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  • Beverly Braga
    May 26, 2017

    2018 Subaru WRX STI OVERVIEW

    The Subaru WRX STI is the rally-bred, performance-oriented star of the Subaru lineup. Although once a “hot hatch,” its current sedan-only availability hasn’t slowed its step.

    What's New for 2018

    Like the 2018 WRX, the STI model is new for 2018 and receives a new front fascia design, optimized suspension tuning, and updated interior materials and features. New performance enhancements specific to the WRX STI include upgraded brakes and a revised all-wheel-drive system. Nineteen-inch wheels are available for the first time and standard on all WRX STI models as well.

    Subaru WRX STI

    Choosing Your Subaru WRX STI

    The WRX STI is powered by a turbocharged engine like its WRX sibling, but the 2.5-liter flat-four is larger, producing and more powerful, producing 305 horsepower and 290 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual is the only available transmission.

    All Subaru vehicles are equipped with standard all-wheel-drive, however, the WRX STI comes with a Driver Controlled Center Differential (DCCD) system. This allows the driver to switch between manual and automated center differential locking, which directly impacts the car's handling character. For 2018, the DCCD system will only use electronic control, for a smoother, quicker response, in place of the combination of mechanical and electronic limited slip differential control used in older models.

    Upgraded Brembo brakes are designated by yellow-painted front and rear calipers, and new brake pads offer improved braking feel and fade resistance. Also standard is Subaru Intelligent Drive, which enables three different performance modes by controlling the engine control unit and fine-tuning the throttle. It's broadly similar to every other driving mode setup on the market, offering normal, Eco, Sport, and Sport Sharp settings to adjust the STI's behavior.

    All WRX STI models receive new interior materials, rear seat armrest cup holders, redesigned door grips, and a faster remote trunk opening. Other new highlights include auto low- and high-beam height adjustment controls, Recaro performance front seats, an STI Sport Design instrument cluster, adaptive headlights, auto on/off windshield wipers, welcome lighting, and roof rack mounting brackets.

    Although the suspension is tighter and the engine is a carryover, fuel economy drops one mile per gallon on the highway. EPA estimates for the 2018 model are 17 mpg city, 22 highway, and 19 combined.

    The 2018 WRX STI is available in two trim levels:


    Starting at $36,955 (including $860 destination), the base WRX STI offers all the basic performance features listed above.

    All STI models are equipped with a quad exhaust, front and rear underspoilers, and a rear bumper with an integrated diffuser. The WRX STI further distinguishes itself with an STI-design trunk spoiler and 19-inch aluminum alloy wheels, fitted with summer performance tires.

    Other standard exterior features include heated outside mirrors with integrated turn signals, a windshield wiper de-icer, and auto on/off adaptive LED headlights.

    Interior amenities include ultrasuede/leather upholstery, heated front seats with a 6-way manual driver’s seat, a 60/40-split rear seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped shifter, dual USB ports, a seven-inch infotainment system, and a six-speaker audio system. STI-branded features include leather-wrapped, flat-bottomed tilt/telescopic steering wheels with function controls and electroluminescent sport gauges with a 3.5-inch LCD info screen.

    The base WRX STI is somewhat light on standard safety equipment – there's a rearview camera and Subaru's Starlink Safety and Security system, which includes passive features such as automatic collision notification, stolen vehicle recovery, and added services regarding roadside assistance, diagnostics, and security.

    A nameless $2,500 option package adds Recaro seats in a black-and-red color scheme, eight-way power adjustability on the driver’s seat, and push-button start


    For $41,755, the Limited model adds the Recaro sport seats, push-button start, a power sunroof, a seven-inch touchscreen navigation/infotainment system, blind spot monitoring, lane change assist, and rear cross traffic alert.

    There are no packages for the WRX STI Limited but, for no additional cost, owners can replace the STI's huge standard spoiler with a low-profile unit (it's a cleaner look, but much less fun).

    CarsDirect Tip

    Unless in-dash navigation and additional safety features are must-haves (remember this is a compact car without many blind spots), the base model is the best WRX STI to purchase. Even when adding the Recaro seats and push-button start, the MRSP price will be less than $40,000. And from a performance standpoint, features like the Limited's sunroof only add unnecessary weight.

    Get your price on a Subaru WRX STI »

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