2015 subaru wrx sti reliability

2015 subaru wrx sti reliability DEFAULT

2015 Subaru WRX STI Launch Edition Long-Term Verdict Review

Laborious Yet Easy, Maddening Yet Enlightening, Painful Yet Pleasurable

Subaru WRX Full Overview

Some would call my approach to chaperoning our long-term vehicles odd and perhaps a little inappropriate. For the past year I called MT's long-term STI Launch Edition "mine," and I took the owner's mindset to heart. What would an owner do? I frequently wondered.

Ownership would go through phases, I thought. The STI would be enjoyed as it came from the factory. Its qualities endeared me from the get-go. It rumbled and shook on idle. Its muscly body and gigantic wing drew eyeballs, as did the blue paint, gold footwear, and dinner plate-sized Brembos. All of it indicated specialness.

Easily accessible and highly capable, its dynamic prowess was backed by those eye-catching looks. Seldom was there a dull drive. Once I successfully mastered the engagement of its sumo-heavy clutch and homed in on the 2.5-liter's substantial 290 lb-ft of torque, it rewarded me with immense grip and ridiculous go. The symmetrical all-wheel drive's active center differential allowed for the adjustment of torque distribution. I found that no other settings summoned the car's full fury like full auto with SI-Drive in Sport Sharp. The car's reactions at ten-tenths sharpened, and its overall athleticism felt barely hindered by electronic safety nets. It was raw and needed judicious inputs to truly master its intricacies. That isn't to say the STI was a wild handful. It could be as docile as a Forester if desired.

Our Launch Edition did not skimp on amenities. Bluetooth, auxiliary ports, stowage galore, rearview camera, and automatic dual-zone climate control came standard. One of the most impressive features were LED headlamps that cast broad and sharp beams of intense light. Some of my audiophile passengers noted the lackluster audio system. However, I didn't mind tinny tunes and the absence of turn-by-turn navigation.

Driving the STI is a laborious yet easy, maddening yet enlightening, painful yet pleasurable experience.

Everyday driving wasn't entirely complaint-free. Its looks attracted unwanted attention from street racers and law enforcement. I also exchanged friendly waves with fascinated Subaruistas. In heavy Los Angeles traffic, the clutch conjured few happy thoughts. And with a taut suspension and a boisterous exhaust, the car sapped passengers' energy on extended drives. But like Subaruistas and inquisitive police, I considered it part of the STI way of life.

As winter came, so did another ownership phase. I decided to try an all-season wheel and tire combination provided by Tire Rack. A set of bright white 18-by-8.5-inch OZ Racing Alleggerita HLT wheels and Pirelli P Zero All Season Plus tires (245/40R18) culled 4.6 pounds per corner and ratcheted up steering tactility and grip in foul weather. I went for World Rally Championship flair, and I got it. STI's optional aerodynamic kit (front lip, side skirts, rear flicks, diffuser) completed the look, and Thule's high-quality rack system augmented our car's cargo-carrying capacity. As the rain waned, my drive to tinker accelerated.

A spring-summer track day phase came next. Our friends at Autofashion USA installed Bridgestone's ultra-sticky RE-71R tires (245/40R18), Advan Racing's GT wheel (9 by 18 inches), Brembo's Sport Kit drilled rotors, Project MU's B Force brake pads, and KW Suspension's Clubsport coil-overs. The modifications transformed the little rally machine into a little rally monster. Grip, turn-in, handling predictability, and braking consistency all improved. Ride quality suffered a bit, but my very basic enhancements resulted in positive change. Validation of the changes arrived when Randy Pobst lapped the STI at Streets of Willow. "I wouldn't change a thing, Nate," Pobst said following his session. In all the miles of hard driving and lapping, the STI never overheated or threw maintenance codes.

What will the next-gen WRX STI look like? Get a sneak peek with the Impreza Sedan concept HERE.

Maintenance proved to be as easy as wringing out more sportiness. After an important 1,000-mile break-in at sub-4,000-rpm engine speeds, I visited the dealer at prescribed 6,000-mile intervals. The routine was nearly identical each visit: change five quarts of 5W-30 synthetic lube and one oil filter; check and set tire pressures (they'd rotate them if needed); and perform a multipoint inspection. Service is covered by Subaru's new car purchase agreement for the duration of the basic warranty. A recall addressing a sticking fuel door was completed, as well.

Other notable services: At around 12,000 miles, I visited two dealers on three occasions to diagnose a hard start dilemma. Come to find out, my fuel regulator failed to maintain pressure. And at 24,000 miles, technicians replaced the STI's rear differential cover due to a gasket failure (covered by warranty). One word of caution: Be sure to hand tighten your lug nuts before torqueing. I mistakenly stripped two wheel studs twice.

Our garage has welcomed a number of performance vehicles over the years, but none had a personality as audacious, involving, and versatile as that of the STI. Even our now-gone $78,000 2015 BMW M3, whose four doors, dual-clutch transmission, and low-displacement turbocharged engine made it amenable to tracks days or grocery store runs, wasn't as engaging or as comfortable as the $38,190 Launch Edition. Both, however, enjoyed free regular maintenance for the duration of their basic warranties. The STI made me work hard to play hard. I dug that. And when it was time to go to the market, I didn't have to deal with a clunky dual-clutch gearbox. I had a standard-issue rearview camera, too.

I can't remember how many times people asked me, "How do you like it?" over the course of my yearlong loan. But I do vividly recall one of my responses: "Driving the Subaru STI every day is a laborious yet easy, maddening yet enlightening, painful yet stupendously pleasurable experience. I love it."

More on our 2015 Subaru WRX STI Launch Edition:

Our Car
SERVICE LIFE 12 mo / 26,359 mi
BASE PRICE $38,190
OPTIONS None
PRICE AS TESTED $38,190
AVG ECON/CO2 20.3 mpg / 0.96 lb/mi
PROBLEM AREAS Rear differential gasket, fuel pressure regulator
MAINTENANCE COST $0 (4-oil change, inspection; 2-tire rotation)
NORMAL-WEAR COST $0
3-YEAR RESIDUAL VALUE* $22,150
RECALLS None
*Automotive Lease Guide data
2015 Subaru WRX STI (Launch Edition)
POWERTRAIN/CHASSIS
DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT Front-engine, AWD
ENGINE TYPE Turbocharged flat-4, alum block/heads
VALVETRAIN DOHC, 4 valves/cyl
DISPLACEMENT 149.9 cu in/2,457cc
COMPRESSION RATIO 8.2:1
POWER (SAE NET) 305 hp @ 6,000 rpm
TORQUE (SAE NET) 290 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm
REDLINE 6,700 rpm
WEIGHT TO POWER 11.1 lb/hp
TRANSMISSION 6-speed manual
AXLE/FINAL-DRIVE RATIO 3.90:1/2.95:1
SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, anti-roll bar
STEERING RATIO 13.0:1
TURNS LOCK-TO-LOCK 2.5
BRAKES, F;R 13.0-in vented disc; 12.4-in vented disc, ABS
WHEELS 8.5 x 18-in, forged aluminum
TIRES 245/40R18 97W Dunlop Sport Maxx RT
DIMENSIONS
WHEELBASE 104.3 in
TRACK, F/R 60.2/60.6 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 180.9 x 70.7 x 58.1 in
TURNING CIRCLE 36.0 ft
CURB WEIGHT 3,376 lb
WEIGHT DIST., F/R 59/41%
SEATING CAPACITY 5
HEADROOM, F/R 39.8/37.1 in
LEGROOM, F/R 43.3/35.4 in
SHOULDER ROOM, F/R 55.6/54.2 in
CARGO VOLUME 12.0 cu ft
TEST DATA
ACCELERATION TO MPH
0-30 1.5 sec
0-40 2.4
0-50 3.4
0-60 4.9
0-70 6.3
0-80 8.1
0-90 10.4
0-100 12.8
PASSING, 45-65 MPH 2.7
QUARTER MILE 13.4 sec @ 102.4 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 105 ft
LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.93 g (avg)
MT FIGURE EIGHT 25.2 sec @ 0.75 g (avg)
TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH 2,400 rpm
CONSUMER INFO
STABILITY/TRACTION CONTROL Yes/yes
AIRBAGS Dual front, front side, f/r curtain, driver knee
BASIC WARRANTY 3 yrs/36,000 miles
POWERTRAIN WARRANTY 5 yrs/60,000 miles
ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE 3 yrs/36,000 miles
FUEL CAPACITY 15.9 gal
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON 17/23/19 mpg
ENERGY CONS., CITY/HWY 198/147 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 1.01 lb/mile
REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/COMB 21.6/24.9/23.0 mpg
RECOMMENDED FUEL Unleaded premium
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From the April 2016 issue

It was a fitting send-off. Michigan’s late-hitting winter finally spilled a couple of inches of snow on the December day that our 2015 Subaru WRX’s odometer rolled past 40,000 miles. As the WRX slid over acres of asphalt anchoring a shuttered auto-parts factory, the flat-four engine bounced off the rev limiter, the tires and the nose pointed in opposite directions, and visions of World Rally Championship heroics flashed across our Persols.

After 40,000 miles of road trips and commutes, a blanket of snow was a welcome reminder that the WRX still shines brightest in the sloppiest conditions. It’s an easy thing to forget; the latest WRX feels more at home on the road than any of its predecessors. So we were comforted by how our final sideways fling in the rally-inspired four-door proves that, even as it grows more civilized on the road, the WRX remains true to the character that makes it distinctive.

We began our WRX rendezvous in late July 2014 with a Premium model painted Lightning Red. Subaru had rattled the faithful by announcing that there wouldn’t be a hatchback body for the fourth-generation WRX and that a continuously variable automatic transmission would be offered. We steered clear of the latter controversy by equipping our sedan with a traditional six-speed manual. The mid-level Premium trim added heated front seats and exterior mirrors, a sunroof, fog lights, and the subtlest rear spoiler ever to grace a WRX. Our only option was a $2000 navigation system paired with a nine-speaker Harman/Kardon audio system.

While the window sticker read $31,290, our WRX never felt that rich on the inside. Per Subaru tradition, the plastic industry’s hardest and glossiest stuff gets installed, building on a design theme that’s best described as generic. That’s just a quibble compared with the useless infotainment system, though. Its tiny touchscreen buttons, cryptic menu arrangements, and pixelated graphics antagonized every driver who took the wheel. There’s also no evidence that anyone on our staff successfully used the navigation system to travel from point A to B. Subaru has already addressed this for 2016 with a new head unit that brings normally sized buttons, a tuning knob, and graphics that are at least more 2008 than 1998.

ANDREW TRAHAN, MICHAEL SIMARI, STEVE SILER, ZEB SADIQ

Comfortable seats, an excellent driving position, and a sculpted steering wheel reveal Subaru’s priorities with this car. It’s important to understand that you aren’t buying luxury or even common modern conveniences with a WRX. Our car notably lacked three-blink turn signals, automatic headlights, and a trunk release on the outside of the car.

Instead, you’re buying a permanent season pass to a rowdy, grin-inducing thrill ride. Despite the adoption of electric power steering, the feel has improved. The vague on-center slop of prior WRXs is gone, and a new brake-based torque-vectoring scheme keeps understeer in check. We witnessed 0.91 g of lateral grip on the skidpad and imperturbable body control everywhere we drove. The WRX’s short-travel suspension is firm enough that you could read Braille with it, yet the staff was divided on the car’s ride quality. Some drivers praised the progressive damping that dulls harsh impacts, while the naysayers argued that the ride was simply too busy.

Rough edges are a WRX hallmark. Some owners might even argue that they’re pluses. They certainly place the WRX’s party-boy image in stark contrast with the strait-laced Volkswagen GTI. But hard ­plastics and a loud cabin are trivial sacrifices for this combination of cheap power, four-wheel drive, and juvenile fun.

ANDREW TRAHAN, MICHAEL SIMARI, STEVE SILER, ZEB SADIQ

Take the gruff, 268-hp flat-four as an example. The direct-injected engine gargles its way to redline and groans at highway speeds, yet its performance easily ­compensates for any and all NVH sins. We averaged 25 mpg during our test, beating the EPA combined figure by one. If you can stomach the thought of a redline clutch drop, the WRX will charge to 60 mph in 5.0 seconds. It’s the closest facsimile of a Porsche 911 Turbo for less than six figures.

Those hard launches might explain why our WRX’s clutch began slipping at 24,660 miles. Or maybe the clutch’s early exit was the result of a manufacturing defect. Either way, the friction disc was replaced under partial warranty, leaving us to kick in $300 of the $1200 total bill. It would be the single significant service incident in our WRX’s 17-month stay.

Smaller snafus included a burned-out headlight bulb, replaced under warranty at 38,000 miles, and a nail that forced us to prematurely replace a tire. Features editor Jeff Sabatini locked himself out of the car twice, while it was running, possibly saying more about Sabatini than the Subaru.

We also snapped three wheel studs, cracked two lug nuts, and broke a wheel’s pressure-monitoring sensor in the course of swapping between winter and summer rubber in our fledgling in-house tire shop, Deep Discount Tire. While we own full responsibility for the busted tire-pressure sensor, we always thread lug nuts by hand and tighten them with a torque wrench. The three studs were damaged at various times as we dismounted wheels, revealing mangled threads that indicated the nuts weren’t seating properly. Comforting our conscience further, the man behind our local Subaru parts counter acknowledged that broken studs weren’t uncommon.

ANDREW TRAHAN, MICHAEL SIMARI, STEVE SILER, ZEB SADIQ

Both before and after the clutch replacement, drivers logged concerns that our WRX was difficult to drive smoothly. Editors called attention to the abrupt clutch take-up, a touchy throttle, a small dose of turbo lag, and excessive driveline lash. Those traits are most apparent in city driving, where modest throttle application is met with a whiff of lag followed by a dramatic surge of thrust. It’s as if, confined by traffic and low speed limits, the WRX bristles with pent-up energy and teenage angst. We’d prescribe a more linear throttle mapping as the initial therapy.

We wouldn’t, however, recommend fixing every one of the WRX’s quirks. A nicer interior would be a luxury; a quieter cabin would make the car more livable; and, fortunately, Subaru has already addressed the biggest flaw of the 2015 model with the new infotainment unit. But we don’t want to imagine a WRX so civilized that it balks at gravel roads.

The WRX’s more charming imperfections—such as the notchy shifter, the bawdy engine, and the flinty suspension—are exactly why it stands out in the sport-compact segment. The greatest crime against the WRX would be to refine it into a buttoned-up commuter, severing the connection to its rally roots and turning it into just another small car.

ANDREW TRAHAN, MICHAEL SIMARI, STEVE SILER, ZEB SADIQ

Rants and Raves

Steve Siler: High-speed California two-lanes such as State Route 198 bring out this car’s rallying spirit like no other venue.

Tony Quiroga: I hate this heavy clutch and the limited engagement travel. It’s not at all L.A.–friendly.

Erik Johnson: I love where this sits in terms of refinement. It has just enough rough edges left to give the impression of a barely tamed animal.

Jeff Sabatini: The WRX is a four-wheel-drive beer bong. I’m happy to have outgrown its appeal, but I still have a fondness for what it represents­—eating ramen noodles all week to be able to afford going out on the weekend.

Aaron Robinson: The ratios are widely spaced in the lower gears, so it’s hard to shift fast and be smooth.

Don Sherman: What this ride lacks in radiated prestige it more than makes up in fun to drive.

Tony Quiroga: Just picked up the WRX after its new clutch. The pedal effort is reduced by more than 50 percent. What a relief.

Rusty Blackwell: You can feel every single millimeter of height variance in the road.

Mike Sutton: The stereo system’s head unit is a slow, confounding, and frustrating piece of crap.

Jennifer Harrington: Maybe I’m just too used to driving stuff like the Corvette and the Cayman, but I find the ride to be quite tolerable, actually.

WHAT WE LIKE: We remain impressed with our Subaru WRX’s highly energetic, highly accurate chassis. Contributor Steve Siler found the WRX’s natural habitat as he strafed high-speed California back roads such as Highway 25 and Highway 198. There, the Subaru flaunted its crisp steering, quick turn-in, and cornering grip that remains tenacious even on broken pavement.

Compared with the WRX of yesteryear, this latest rally machine comes with a modicum of on-road cruising comfort. The logbook reflects praise for the sound quality of the stereo and the comfy seats. Driving between California and Michigan, one of our road warriors demonstrated that this car can be quite efficient if the driver is mindful. He stretched a single tank of premium to 464 miles, averaging 32 mpg. And even if we would have preferred a WRX hatchback—which doesn’t exist in this generation—this four-door sedan does an admirable job of swallowing bulky cargo. Thanks to the large rear-door openings, we once packed two large dog crates into the back seat, with a third stashed in the trunk.

ANDREW TRAHAN, MICHAEL SIMARI, STEVE SILER, ZEB SADIQ

WHAT WE DON’T LIKE: At $31,290, our WRX Premium lacks some equipment that we expect on a car costing $5000 less. Our drivers have pointed out the absence of automatic headlights, one-touch/three-flash turn signals, and an exterior trunk release. A trio of new-to-the-WRX drivers also peppered this car’s logbook with a fresh volley of scorn and contempt for the navigation and audio head unit. We should note, however, that more-expensive trim levels include automatic headlights and an exterior trunk release paired with a proximity key. Additionally, one-touch lane-change turn signals are standard on all WRX models for 2016, and the optional touch-screen head unit in our car has been supplanted by a more modern setup.

When driven hard, the WRX’s 268-hp flat-four is a riot. But when driven in traffic, the boosted engine requires elevated concentration and a careful right foot to keep things smooth. Wide spreads between the gear ratios make it a challenge to shift without subtle bucking. At part throttle, the engine surges and jerks as it delivers power to the wheels. And acceleration practically disappears in fifth and sixth gears. By the time the WRX was due back in Michigan, senior editor Tony Quiroga was begging for our long-term Volkswagen GTI with its creamy 2.0-liter turbo.

WHAT WENT WRONG: Our Subaru’s clutch began slipping with 24,500 miles on the odometer. Maybe that was due to a faulty part, or maybe it was due to the back-to-back-to-back redline clutch drops required to extract the quickest acceleration at the test track. With the exact cause unknown, the Subaru dealer made the replacement under a partial warranty, covering 75 percent of the cost and leaving us to pick up the remaining $300. Upon completion of the work, Quiroga was relieved to find that the clutch-pedal effort had dropped significantly. “Feels like a normal Japanese car, not a big-block muscle car,” he noted. His delight was deflated within miles, though, when he picked up a nail in the left-rear tire. The damage proved unrepairable, leading us to spend another $175 to purchase and install a new Dunlop.

ANDREW TRAHAN, MICHAEL SIMARI, STEVE SILER, ZEB SADIQ

The 30,000-mile service cost us $192.18, roughly $100 more than the typical oil change and tire rotation. What was different this time around? The maintenance schedule called for a new engine air filter. While the price of $26.35 for the part seems fair, the accompanying $43.50 labor charge is almost criminal. The installation can be done in two minutes with no tools. Buy the filter from your dealer’s parts counter and swap it yourself. The owner’s manual has all the instructions you need.

WHERE WE WENT: Back in April, the WRX relocated to Los Angeles for the summer. While stationed in the City of Angels, our Subaru made excursions as far as Phoenix and San Francisco, although its longest journey was the recent return to Michigan. We heeded Quiroga’s request and sent the GTI out to California to take the Subaru’s place.

Months in Fleet: 14 months
Current Mileage: 32,883 miles Average Fuel Economy: 25 mpg
Fuel Tank Size: 15.9 gal Fuel Range: 400 miles
Service: $610 Normal Wear: $0 Repair: $300
Damage and Destruction: $175

WHAT WE LIKE: While we don’t subscribe to the popular belief that all-wheel drive is the only way to survive a Midwestern snowstorm, a Subaru WRX on a set of winter rubber is arguably the most funway to cope with Michigan’s cold season. With its 17-inch wheels wrapped in Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 tires, the WRX delivers the traction to remain in control with plenty of power to break the tires loose on demand. We’ve been slip-sliding around parking lots with giant grins frozen on our faces ever since the snow started falling consistently around the first of the year. On our commutes, we appreciate that the punchy, turbocharged flat-four engine and aggressive throttle tip-in make the car feel extremely quick off the line. On longer trips, multiple staffers have commented on the WRX’s surprising refinement. Granted, it’s a far cry from a luxury car or even a Volkswagen GTI, but relative to Subies past, the latest WRX feels grown-up and livable with comfortable seats and a calm cabin.

WHAT WE DON’T LIKE: The touch-screen head unit for the stereo and navigation system has the resolution of a Nintendo 64 and the needless complexity of a universal remote control. Most aggravating of all are the wee icons for changing the radio station on a screen that squanders far too much real estate on black voids. A few staffers have logged complaints that the stiff ride becomes tiresome after two or three hours behind the wheel, but that’s a point of contention. Others feel that the Subaru’s flat-handling, firm suspension does its job without jarring passengers.

ANDREW TRAHAN, MICHAEL SIMARI, STEVE SILER, ZEB SADIQ

WHAT WENT WRONG: Our WRX has been faultless thus far. We did visit our local dealer for the 6000-mile service, which consisted of an oil change, tire rotation, and inspection. It wasn’t cheap at $88.95 (and that was after a $12.49 discount special the dealer was running at the time), but one must bear in mind that Subaru calls for synthetic oil in the WRX.

ANDREW TRAHAN, MICHAEL SIMARI, STEVE SILER, ZEB SADIQ

WHERE WE WENT: We’ve gone from home to work and back several dozen times, and we’ve visited Michigan’s many northern getaways on weekends. To date, though, senior editor Jared Gall is the only driver who has taken our WRX on a long, out-of-state trip. Gall piloted the WRX 500 miles one-way to Aniwa, Wisconsin, so he could race six-wheeled, deuce-and-a-half military trucks around a hayfield for a story in our January issue. The races, Gall reports, are one of the few experiences that are definitively more fun than driving a Subaru WRX.

Months in Fleet: 5 months
Current Mileage: 10,361 miles Average Fuel Economy: 24 mpg
Fuel Tank Size: 15.9 gal Fuel Range: 380 miles
Service: $89 Normal Wear: $0 Repair: $0

Like any new family addition, Subaru’s rear-drive bundle of joy, the BRZ, began hogging attention before it even arrived. As a concept in 2011, the idea of a lightweight, naturally aspirated, rear-wheel-drive coupe from a company built on wagons, all-wheel drive, and turbochargers caused a stir. Then the BRZ arrived in production form with a price smack-dab on top of the WRX’s. The two-door wasn’t just hoarding the limelight. It was stealing the WRX’s lunch, breaking its toys, and taking its bedroom.

Yet the WRX is handling this new sibling rivalry with an air of maturity. Despite being sandwiched between the BRZ and the STI, the WRX shows no signs of middle-child syndrome. If anything, a little competition from below has forced the WRX to consider what it brings to the table. While the 2015 Subaru WRX features a new, direct-injected, turbocharged flat-four, it’s the newfound chassis competence that leaves the best impression. To counter the BRZ’s handling prowess, the WRX offers lively steering, confident grip, and a flat ride that rounds off the jolt on sharp impacts just so. After 40,000 miles with a BRZ, we had to know if the WRX could still assert itself as Subaru’s signature sports car, so in the interest of fairness, we’re giving this red rally rocket its own 40,000-mile opportunity to make its case.

ANDREW TRAHAN, MICHAEL SIMARI, STEVE SILER, ZEB SADIQ

Premium, But Not Upscale

We adopted a Lightning Red WRX in mid-level Premium trim, which adds fog lights, a sunroof, a subtle rear spoiler, and an all-weather package that includes heated front seats, heated mirrors, and a windshield-wiper deicer embedded in the windshield. Despite the trim name, the WRX is still marked by a typically humble Subaru interior with straightforward style and basic materials. By passing on the Limited trim, we missed out on a power driver’s seat, leather-trimmed upholstery, LED headlights, proximity entry, and push-button ignition. Our sole upgrade is a $2000 package that brings navigation and a Harman/Kardon nine-speaker stereo, raising our final price to $31,290. You’ll have to look elsewhere for a 40,000-mile review of Subaru’s first CVT installed in a WRX, because we equipped our long-termer with the standard six-speed manual—the better to enjoy a 268-hp turbocharged sports sedan.

Ready for Launch

The better to launch the WRX, too. Getting a four-wheel-drive car out of the hole quickly requires a lot of revs, or in the WRX’s case, all of the revs. With the 1000-mile break-in cleared, we spun the engine to the 6700-rpm redline and dropped the left pedal with only a whisper of clutch slip. Then we did it a dozen more times looking for the quickest acceleration time.

We used this technique—combined with short-shifting into second gear at 5300 rpm—to great effect during an earlier WRX road test, recording a 4.8-second zero-to-60 time. Yet in more than a dozen attempts, our long-termer couldn’t quite match that feat. Instead it peaked at 5.0 seconds in the run to 60 mph and 13.7 seconds through the quarter mile with a trap speed of 101 mph. Not too shabby for a $30,000 four-door, eh? The chassis numbers were equally impressive with our WRX stopping from 70 mph in 157 feet and rounding the skidpad at 0.91 g.

ANDREW TRAHAN, MICHAEL SIMARI, STEVE SILER, ZEB SADIQ

Boost From a Bygone Era

Through the first 2000 miles, our WRX has been trouble-free and well-received. Drivers have called out the excellent electric power steering (which was first perfected on the BRZ) and a more polished cockpit. You won’t mistake the interior for a Volkswagen’s, but our staff has noticed better fits, improved finishes, and a quieter ride than in previous WRXs. We are, however, disappointed to see the same small touch-screen head unit with tiny icons that’s used in the BRZ.

While the output of the turbocharged 2.0-liter flat-four—268 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque—is nothing to scoff at, power delivery is lumpy and peaky. We shift early in first gear for our testing because the power falls off above 5300 rpm. Lower in the rev range there’s a sudden surge of boost indicative of turbo lag. In an age when turbocharged engines are practically mainstream and their power curves have been smoothed out, this Subaru flat-four still drives like an R&D experiment from the early 1990s. Of course, that’s right around when the WRX was born, and Subaru’s rally-inspired road car has come a long way in that time. Whether it has the chops to keep up with younger concepts like the BRZ remains to be seen.

Months in Fleet: 1 month
Current Mileage: 2184 miles Average Fuel Economy: 24 mpg
Fuel Tank Size: 15.9 gal Fuel Range: 380 miles
Service: $0 Normal Wear: $0 Repair: $0

Specifications

VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, 4-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan

PRICE AS TESTED: $31,290 (base price: $29,290)

ENGINE TYPE: turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve flat-4, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection

Displacement: 122 cu in, 1998 cc
Power: 268 hp @ 5600 rpm
Torque: 258 lb-ft @ 2000 rpm

TRANSMISSION: 6-speed manual

DIMENSIONS:
Wheelbase: 104.3 in
Length: 180.9 in
Width: 70.7 in Height: 58.1 in
Curb weight: 3339 lb

PERFORMANCE: NEW
Zero to 60 mph: 5.0 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 13.4 sec
Zero to 130 mph: 26.5 sec
Rolling start, 5-60 mph: 6.4 sec
Top gear, 30-50 mph: 11.1 sec
Top gear, 50-70 mph: 7.8 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 13.7 sec @ 101 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 144 mph
Braking, 70-0 mph: 157 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.91 g

PERFORMANCE: 40,000 MILES
Zero to 60 mph: 5.0 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 14.1 sec
Zero to 130 mph: 29.7 sec
Rolling start, 5-60 mph: 6.5 sec
Top gear, 30-50 mph: 11.3 sec
Top gear, 50-70 mph: 7.8 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 13.8 sec @ 99 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 144 mph
Braking, 70-0 mph: 161 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.90 g

FUEL ECONOMY:
EPA city/highway: 21/28 mpg
C/D observed: 25 mpg
Unscheduled oil additions: 0 qt

WARRANTY:
3 years/36,000 miles bumper to bumper;
5 years/60,000 miles powertrain;
5 years/unlimited miles corrosion protection;
3 years/36,000 miles roadside assistance;


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Five reasons you don’t want to buy the new 2015 Subaru WRX STI

This week we got our hands on the all-newly designed 2015 Subaru WRX STI Launch Edition. It’s a performance car that isn’t for everyone. Who should buy it and who should walk away? We will attempt to answer those questions for you. We’ll take a look at what’s new for the new-generation sports car from Subaru and see what many people won’t like about it. Let’s be honest, the STI is for true performance fans and it won’t appeal to everyone. There’s five reasons you might want to walk away. But first we’ll look at what’s been upgraded on the new-generation STI.

What’s new for 2015 Subaru WRX STI?

The 2015 Subaru WRX STI gets completely redesigned inside and out. To the dismay of many fans, STI stays with the 305 horsepower and 290 pound-feet of torque 2.5-liter turbocharged four cylinder boxer engine. But the new WRX STI four-door sedan gets a longer platform, more interior room and new standard features. But it only comes in a sedan body style, so gone for now is the five-door hatch. But don’t worry, Subaru will likely bring it back in 2017.

Subaru brought the first STI to the U.S. market in 2004 and the 2015 model is light years better than the first-generation performance car. Subaru also just launched the 2015 WRX and it sets itself apart from WRX in dramatic ways. STI gets a stiffer chassis, firmer springs and quicker steering (13.0:1 ratio). The steering is still controlled hydraulically, unlike many competitors that now use electromechanical systems.

2015 Subaru WRX STI Launch Edition

This week we drove the 2015 Subaru WRX STI Launch Edition, and had it eight enjoyable days because of the holiday. Launch Edition gets the iconic WR Blue Pearl paint and gold-painted 18-inch BBS alloy wheels. It also gets a special interior featuring blue highlights and comes standard with the STI Short-Throw Shifter for the 6-speed manual gearbox. Other extras include a Keyless Access & Start system, offered as an option on WRX STI Premium and Limited models. STI Launch Edition is priced at $37,395 plus $795 destination.

New interior upgrades in 2015 Subaru WRX STI

Climbing aboard, we noticed the new thicker flat-bottomed steering wheel with integrated audio and Bluetooth, standard leather and Alcantara upholstery and new multi-information central display with 4.3-in. LCD screen. The cabin does feel roomier and the extra inch added to the wheelbase gives the driver and rear passengers more legroom. We also noticed more soft-touch materials on the dash and door trim. Upgrades over the outgoing model include standard dual-zone climate control, heated seats, satellite radio capability, rearview camera and LED headlights.

The performance-design front seats are a strong point in the STI. Normally this driver gets cramps in my right leg after driving for awhile. Probably because I have my foot buried in the gas pedal. But these STI seats are the most comfortable seats of any car I’ve driven. We spent hours in this car and my leg never cramped up once. And they kept us firmly planted in the seats during spirited driving this week.

Subaru WRX STI on the road

Ok, here is where it gets fun. We drove the new 2015 Launch Edition STI in a multitude of conditions and roads to test out the performance car. We have the privilege of living near Denver Colorado where we can test the sports car in a number of mountain and varying terrain situations. We didn’t drive the STI on the track, which would have been the ultimate test. But the Colorado terrain with its curvy mountain roads is the next best thing.

Five reasons to look elsewhere

The first reason not to buy the STI is because it comes with an extra firm suspension that was developed by STI for Rally racing. If you don’t like a stiffer ride, you might want to look at a Lexus F-Sport. STI is designed for performance fans who will likely take it to the track. It’s really the only way to experience all the potential this car offers. But with the stiffer suspension, STI also comes with incredible cornering ability. We had three opportunities to test it out.

Another reason to walk away from the STI is the rear wing. Most people think it looks gaudy, but the big wing on the back actually serves a very specific purpose. It keeps the rear wheels firmly planted on the ground at high speeds. The faster the car goes, the more downforce it provides in the rear. As we were driving the car down I-70, I noticed a Ford Mustang GT in my rearview mirror. He passed me and looked over and laughed as he flew by me. It was a curvy stretch of highway and I sped up and passed him on a twisty section and looked down as I hit 100 mph. He caught up with me after the road straightened out and gave me a thumbs up. I just smiled as I exited the Interstate.

On another section of road getting off Hampden onto C470, the off ramp has a sketchy design flaw with two tight curves and needs to be taken at 40 mph max. If you don’t, your car will end up in the ditch. As I approached the off ramp, I slowed from 70 to 65 and took the two corners at highway speeds without slowing down. The STI carved through the corners like they were nothing. This is why performance fans buy the STI. On another mountain road, we took the multiple tight corners over a three mile stretch at high speeds and the STI felt like it was on rails. It hugs the road like nothing else out there. With it’s all-wheel drive system, it’s hard to break the 245/40R18 summer performance tires free.

The third reason not to buy the 2015 Subaru WRX STI is because you will be a target for the local law enforcement. As I drove the car during the week. I noticed I was attracting the attention of the Colorado State Patrol. It seemed like there were extra speed traps that I normally don’t see during the week. It’s hard to hide the WR Blue Pearl paint, gold BBS wheels and large STI wing and we stuck out among the other cars. If you don’t like driving with a rubber neck, look else where for a performance sedan.

Reason four to stay away from the 2015 STI. It only comes with a 6-speed standard gearbox. If you are looking for an automatic, you won’t want the STI. This performance car comes with a performance clutch that’s a bit stiffer and if you don’t like to shift often, you’ll get tired quickly. If you commute to work and drive in stop and go traffic, you’ll likely get annoyed. But if you like to drive, the close ratio 6-speed gearbox is a real treat, and the STI Short-Throw Shifter in the Launch Edition is worth every penny.

Reason five? STI is a performance car and the 2.5-liter turbocharged boxer engine isn’t designed for putting around town. You will be disappointed if you are looking for a family cruiser that momma needs to drive. She won’t like the fact that the engine responds most after you get the rpm’s up. This car isn’t designed to just be driven to the grocery store. WRX STI features a rally-bred drivetrain that has deep roots in Rally racing. It’s excellent all-wheel drive handling is better suited for the track than it is getting you home in a snowstorm, although it will get you home safely. This sports car needs to be exercised regularly in order to stay happy. The worst thing that could happen, would be to get your new STI and then have to sell it because momma doesn’t like the extreme performance characteristics this car offers. It just begs to be driven fast.

Conclusion on 2015 Subaru WRX STI:

If any of these reasons hit home, you may want to look elsewhere. The 2015 Subaru WRX is a good solution for those not wanting a full-blown STI. It’s a milder version, but with all the fun of a great performance car. And it comes with a new CVT automatic for momma. You can read the full 2015 WRX review here.

But the 2015 Subaru WRX STI is a great choice for those wanting extreme performance and driving characteristics. There’s really nothing else like it except for the Lancer Evolution, and it’s going away soon. STI starts at $34,495 plus $795 destination. It’s available now in Subaru showrooms.

Sours: https://www.torquenews.com/1084/five-reasons-you-don-t-want-buy-new-2015-subaru-wrx-sti
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Subaru WRX Expert Review

Christian Seabaugh

Pros

  • Sharp new handling
  • Six-speed manual standard all-around
  • Same performance you know and love
  • How awesome the new WRX STI Launch Edition looks.

Cons

  • No hatchback or wagon body styles
  • WRX somehow looks boring compared to the old model
  • New WRX is slower than the old WRX
  • WRX STI has a carryover engine.
  • Ford Focus ST
  • Mazdaspeed3
  • Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG
  • Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X
  • Volkswagen Golf GTI/R

The Subaru WRX and Subaru WRX STI are pretty much all-new this year. No longer replete with the Impreza badge, the WRX and WRX STI are still the street-going rally-rockets you know and love, but with new sheetmetal, a new engine, and sharper steering. For the 2015 model year the Subaru WRX gets a new 2.0-liter turbocharged F-4 producing 268 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The WRX also gets a pair of new transmissions -- a six-speed manual and a CVT. The 2015 WRX STI's powertrain will look familiar to owners of the outgoing model. Its 305-hp 2.5-liter turbocharged F-4 making 290 lb-ft of torque is unchanged. A six-speed manual is the only transmission available on the WRX STI. As you'd expect, all-wheel drive is standard.

The WRX has always punched above its weight and the 2015 model is no exception. Though it's slower than the previous generation, the 2015 Subaru WRX has impressed us in testing. "Up in the canyons of Malibu, the WRX was a rocket," we wrote in our First Test of a CVT-equipped model, "The new electric steering rack is lightning-quick, and the firmed-up suspension makes the WRX corner about as flat as a BRZ - that's really where the largest difference is between the old car and new car. While the old Impreza WRX would roll, hunker down, and then power out of a corner, the new WRX just eats up each corner without a hint of roll." The new WRX would also go on to beat the Ford Focus ST in a Head 2 Head competition. The WRX STI also punches in above its weight, beating out the BMW M235i and Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG in a recent comparison. "The WRX STI is the car you drive passionately, with occasional pinches of craziness, "we wrote, "When you do, it shellacs switchbacks and then pleads for more. Its character, and the totally engrossing effect it has on its driver, is much greater than any numbers put on paper. This car is relentless and it makes you relentless, too. You have no fear in this thing, just confidence."

Some of the changes Subaru made to the 2015 WRX and WRX STI are the addition of electric power steering, standard sport seats, an all-new (and no longer embarrassing) interior, and unfortunately, the removal of the hatchback from the lineup.

Both the Subaru WRX and Subaru WRX STI are new for this year. For this model year, Subaru is offering the WRX STI Launch Edition, which comes in Subaru's legendary World Rally Blue paint, with gold wheels. Get it while you can - Subaru says the 1000 WRX STI Launch Editions are for the 2015 model year only.

Key Competitors

AWD fun starting at $20,000

Sours: https://www.motortrend.com/cars/subaru/wrx/2015/

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