Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Neutral Blog & Car Reviews

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Review - Subaru WRX STi - Page 2


sti-enginePosition wise, it felt as if the driver’s seat cushion extended a little too far forward under the thighs for true comfort; fine when passengering an auto but a touch difficult to deal with in full manual mode. Otherwise, they’re snug and comfortable. Safety is covered with seven airbags, including full length curtain and knee ‘bags. The WRX STi is an enthusiast’s car. That, immediately, sets the tone for the way it drives. STi startIt’s a surprisingly light (compared to the expectation) clutch pedal but it is a sometimes difficult juggling act, balancing the pickup point versus the engine revs.

More than once the car was stalled, as the revs fell away once the clutch took a bite. The tricky centre diff also made its presence felt in the process, plus there was a noticeable groan from the front in car park manouvering.

The ultra taut suspension (increased by 39/62% front and rear) makes for a flat ride and shakes hands well with the 245/40/18 Dunlop SportMaxx rubber but is also almost intolerable on Sydney’s largely nonflat roads. Coarse chip bitumen transfers plenty of road noise and at anything above 5 km/h a ten cent piece may as well be a speed bump.

Steering feels a touch heavier than expected initially but softens and quickens up in speed either side of centre, with response at speed STi wheelpredictable and usable. A nifty feature is a kind of hill start control; if you’re on a slope, for example, at a set of traffic lights, the brakes will hold the car for a couple of seconds before disengaging, stopping the vehicle from rolling back. Subaru’s torque figues for the WRX quote revs from 2400 to 5200, however, for the STi, quotes only a figure of 4000 revs.

There’s a definite and noticeable surge from around 2500-3000 rpm and it’s within the range of 2500-4000 that the short throw gear lever and clutch become a truly synchronous unit, with revs STi night front leftbarely falling off as the next gear is engaged with a hardly noticeable pickup point from the clutch. Acceleration, when the go pedal is given its orders, is exhilerating rolling acceleration, when the turbo is spooled up, is electric.

sti-si-driveOff boost, it’s another story. Overall, it’s MOSTLY user friendly but only, really, when the car is under way. At lower speeds it jerks and judders and is quite unhappy in top gear, neccessitating a drop down to fourth. The DCCD in auto mode allows the driver to select simply more torque front or rear by flicking a switch on the centre console.

A rocker switch changes that to manual control and, on the dash, the three settings change to a half dozen steps, all the way through to a fully locked diff. The STi also has a system called Torque Vectoring, effectively a way of subtly braking the wheel on the inside of a turn to give a sharper turn in response.

Combined with the Subaru Intelligent Drive (SI Drive) system, which changes the computer’s configuration for the engine (with a subtly noticeable feeling of more go in SportSharp at the cost of economy using the Intelligent mode), it’s a rocket waiting to launch once the turbo is on boost. Through the gear acceleration is rapid, to say the least,STi night rear and startling for anyone not accustomed to turbo cars in the modern era.

With the go side sorted, some stopping is required; fabled brake company Brembo throws their hat into the ring, with black painted and STi labelled four piston callipers at the front, twins at the rear visible through the gunmetal coloured tuning fork style 18 inch alloys. Their bite is progressive and grab without jerkiness, plus haul the car down from speed, without issue, time after time.

The ABS is also configured to be a four channel system, ensuring each corner brakes for itself. Fuel economy….well, the figure quoted earlier is the combined cycle; around town it’s closer to 14.0L and that’s borne out by the figures seen.

With not far off 450 kilometres covered, the fuel gauge is nudging redline. The Wrap. The WRX STi is an enthusiast’s car. In that sentence alone, those few words speak volumes. It’s a car that has enough… well, quirks is the wrong word, but it’s as close as I can find to describe it that a driver has to be aware of them.

It’s a hard, hard ride, a low speed unfriendly clutch and a STi night fronttouch thirsty for the real world. The upside is that, as an enthusiast’s car, a properly trained driver can extract from the STi what the STi offers; a hard edged, compact sized car with bundles of grip, sensational get up and go with the confidence of being able to throw it into turns and stop when required.

sti-night-front-leftIn Premium spec and using Subaru’s online suburb driveaway price calculator, it’s a not inconsiderable $60685…that’s a fair few sheckels to outlay and over $12K more than the WRX Premium. The STi is for real, four wheel enthusiasts. But if you are, then it’s not a bad thing.

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