Model Comparison Guide: Subaru WRX vs WRX STI | Subaru
Subaru WRX vs. WRX STI: A Comprehensive Model Comparison Guide
Have you ever wondered what the difference was between the WRX and the WRX STI? Well, in many ways, they’re the same; the STI is like the WRX, but better! In a nutshell, if we had to break it down, the Subaru WRX STI offers the exact same remarkable purebred performance capabilities as the WRX, but there are race-inspired features on the interior and exterior.
It’s always important to understand the key differences between the two models. It’s like your daily coffee; do you prefer it hot or chilled? The same applies when deciding if the Subaru WRX vs. WRX STI is the car for you; do you prefer the racier additions or prefer not to have them? Fear not, for all your burning questions on the comparisons between the two, Subaru is your trusted automotive expert for all you Subaru WRX-loving enthusiasts.
Performance Comparison: Engine and Powertrain
Let’s rally into the performance comparison of the Subaru WRX and WRX STI models. The all-new WRX comes in two model specifications: the 2.4T manual model and the 2.4T ts ES CVT model. It has a 2.4-litre, 4-cylinder turbocharged, horizontally-opposed BOXER petrol engine and delivers 202 kW and 350 Nm of torque. The high-performance-based STI has been given more power over the years and has a 2.5-litre 4-cylinder turbocharged horizontally-opposed BOXER petrol engine that delivers 221 kW of power and a maximum torque of 407 Nm.
It’s important to keep in mind that specific performance figures and engine specifications may vary depending on the model year and market.
Handling and drivetrain comparison
We’re quite proud of both the WRX and the WRX STI, as they have both been built from the ground up with some of the finest and most advanced technology systems that exist. You can expect to find the clever Symmetrical All-Wheel-Drive systems in both the WRX and STI, which are responsible for unparalleled grip and control in all weather conditions.
The WRX typically comes with a sport-tuned suspension that offers a good balance between comfort and performance. Its chassis is designed to provide a stable and responsive ride, making it suitable for enthusiasts who want a sporty yet practical daily driver. The WRX STI has a more aggressive suspension setup compared to the base WRX. It features sport-tuned suspension components, including inverted front struts and stiffer springs and dampers, designed to deliver sharper handling and improved cornering capabilities.
In terms of handling, stability, and traction features, the WRX offers responsive and balanced handling, making it suitable for spirited driving on both the road and track. Meanwhile, the WRX STI is known for its sharper handling and increased stability at high speeds, which allows for more precise control and better traction.
Design and exterior features
It’s all in the details. The aesthetics of both the WRX and STI are distinct, and you can usually tell them apart. The WRX features an aggressive front fascia with a bold grille, large air intakes, and a prominent hood scoop. This design gives it a sporty and muscular appearance. It’s available as a compact sedan, which gives it a sleek and sporty profile. Some WRX models come with dual exhaust outlets on each side, giving it a performance-oriented appearance and hinting at its sporty character.
The most obvious distinction of the WRX STI is the “STI” badge, signifying the WRX STI’s higher performance level and unique features. The WRX STI is widely known for its large rear spoiler, which is more prominent than the spoiler on the standard WRX. This wing not only enhances aerodynamics but also gives the car a distinct rally-inspired appearance. In many WRX STI models, you’ll find distinctive gold Brembo brake callipers, a nod to the vehicle’s performance heritage.
The Subaru WRX and WRX STI share some similar design elements, such as the aggressive front fascia and the sedan body style, but the WRX STI distinguishes itself with its larger rear wing, gold Brembo brakes, unique wheels, and additional aerodynamic elements. These design differences reflect the WRX STI’s higher performance and rally-inspired heritage, making it stand out as a more track-focused variant compared to the standard WRX.
Interior and comfort features
The all-new WRX has a streamlined cabin design approach, with a massive improvement in passenger space. Once you climb inside the beast of a WRX, you will notice sport-style front seats with prominent side bolsters to provide additional support during spirited driving. Many WRX models come with a flat-bottomed steering wheel, which adds to the sporty feel and makes getting in and out of the car easier. Red stitching and accents are often used to highlight the sporty nature of the WRX’s interior.
The sultry WRX STI’s interior design builds upon the WRX’s sporty foundation, such as the addition of STI branding on the seats, steering wheel, and other interior components to emphasise its performance heritage. It typically includes sport-style seats with more aggressive bolstering and additional support for spirited driving. Like the WRX, the WRX STI often includes red stitching and accents throughout the cabin.
Both the WRX and STI offer seating for up to five passengers. The seats of the WRX are clad in a luxurious soft-touch Ultrasuede trim, which is both comfortable and resilient. Inside a STI, you’ll find functional racing-inspired red and black leather seats, with red seat belts to match. Both the WRX and WRX STI come equipped with dual-zone automatic climate control, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, and available heated front seats. Touching on technology, both models include Subaru’s infotainment system, which includes a touchscreen display, smartphone integration (Apple CarPlay and Android Auto), and available navigation.
Technology and infotainment
The sporty and dynamic WRX employs state-of-the-art technological features, such as Subaru’s Driving Monitoring System, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert. The WRX comes equipped with the Subaru multimedia system, which includes a touchscreen display, AM/FM radio, Bluetooth connectivity, and USB ports for device integration.
Like the WRX, the WRX STI comes with a multimedia system, providing similar features and functionalities. Some WRX STI models may offer an integrated GPS navigation system with real-time traffic updates. Higher trim levels of the WRX STI may offer a premium audio system with more speakers for an enhanced audio experience.
In terms of driver-assistance features, both models may offer a range of advanced safety technologies, including adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and more. The availability of these features can vary by trim level and package options.
Price and value comparison
The Subaru WRX is the more affordable option compared to the WRX STI. The pricing difference can vary based on factors such as trim levels, optional features, and market-specific considerations. In general, the WRX tends to have a lower starting price, making it a more accessible choice for those looking for a sporty sedan with all-wheel drive. The WRX STI, on the other hand, is the higher-performance and more expensive variant. It usually comes with a higher starting price due to its enhanced engine, performance features, and unique components.
The cost of maintenance for both the WRX and WRX STI is generally in line with other performance-oriented vehicles. Regular maintenance includes oil changes, brake pad replacements, and tyre rotations. The WRX STI may have slightly higher maintenance costs due to its higher-performance components.
Driving Experience and Enthusiast Appeal
Once you drive a Subaru WRX, you’ll never want to drive anything else, except maybe a power-hungry STI. The WRX offers brisk acceleration, thanks to its turbocharged engine. The engine provides ample low-end torque, allowing for strong off-the-line performance. Many enthusiasts appreciate that the WRX offers a manual transmission option, providing a more engaging driving experience for those who prefer to shift gears themselves.
The WRX STI boasts a more powerful turbocharged engine compared to the standard WRX. It provides robust acceleration and a higher power output. Most importantly, the WRX STI is available with a manual transmission only, appealing to enthusiasts who enjoy a more engaged driving experience.
Both the WRX and STI cars are incredible to drive and are designed for different purposes. The WRX STI targets serious performance enthusiasts who prioritise track-ready capabilities and precision handling. On the other hand, the WRX is appealing to automotive enthusiasts who want a sporty and practical daily driver with good all-weather.
When choosing between the WRX and WRX STI, consider your driving preferences, budget, and how you plan to use the vehicle. The WRX is an excellent choice for a blend of sportiness and everyday practicality, while the WRX STI caters to performance enthusiasts seeking maximum power and precision.
For personalised advice and assistance in selecting the ideal model, we encourage you to consult your local Subaru dealership. Our expert staff can provide insights, answer your questions, and help you find the perfect Subaru WRX or WRX STI that matches your needs and preferences.
Feel the power of the WRX or STI and schedule a test drive today! Visit your nearest Subaru dealership and experience these vehicles firsthand to make an informed decision about which one suits you best. Start your journey today and discover the thrill of driving a Subaru WRX or STI!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: What are the key differences between the Subaru WRX and WRX STI?
A: There are many key differences between the Subaru WRX and STI. Some of the most noticeable differences are the external and internal features, the engine and performance, as well as its pricing.
Q: Which model offers better performance: the WRX or the WRX STI?
A: The WRX STI offers better performance, mostly due to its rally-inspired nature. It has a 2.5-litre 4-cylinder turbocharged horizontally-opposed BOXER petrol engine and delivers 221 kW of power and a maximum torque of 407 Nm.
Q: Are there any significant interior differences between the WRX and WRX STI?
A: The WRX seating is designed with luxurious soft-touch Ultrasuede trim, whereas inside the STI, you’ll find functional racing-inspired red and black leather seats.
Q: How do the pricing and cost of ownership compare between the two models?
A: The Subaru WRX is the more affordable option compared to the WRX STI, as it is the more accessible choice for those looking for a sporty sedan with all-wheel drive. The WRX STI comes with a higher starting price due to its enhanced engine, performance features, and unique components.