Ann Arbor – Subaru is finally offering an STI without the cop-magnet, boy-racer livery. The wing, the gold wheels, and the matching brake calipers are gone, as is the rally blue paint, which is replaced by a more sedate white or gray. A power moonroof, new leather seats, and additional undercarpet soundproofing–all at no charge–make the STI Limited’s cabin a bit more hospitable, but you’re reminded of the WRX’s econocar roots when road noise infiltrates.
All STI models have an updated drivetrain for 2007. The positive-feeling but slightly notchy gearbox gets new gear ratios, and a new Torsen limited-slip rear differential is standard. When you plunk yourself into the Limited’s heated buckets, you can dial up the same wicked, four-wheel-drifting hooliganism you can in the “ordinary” STI. We still wish the STI had the telepathic steering and the cohesive handling of Mitsubishi‘s Lancer Evolution, but the Subaru’s bigger-displacement four-cylinder trumps the Evo’s powerplant in power and character.
For the most part, the Limited comes off as a leather-covered, better-looking STI–but it also painfully emphasizes the age of the current WRX platform. Really, the car is little more than a way to move a few more Imprezas off dealer lots before the all-new model arrives later this year. If you want an STI to live with every day, buy an “ordinary” model with silver paint and silver wheels and hack off the wing with a Sawzall. A rally car shouldn’t have leather seats and a moonroof, anyway.