Subaru Impreza WRX STi
As I write this I realise that I think I may actually be getting older. I am reviewing the ultimate boy racer for the Playstation generation and I note that my thoughts drift to issues of practicality.
This is the track day weapon of the video game infused lot. With a 0- 100 time hovering at the 5 second mark. Tea tray installed on rear spoiler. Here is the issue for me. Most STi’s are in their traditional garish blue metallic livery, not so my test unit. A tasteful pearlescent white. This has thoroughly confused me. A tasteful STi ought to be practical don’t you think? Even the wing on the car is seemingly bloated but seems subdued and really seems to belong. Even Isofix rear child restraint attachment points. See, easy to get lulled into thinking all grown up isn’t it? Even the sound system and Bluetooth are finally pleasant to use. Once you manage to pair the Bluetooth, that is. One of the most frustrating pairings I have ever attempted, and not covered at all in the owner’s handbook. You can even see backwards when reversing or in your mirror as the wing is high enough not to obscure your vision. It just keeps on lulling you into submission. More on this later.
The horizontally opposed boxer engine in this guise pushes out a heady 221Kw and 407Nm of torque from 2,5 litres of unstressed and bulletproof feeling engine which is in turn bolted to a six speed manual. There is, I must mention, a toned down version with an auto slushbox available. Why, I am not entirely sure. I am sure someone will eventually convince me about this combination at some point. The rear biased torque split and immense traction of the four wheel drivetrain makes this a nimble footed mountain pass carver. Playing with the electronically adjustable diff settings does produce some interesting results and for once easily got an adjustable car to conform to my preferences. The system has come off of my “why did they bother adding that” list.
While we are discussing that particular list, I must mention the optional performance exhaust system. I can describe this system as a noise generator. If it liberates some additional power or not, I am uncertain. What I am certain about is the exact noise it delivers. Think Vietnam era Huey helicopter. Three inches from your ear. You know that buffeting pressure you get on your eardrum when a window or sunroof is just ajar at high speed? Combine the noise and the pressure and the combination is enough to tire you out in minutes. A long slow drive with miss daisy and her great uncle as passengers delivered excellent fuel consumption and the most tiring and off-putting sound I have ever experienced in a production car. This is why track cars don’t make good everyday drivers. Oh, remember those Isofix baby seat attachments? Why did they bother when the shape of the boot opening precludes a pram being stowed?
Maybe I am just getting old?