feature the traditional WR Blue paint and gold BBS 18-inch forged alloy wheels, unique interior trim and a short-throw shifter.
Pricing and other details are to be announced.