Subaru WRX STi in the endurance test: Strengths, weaknesses & costs of the four-wheel drive (2023)

Tenacious flow of power

Problem with tire pressure monitoring system

Endurance test overall balance

The most important thing right away: In around 400 days and 51,154 kilometers of endurance testing, we didn't notice anything that stood in the way of a long-term relationship with oneSubaruWRX STI would speak. However, there is nothing that speaks specifically for him. Because no matter what angle you look at it from, there is always one that is either more comfortable, faster, cheaper or, in most cases, even has everything together.

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Sports car evolution passed WRX STI

Nevertheless, there was hardly anyone here who didn't shed at least one tear when saying goodbye, and two who seriously considered adopting FB-PR 303 at the end of its service life. The only question: Where did the affection come from? Well, certainly not from the ambience.

Subaru WRX STi in the endurance test: Strengths, weaknesses & costs of the four-wheel drive (12)

Rossen Gargolov

Subaru WRX STI with 300 hp that feel more like 250 hp.

The furnishings, with their partly brittle plastic surfaces and the CFRP imitation inserts, appear – to put it positively – robust; the driving experience is wooden, the dull rumble of the boxer engine is more noise than sound; the assistance system is reduced to blind spot indicators and a reversing camera – a high-resolution one at least; the circuit grapples, and then they have thatWRXa chassis screwed underneath that manages to be much too soft and at the same time terribly uncomfortable - especially for those who sit in the back. Within its competitive environment, one of theSubaru WRXIn any case, STI now feels like a trip to the 90s, as if the sports car evolution of the past few years had passed him by without a trace - which may be a curse, but it is also a blessing.

In the age of convenience athletes, in which the same thing is sometimes infused in green, sometimes in red and sometimes in yellow, the Subaru remains one that professes its colors. And for that we love him.

The quirkiness they cultivate at Subaru like nowhere else begins with the engine. The four-cylinder boxer gathers 2.5 liters under the air scoop. Nowadays, one usually breeds between 350 and 400 hp from this, with the WRX STI it is smooth 300, which in places, however, feels more like 250 – for various reasons. One is the aggregate itself.

Feels like a handbrake

It may be that we are all a bit infected here by the TFSI, from which the torque just gushes out. But even compared to the previous STI, those with two liters, the power is much more tenacious here. At the bottom, it inhibits the lethargy of the turbocharger, which needs a good 3,000 engine revolutions to get up. Above all, you notice the high centrifugal mass of the short-stroke engine and the noticeable internal friction of the permanent four-wheel drive, so that you actually have the constant feeling of being on the road with the handbrake slightly on be. And of course that not only puts pressure on the drive, it also weighs on the consumption balance.

(Video) Good shock vs bad shock

If you follow the shift tips on the display, i.e. hobble around in speed ranges in which the engine is about to nibble, you torment yourself down to eight point something else ranges, but as soon as you demand even a little more, the average display clicks quickly into double digits. The critical point is the 200 km/h mark. Below that, consumption is still reasonably within limits, if you cross them, all the dams break - which is primarily related to the visibly and audibly unfavorable air resistance. Over the full distance, the WRX consumes 12.6 liters on average, mind you from the good soup. That's 1.8 liters more than our S3 Sportback once pulled in, and one reason why the range of motion remained rather limited.

Audi S3 Sportback 2.0 TFSI Quattro in the test100,000 kilometers in the compact sports carread more

Twice he was allowed to take photos in the high mountains, and he did the rest of his workload in scheduled services. Hockenheim, the suburbs of Stuttgart and from time to time to the Franconian region, where colleagues Domes and Helmreich go home on weekends. Not the big wide world, admittedly, but a small, ideal one. In total, there are only a handful of comments containing criticism in four boarding cards with 274 entries. And not even half of it is substantial. Most relate to the touchscreen infotainment, which takes some getting used to. It kept forgetting the stored radio stations, transmitted Bluetooth phone calls in extremely poor quality and tyrannized us - quite funny in retrospect - for weeks with mysterious acoustic signals, which ultimately turned out to be turn requests from forgotten route guidance - and were nothing more than a classic user error.

Problem with tire pressure monitoring system

The Subaru WRX STI is really to blame for only one small thing in the long-term test, one that, however, resulted in something bigger. Trigger: the tire pressure monitoring system and the associated sensors. Both were at war with each other from the beginning of the test. Sometimes the pressure could not be saved, sometimes it reset itself for dubious reasons. As a result, the sensors were reconnected twice in the workshop and finally replaced. After that it was quiet until one day the flat tire warning started flashing again. First thought: oh yes, the old game. Too bad that this time it actually warned of a flat tire. A good 160, long links at AK Feuchtwangen/Crailsheim, and then it was suddenly out, the air out of the right front tire. Nothing happened, apart from the son's whistle for a missed lantern parade, but from then on there was always a slightly uneasy feeling, especially when driving briskly.

Subaru WRX STi in the endurance test: Strengths, weaknesses & costs of the four-wheel drive (14)

Achim Hartmann

(Video) Subaru WRX STI vs. Audi S3 | What's The Better Enthusiast Daily Driver?

The WRX STI wants to be driven at high speed to bring atmosphere into the booth.

And the WRX STI is already fast despite its gnarled nature - much faster even than it feels at first glance. The bottom line: The Subaru is not a car that ignites its own dynamics. When you give in, you first think: My goodness, what a tired dog. The steering wears out in curves, the chassis buckles, and when accelerating out, the engine doesn't get out of the quark.

However, as soon as you fight against the tired musculoskeletal system and don't let yourself be lulled by the slack motor muscles, something like agility actually comes to the fore. The condition: drive at high speed. Always. This is the only way to keep the charger running and give the all-wheel drive enough power to ratchet the 1,534 kilos around the corner via its differentials. The lower the coefficient of friction, the more obvious it is how well this works. Even in the wet, no one can fool the WRX, on gravel or snow there is nothing comparable since the Evo was discontinued.

Nevertheless, it sells completely below value - or more precisely: It is sold below value in this country. There are serious technical differences between the EU version and the one that Subaru sells in Japan.

Instead of the local 2.5-liter antique, a state-of-the-art Zwonull with forged innards and twin instead of monoscroll turbocharging has been used there for some time, which should be a completely different house number in terms of response, power development and revving ability.

When and if the unit will come to us is written in the stars. In any case, it would be about time. Because if its resilience against the mainstream is what makes the WRX so appealing, then at some point it will sink into insignificance - with all love.

Endurance test overall balance

  • Endurance test start: 2,563 km
  • End of endurance test: 53,717 km
  • Kilometers driven: 51,154 km
  • Total fuel consumption: 6,429 liters
  • Minimum consumption: 9.2 liters/100 km
  • Maximum consumption: 24.3 liters/100 km
  • Average consumption: 12.6 liters/100 km
  • Oil consumption outside of the inspections: 3.1 liters
  • Base price 2015: 41,900 euros
  • Extras: Sport model 3,300 euros, paint finish WR Blue Pearl 590 euros
  • Test car price 2015: 45,790 euros
  • Estimated price at the end of the endurance test (Dekra): 23,300 euros
  • Depreciation: 22,490 euros
  • Base price 2017: 41,550 euros

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Subaru WRX STi in the endurance test: Strengths, weaknesses & costs of the four-wheel drive? ›

The model's known weak points include pistons, rods, piston rings, and rod bearings. Owners have also complained of turbo issues with newer WRX models, Tuning Pro reports. Still, it doesn't mean older models don't face the same problems. Turbo technology has had a long, arduous journey in the past decade.

What are the weaknesses of the WRX? ›

The model's known weak points include pistons, rods, piston rings, and rod bearings. Owners have also complained of turbo issues with newer WRX models, Tuning Pro reports. Still, it doesn't mean older models don't face the same problems. Turbo technology has had a long, arduous journey in the past decade.

Is WRX STI good for daily drive? ›

The manual transmission, old-school turbo, and hydraulic steering are all wonderful - but the STI is simply outgunned when it comes to being an everyday driver. If you can find an example from 2015 or earlier, that has been meticulously maintained, go for it.

Is Subaru STI 4 wheel drive? ›

In fact, the STI's finicky turbocharged flat-four cylinder engine and firm suspension can startle even ardent driving enthusiasts. However, its tenacious all-wheel-drive system and manual-only transmission are notable hallmarks of the sporty Subaru sedan.

What is good about Subaru WRX STI? ›

The WRX STi features seven airbags, while the four-wheel-drive system adds confidence in wet weather. It uses advanced electronics and a mechanical centre diff to distribute power, so the Subaru shouldn't face too much trouble in poor conditions.

What is the most common problem with the Subaru STI? ›

Turbocharger failure has been a common problem with the Subaru STI. There are several symptoms of turbocharger failure that you may notice, including smoking from the turbocharger coming out of the exhaust, loud whining noise, or a noticeable lack of power.

Is Subaru WRX expensive to maintain? ›

The average annual repair cost for a Subaru is $617, which means it has above average ownership costs. The other factors that contribute to Subaru reliability include an average of 0.3 visits to a repair shop per year and a 13% probability of a repair being severe.

Is a Subaru WRX STI good on gas? ›

Even if you opt for the manual transmission (like you should), the Subie's EPA figures only improve to 19/26/22 mpg. There's no other way to put it—those numbers are pretty bad for a car of the WRX's size and power output. The 2022 WRX gets a new 2.4-liter turbo-four engine that makes 271 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque.

Can Subaru WRX STI drive in snow? ›

I own a Range Rover (Sport) and have driven a '15 or '16 WRX STI in snow as well. If the snow is much more than 8–10 inches deep, the WRX STI is going to be iffy, while the RR is literally going to be able to rise above it, up to a point. The RR also has a locking Txfr case, which makes some amount of difference.

How long do WRX STI engines last? ›

This legendary engine was essential for rally race wins and is famous for its distinguishable growl. Drivers have reported that the boxer four-cylinder can last up to 250,000 miles with proper care. On the other hand, pushing your WRX past its limits could wear out the engine at only 60,000 miles.

Why did Subaru stop making the STI? ›

Subaru Canned the New STI Because It'd Be Short-Lived

Making a new one now wouldn't make sense, a Subaru spokesperson told Road & Track. "If we designed [a new STI] now, it would have a very limited shelf life,” Subaru Director of Corporate Communications Dominick Infante said.

Is Subaru AWD better than 4WD? ›

The best SUV, therefore, from an active safety point of view is an AWD vehicle that does not require driver selection to drive all four wheels. This is because twice the level of traction is always available to get out of that difficult situation when a split second can make the difference between life and death.

Why is Subaru AWD the best? ›

Frequently Asked Questions About Subaru AWD

Subaru AWD systems are great because they can provide more consistency than other All-Wheel Drive systems by constantly engaging in power distribution instead of only when traction has been lost.

Does Subaru WRX take premium gas? ›

However, the engines found in the Subaru BRZ, the Subaru WRX, and the Subaru WRX STI are built for higher compression with a powerful turbocharger -- as a result, regular fuel can be problematic in these engines. Instead, premium gas is required.

Are WRX STI engines reliable? ›

The Subaru WRX STI Reliability Rating is 2.5 out of 5.0, which ranks it 36th out of 36 for compact cars. The average annual repair cost is $758 which means it has average ownership costs.

Why is a Subaru STI so fast? ›

Why is the Subaru WRX STI so fast? The turbocharged flat-four engine is the key to the WRX STI's speed and performance. But let's dissect what that means. Because it has a turbocharged engine, the WRX STI drives exhaust back into the cylinders as it runs.

Why is the new WRX so slow? ›

"The new engine, despite being bigger than the 2.0-liter turbocharged flat-four it replaces, only makes three more horsepower and is less efficient with the manual than before. Worse, it makes the new WRX among the slowest we've ever tested, including the plucky 2002 original." Ouch!

Do Subaru WRX have transmission problems? ›

Such problems aren't hard to spot. 2022 Subaru WRX transmission problems could include shifting delays, grinding when accelerating, the car shaking on the road, or whistling noises and a burning smell coming from under the hood.

Why is Subaru stopping WRX? ›

The 2023 Subaru WRX STI is not coming to the U.S. or any global market. The greenhouse gas (GHG), zero-emissions vehicles (ZEV), and corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) are what killed the next-generation STI and why it's never coming back.

What cars can beat a WRX? ›

10 Greatest Alternatives To The Subaru WRX STI
  • 3 Infiniti Q50 3.0t AWD.
  • 4 Dodge Charger AWD. ...
  • 5 Toyota GR Yaris. Via: Toyota. ...
  • 6 Kia Stinger GT AWD. Via Kia. ...
  • 7 Mercedes-Benz A35 AMG. Mercedes-Benz. ...
  • 8 VW Golf R. Via: Volkswagen. ...
  • 9 Honda Civic Type R. Via BringaTrailer. ...
  • 10 Renault Megane RS Trophy. Via: NetCarShow.Com. ...
Mar 17, 2022


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