Let’s not dance around the fact that we loved the 2016 Subaru WRX STI, though we never thought we wouldn’t. The latest iteration in Subaru’s 23-year-old flagship sport sedan is one amazing vehicle with the looks and audible street presence that will satisfy many car nuts.
The longer we looked at it, the more we liked the exterior design of the 2016 Subaru WRX STI – nay, came to love it – low profile hood-scoop, sleek side profile, giant trunk wing off the back and all. Not the sensuous lines of other sport sedans, the STI’s body lines are all brawn and muscle.
This beefy sedan offers the kind of ‘get outta the way’ presence craved by many. The glaring LED low-beams flank the slim grille featuring Subaru’s logo, the STI logo, and high-gloss black tidbits, setting a stark contrast to the exterior color of our test vehicle.
Subaru released the Hyper Blue paint color in 2015 for the WRX and BRZ models. And we like it. A lot. While World Rally Blue is still the STI’s deeper classic blue with a silky look, Hyper Blue is vivacious and energetic.
If this stylish sedan decked in Hyper Blue doesn’t make one fall head over heels for the STI, the engine sound will.
This turbocharged sedan puts out 303-horsepower from its 2.5L DOHC Boxer engine and 290-lb.ft. of torque. Pushing this car around corners on Northern Washington’s Highway 20 between Burlington and Winthrop was a legendarily fun time, as well it should be; the EJ257 engine has been in use in the STI since 2005, giving Subaru plenty of time to perfect it.
Connected to the powerhouse is a true manual transmission, a rare breed these days. The crisp shifts of the STI were pure tactile pleasure, the sensation driving you to push the STI harder, to shift more often, but then there’s the pesky speed limit.
What I wouldn’t give for some track time in the STI, alas, t’was not to be this time.
We peaked turbo boost at 17.3 psi, the sound of the massive snail spooling up is enough to raise the hair on the back of our necks. And it’ll probably crack a few necks as you drive around – whip lash ala STI – as the unmistakable burble of the STI rolls past.
During longer trips at highway speeds, the engine drone subsides a bit and you’re able to cruise in audible comfort. Two screens offer the information and entertainment standard in modern vehicles. The lower 7-inch touchscreen display offering access to the Subaru StarLink infotainment system featuring Bluetooth connectivity, navigation, in-car apps for Pandora and other radio services, and the ever present AM, FM, and Sirius radio connection.
Another aspect you’ll really love is the digital boost pressure gauge in upper of the two screens, letting you know when you need to push the STI further.
(More below gallery.)
The first segments of the Highway 20 drive are flat and straight, perfect radio time, whereas the latter bits are where the 2016 Subaru WRX STI came alive: corners.
You don’t even have to activate the Subaru Intelligent Drive system to have fun, but doing so makes the drive just better. The SI-Drive system allows the driver to adjust the throttle response while the driver-controlled center differential (DCCD) can customize the torque split forward or rearward for an even more sporty performance.
The occupants in the 2016 Subaru WRX STI’s backseat may not like you fiddling with the front-rear power ratio, because they are sitting on a (while spacious) bench backseat. You, however, will be snuggly tucked into your front (heated) bucket seats trimmed in grip-ey Alcantara material with nary a care in the world because bolstering quite literally has your back.
While the people in the back seat may not like that, as driver you will adore it. Especially around the wonderful slide-over-babe corners.
Of course, none of this is actually why we loved the 2016 Subaru WRX STI so much, and why we think it’s better than a base WRX.
Hiding behind summer-tire covered, black finish 18-inch BBS alloy wheels are massive Brembo brakes. These 4-piston front brakes (dual-piston rear) stop the STI dead in its tracks.
Which is exactly what is prescribed when a large buck deer pops up over the guardrail during your drive home at 9 p.m., stopping as deer do in front of vehicles.
The Brembo brakes on the 2016 Subaru WRX STI will stop you before the deer does, taking a 3,441-lb. car from speed limit to nothing in the blink of an eye; keeping you and all the occupants of your vehicle safe from impending deerification. And that’s why we love the 2016 Subaru WRX STI (and think that this is a sedan for every kind of driver).
Because while having all the go-fast, corner-better, interior entertainments, and other sport sedan embellishments are great, getting home is what matters at the end of the night.
So, is there a downside to the 2016 Subaru WRX STI? Nope, not in our books. We enjoyed the childhood dreamy looks we got from adults, we enjoyed the gas pedal fun, and we appreciated the safety of this all-wheel drive Japanese sport sedan.
If we had the $40,000 ($39,970 as driven) to throw at Subaru, we’d do so pretty quickly and not be sad about it in the least. While we’d love to have gotten this Hyper Blue rocketship on a track, we know that every owner of the 2016 WRX STI will be able to find joy and endless smiles on rural backroads, even sans break-neck speeds.
To test drive a 2016 Subaru WRX STI or it’s 2017 counterpart, please call or visit your local Subaru retailer today and check out Subaru.com for more information on the 2016 Subaru WRX STI.