It all happened rather quick. One moment I’m walking out of JCPenny with my family and the next I’m 60 miles away signing paperwork for a new 2015 Subaru WRX.
Let me explain. If you read the goodbye letter I wrote to my E46 M3 you would know that it’s time for me to move on to something else. After months of test driving and deep contemplation I circled back to what I initially thought would be the least likely candidate on my list — the new WRX.
The 2015 WRX arrived on the shores of North America months ago however the wait lists were long and availability low. Finding a WRX that wasn’t already sold just to take a look at one in person was difficult enough. Then, the question was do I want the STI… or the “lowly” WRX.
The answer to that question lay in two places. First, beneath the hood. And second, my check book. Kidding. I don’t use a check book.
Pop the hood of the WRX and you’ll see a brand new powerplant. Dubbed the FA20DIT, it’s essentially a turbo charged version of the engine found in the BRZ. Thanks to direct injection, the EPA estimates fuel economy to be in the neighborhood of 21 MPG city and 28 MPG highway. That beats the hell out of the STI’s 17/23.
But how does 268 horsepower compare to the STI’s 305? No dealer was allowing test drives of the 2015 WRX or STI without first signing paper work so unless you were a privileged journalist, or happened to own both, there was no way to compare. Luckily I just happen to have two friends with new Subies. My buddy Sam just bought an Aspen White STI and my other friend, Jason, had just picked up a World Rally Blue WRX Limited with the STI package that included STI wheels, SPT exhaust, short throw shifter and maybe a few other STI goodies.
Both the WRX and the STI are tin cans with performance drivetrains. The STI was just one performance notch above the WRX everywhere. The suspension was firmer. The shifter throws more direct. The brakes, well, they felt the same. The biggest difference I noticed was the steering feel. The STI’s tight ratio hydraulic steering rack leaves the WRX’s electronic unit feeling very light and Towncar’ish. That’s not to say the WRX’s steering is hateful — just don’t drive the two back to back and you won’t care.
Add it all up and the STI is simply more raw. More responsive throttle (not in a good way), more direct shifting feel, stiffer suspension and steering that translated every road imperfection to your finger tips. All of these are great for spirited driving or at a track but way more than anyone needs on the street. The Subaru WRX STi is most definitely a four-wheeled speeding ticket. I just sold my pet tiger. I don’t need another. Decision made.
Why did I want the performance exhaust? Quite simply because I want my WRX to sound like a WRX. The SPT exhaust returns some of the boxer rumble which was lost when Subaru chose to use an equal length rather than unequal length header design on the FA20DIT. Or maybe I’ve got that backward. Right or wrong, it’s the header design that gave previous generation WRXs that lovely deep rumble. The 2015 STI still uses the EJ series engine and therefore retains that distinctive sound.
And why did I choose the Limited trim? The 2015 Subaru WRX comes in three flavors. Standard, Premium and Limited. Being that I have a baby girl bound to make a mess, leather seats were a must for ease of cleaning spills. That puts me up to, you guessed it, the Limited trim. Besides leather, the WRX Limited further distinguishes itself with fancy LED headlights. WRX Limiteds also receive keyless entry, push-button start and a 400+ watt stereo with navigation. Wait, no it doesn’t. Those cost extra. Drat.
In case you are wondering, I paid $30,400 + TTL. Nearly every other dealership in the area wouldn’t budge below $32k + TTL for the same car. Maybe the prices will come down a bit as supply increases but I feel I got a good deal. Be sure to check out my WRX on WheelWell.com to stay up to date with all it’s modifications and build details.