For over a decade now, Subaru WRX and WRX STI drivers have gotten into their cars, glanced at the ceiling, realized it was made entirely of used wet cardboard, and entirely didn’t care because the car went like hell and was stupid levels of fun. Now Subaru’s gone and made the thing even faster, but with more sound deadening and “comfort.”
And while Subaru said it “upgraded the interior materials of the car,” it hasn’t said anything about the interior roof of the car. So there’s a chance it’ll still be made out of strange-feeling sadness.
Both the WRX and the habañero-heat STI get revised suspension, which Subaru says will somehow provide the magic of both better handling and a more comfortable ride. The WRX itself also received a bit of fiddling with the transmission, with Subaru saying that they:
significantly enhanced shifter feel for the 6-speed manual transmission, with a new synchro design and reduced friction, along with smoother clutch take-up.
They also tweaked with the electric steering a bit, saying that it now features a more natural feel, which, well, we’ll see.
There’s also a new option package which gives you power seats (who cares), red paint on your brake calipers (genuinely, who the hell cares????), new brake pads (oh, okay, that’s cool I suppose) and a moonroof deletion, purely in the interest of saving weight (neat!).
Here are what those brakes look like:
The STI gets an even bigger boost though, and it’s not just the typical dimwitted carmaker idea of “shove more power in it and hope for the best,” as welcome as that normally is. No, it doesn’t get more power, but, well, I’ll just let Subaru explain it:
A comprehensive handling enhancement for the 2018 STI includes the revised suspension tuning as featured on the WRX, plus a revised DCCD AWD system, significantly upgraded brakes and this model’s first-ever 19-inch wheels. The DCCD system, which previously used a combination of mechanical and electronic center limited slip differential control, now uses electronic control for quicker and smoother response. The 19-inch alloy wheels feature a striking Y-shaped spoke design and carry 245/35R19 tires that help raise cornering performance while giving the STI an even more aggressive stance.
The yellow-painted brake calipers identify a significantly upgraded Brembo Performance Brake System that now uses stronger monoblock 6-piston calipers in front, monoblock 2-piston calipers in the rear and larger, drilled rotors all around for better heat dissipation. New brake pads provide significantly greater surface area for improved braking feel and fade resistance. The STI also offers the Recaro seats (standard on STI Limited, optional for base trim).
Here’s what those brakes look like:
But in addition to all the go-fast goodies, Subaru’s also made a deal with the devil of weight to make the cars somewhat nicer places to be, instead of the dungeons of some WRXs of years past.
There’s thicker door glass, revised door sealing and a foam-filled windshield header beam. The infotainment screen is over an inch-and-a-half bigger. The company revised the front structure of the cars, so that they’re safer. They put in an auto-hold function in.
The WRX and WRX STI are growing up, and there’s always a little bit of sadness there. I’m okay with this, though.