Why is the STI now a hatchback?

Impreza STI is the omega of the Impreza range. It’s where the buck stops, the big dog of Imprezas. Previous versions were sedans and their buyers loved them to bits, not only because they could tune them up to ridiculous amounts of power, but for their practicality and those distinctive gold rims as well! Imprezas are born of the gruelling and punishing world of rallying where cars are tossed all over gravel, snow and tar like they were used tissue. Subaru had great successes in the rallies because of the STI, but now rivals have overtaken them utilising cars based on the hatchback concept like Ctiroen C4 and Ford Focus. So simply, Subaru needed to crack the hatch market so as to regain its top spot in rallying.

Those looks have improved

I think so as well. Look, Subarus will, for the foreseeable future, be different from the norm. To some people that means ugly, but that doesn’t necessarily mean a lot of people think these cars are hideous. In the case of the STI a lot of that heat is absorbed by its extensive use of kit; wide arches, rear diffuser, side gills, the famous bonnet scoop and rear spoiler. STI badges can be seen all over. Inside we have Recaro sports seats for maximum hugging ability, but unfortunately those of us with wider-than-average “interior sections” will find them quite uncomfortable to sit on, especially during long distances. Finish is of quality, although still feeling a bit too plasticky for my liking. The STI comes fully equipped, with a front-loading 6-CD changer, electric windows, air conditioning, sports pedals and a steering wheel gifted with grip.

I heard these things are fast

As I said before, the STI is to Subaru what M is to BMW and what AMG is to Merc. It’s made for life on the quick side and boy does it do quick! Fitted with the 2.5-litre boxer engine and Subaru All-Wheel-Drive, the STI will zoom from 0 – 100km/h in 5.18 seconds (at 1 550m altitude), which is like the old E 55 AMG or the new BMW M3 and Mercedes-Benz C 63 AMG.

Whoa! That’s quick!

That’s bloody quick mate. The 6-speed manual ‘box is till too heavy for my liking and can disturb a quick run easily if not carefully selected. But the performance times are suitably impressive. The engine has a turbocharger to harness its 221kW at 6000rpm and 407Nm at 4000rpm from, and really gets into its element just past the 3000rpm mark. So if you want to take off like Usain Bolt rev it up a bit until that point. And because of AWD, stiff suspension and other tweaks, the STI hardly ever lets go around corners. One could even say it sticks to the tar like the proverbial train on rails. Extra safety is taken care of by 6 airbags, ABS brakes (BREMBO) and ISOFIX child seat moutings.

But Subarus are not known to be fuel savers

That is not a lie. Lately though most model come with SI-Drive, a system of mapping criteria that helps drivers select the ideal driving preference of their cars, which helps them choose economy when they are not in such a hurry. I averaged a whopping 16.1-litres per 100km/h in the STI, giving me a range of about 250km from one full tank. Granted I had a lot of moments when the right foot was firmly planted on the carpet (why else does one drive an STI?), but still, 250km is not a lot drive from a tank. The normal STI driver should get about 13-litres per 100km though.

So give me the bad news

The bad news is that Subaru STI does not come standard with its gold rims anymore, they are optional. The good news is that you can buy one of these fully imported super runners for R489 000 with most of the bells and whistles. Compare this with the R662 500 or the R699 000 you have to part from for a BMW M3 sedan or a Mercedes-Benz C 63 AMG and it starts to make sense.

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