The WRX models, including the STI, are based on the previous-generation Impreza sedan. Power for the STI comes from a turbocharged 2.5-liter version of Subaru's trademark flat-four. A six-speed manual transmission is mandatory, as is all-wheel drive with an adjustable Torsen limited-slip rear differential. The steering rack uses traditional hydraulic assist instead of the standard WRX's electric boost, which provides better feel at the expense of a bit of engine efficiency – one among the many factors contributing to the STI's unimpressive EPA-estimated mileage ratings of 17 miles per gallon city and 22 mpg highway.
The STI is currently available in base and Limited trim levels. The standard STI includes Brembo brakes, dual-zone climate control, and an app-heavy infotainment system with a seven-inch touchscreen. The Limited adds a sunroof, navigation, an upgraded stereo, keyless ignition, and Recaro seats with eight-way power adjustment. The Type RA, an even more tightly wound STI with a number of performance tweaks and an MSRP crowding $50,000, was announced back in November; individual examples of the 500-unit production run may still be available at dealers.
The Limited may bring more features and the Type RA an extra dose of high-street-cred speed parts, but the base STI contains all the important attributes even in its most stripped-down form, making it our clear value pick:
- Model: 2018 Subaru WRX STI
- Engine: 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder
- Output: 305 hp / 290 lb-ft
- Transmission: Six-speed manual
- Drivetrain: All-wheel drive
- Fuel Economy: 17 City / 22 Hwy
- Options: n/a
- Base Price: $36,995 (including an $860 destination charge)
- Best Value Price: $36,995