2016 Subaru WRX STI Premium road test and review.
Boring. Slow. Uninspiring. Those are not words to describe the 2016 Subaru WRX STI Premium.
I was fortunate enough to be given the keys to one following on from my review of the straight WRX.
With a drivetrain consisting of a six-speed manual gearbox and a 4-cylinder boxer 2.5L turbo petrol engine, the STI is like a dog on a leash just wanting to be let loose.
Acceleration is linear in Sport mode - probably the best model for regular driving but with some added grunt - however Sport # mode has an even sharper acceleration curve delivering very immediate power and on-tap throttle response.
This is all controlled by a control knob in the centre console which does the exact same thing as the steering wheel controls in other Subaru models but looks way cooler!
Remarkably, the STI has plenty more to give at the top end but I frankly ran out of road (and speed limit!).
I let a few friends sit in for joyrides and I must say it’s the first time I’ve heard grown men giggle with glee while on four wheels.
Definitely a petrol guzzler, fuel economy is high especially if you push the revs (which, let’s face it, you won’t be able to help yourself) combined with the fact it uses premium octane. The consumption came out at over 12L per 100km but dipped under after some highway driving.
More impressive than the linear power is the handling and drive experience.
Manoeuvrability is superb as well as providing a great feel for the road surface, like I could almost touch the floor with my feet, while traction is not a worry with the assuredness of being stuck to the ground.
Extremely precise and heavier steering responded to every nuance with tonnes of feel allowing me to place it into corners with confidence.
The manual shifter gates are not what I’d call smooth, being rigid, but are short and defined making for quick gear changes.
For those who are more experienced (and picky) a centre differential control is also located on the centre console which allows the driver to adjust the limited slip differential and the degree of torque distribution and AWD.
I mentioned in my review of the Subaru WRX, my colleague Joel suggested the WRX STI is liveable car not only suitable for performance. I had my doubts but as the week went on it started to grow on me.
You get used to it and the STI is just practical enough to drive everyday as long as you don’t mind the low engine note and firmer suspension which, mind you, isn’t as harsh as you’d expect and is still manageable.
Appearance-wise the WRX looks like a WRX. Beefy looking with a strong stance it’s unmistakable with the defining air intake adorning the bonnet, double exhaust and conspicuous rear spoiler.
You’d think a spoiler this size would obscure your view but from the driver’s seat the rear view fits perfectly inside the opening.
Interior fitting and layout are the same as in other Subaru’s except for the drive mode selector dial in centre console, and the turbo gauge and side camera view on the HUD.
Plush leather bucket seats are snug for driver and navigator plus the sporty red and black tone combination with red stitching and STI logo is rather befitting.
The STI Premium is the bee’s knees coming with extra features like heated seats and wing mirrors as well as 18” BBS alloy wheels boosting the price to $55,390 in addition to Premium features – sunroof, powered driver’s seat, dual zone climate control, auto dimming mirror and side view monitor.
Without all this you’re looking at under $50k for an STI though you can reduce this by removing the spoiler which will subtract $300 from the price. But why would you do that?
Satellite navigation, push button ignition and smart keyless entry make up the rest of the notable inclusions.
All up the 2016 Subaru WRX STI Premium is a solid, powerful and fun product that could still do the rounds to the shops or to work. But it’s real home is on the open road or a track. A beast has to be free after all.
NUTS and BOLTS – 2016 Subaru WRX STI Premium
Engine: 2.5L turbo petrol producing 221kW and 407Nm
Transmission: Six-speed manual
Warranty: Three years
Safety: Five stars
Price: From $55,390