When the Subaru WRX STI first debuted on these shores 14 years ago, the winged blue-and-gold wonder was unlike anything else on the road. It uniquely combined all-wheel drive, a boxer-style four-cylinder engine, and a slick rally-bred suspension – and the result was a car that let ordinary drivers feel like heroes as they sluiced through their favorite stretches of dirt and gravel two-tracks. That mission has remained unchanged even as the years have passed and competitors have come and gone. With its niche solidly locked down, the WRX STI power-slides, backfires, and bunny-hops into 2019 as the undisputed king of high-speed dirt-road hijinks.
2019 Subaru WRX STI Overview
What's New for 2019
Stronger pistons and a shorter third-gear ratio, as well as a high-performance exhaust and a retuned ECU, help improve acceleration and up total horsepower. The new Series.Gray models are limited editions for 2019 that offer bespoke paint and trim for a more distinctive appearance as well as improved, sportier suspension tuning.
Choosing Your Subaru WRX STI
The WRX STI has always been for the hardcore aspiring rally driver. Compared to the regular WRX, the STI is uncompromised in its mission to charge with fierce abandon down even the most rutted and ragged fire and service roads. It approaches this by throwing the technological gauntlet at the underside of the STI; the new-age stuff hiding behind the wheels and bodywork includes active-torque vectoring, symmetrical all-wheel drive, multi-mode vehicle dynamics control (stability control, in other words), and a center differential with multiple driver-selectable modes. Lots of words here, but they all work toward one goal: to let you gleefully hoon your Subie without getting intimate with a tree or ditch.
Power for the STI is provided by a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. In the classic Subaru idiom, the pistons are laid out in such a way that they lay flat and horizontally oppose each other – a "boxer" configuration, as it's known colloquially. For 2019, mild improvements by the way of a retuned ECU and a freer-breathing high-performance exhaust let this motor make 310 horsepower, up a grand total of five horses from 2018. Torque remains unchanged at 290 pound-feet. All STIs bolt up to a six-speed manual transmission, and no automatic is offered.
Enthusiasts cried foul when this generation of WRX and STI were released without a hatchback option. Whether or not a five-door can be expected for the next generation is still too far out for even the best clairvoyant to tell, but as of 2019, the only option for the STI is a four-door sedan.
The STI joins the BRZ in carrying the distinction of not being offered with Subaru's EyeSight active-safety package. Instead, the only notable safety feature is the Subaru StarLink safety and security suite of features. It includes SOS emergency assistance, stolen vehicle recovery, remote services functions that include diagnostic and security support, and automatic collision notification.
In a nod towards the typical STI buyer, there's a number of lifestyle accessories available. These include subwoofers, bike, ski, and kayak racks, Thule carriers, and STI-branded shift knobs and underbody trim
If you can find an unclaimed Series.Gray on the lot, snatch it up – the resale value is sure to be strong on a limited-production STI with improved suspension tuning. Otherwise, don't bother upgrading to a Limited over a base model. There's just not enough extra equipment on the Limited to merit paying another $4,800 for your 2019 Subaru WRX STI.