Standing Mile: 2015 Subaru WRX STI vs. 2014 Porsche Cayman

A lot changes after the quarter-mile mark. We started doing Standing Mile runs with the world’s newest, hottest cars to prove that point. Some are slow off the line but pick up steam quickly, some get out of the hole in a hurry but can’t keep truckin’ after the 60-mph mark, and some cook right from the start line and keep cooking until they cross the finish line, 5280 feet further down the runway.

An unlikely match-up that makes sense

Pitting a 2015 Subaru WRX STI against a 2014 Porsche Cayman in our Standing Mile might not make a lot of sense on the surface. Sure, both have boxer engines mated to six-speed manual transmissions, but the similarities sort of end there. The big, blue Subaru sedan with a giant rear wing has all-wheel drive, a turbo-four in the front of the car, and room for five. The low-slung Porsche sports car has rear-wheel drive, a flat-six engine in the middle of the car, and as many trunks as it has seats. But dig a bit beneath the surface, and you’ll discover that these two put down similar performance numbers, albeit in very different ways.

The snap-neck Subaru

With traction control totally turned off, we launched the 2015 Subaru WRX STI just south of its redline. Dumping the clutch in an all-wheel-drive car when its engine is screaming is a violent experience. All four tires slip, the whole car jolts forward, and you’re thrown into the back of the driver’s seat. That ferocity, though, also makes for vicious acceleration. We flew through first, second, third, and fourth gear in no time at all. Shifting into fifth, we looked at the STI’s rearview mirror and saw a small, white speck. It seemed like the Subaru would demolish the Porsche at the half-mile mark. In fifth gear, though, the STI’s forward charge slowed, and the speck in the rearview mirror got bigger.

The progressive Porsche

We did a hard launch in the Porsche, too, but the Cayman couldn’t get off the line like the Subaru. When it got going, it couldn’t match the turbocharged sedan’s brutal acceleration. Instead, it began to build speed gradually. The 2014 Porsche Cayman smoothly built speed until the gap between the Porsche and Subaru stopped growing around the half-mile mark. When the Subaru’s performance started to fall off, the Porsche continued to go faster and faster and faster.

Approaching the one-mile mark

The 2015 Subaru WRX STI saw top gear well before the one-mile mark. We shifted the 2014 Porsche Cayman in fourth gear halfway down the runway, and it stayed in fourth gear until just before the finish line when we had to upshift one last time. With every foot after the half-mile mark, the 2014 Porsche Cayman made up ground and gained on the 2015 Subaru WRX STI. As we approached the one-mile mark, we had no idea which car would win. Want to find out which one did? Watch the video below.

They are fairly matched. 275 horses and 3000 pounds versus 305 horses and 3300 pounds. I was surprised though at the Porsche launch. Am I the only one that assumed a 2014 Porsche would go faster than 14.2 in the quarter mile? Yes, I'm aware the Cayman isn't a drag oriented machine, but 70K for a 14 second car would embarrass me if I owned one.
David Rose
Just found this thread. Interesting because I just traded in my 2005 STi for a 2014 Cayman S. Loved the STi but it was getting long in the tooth, even though I don't winter drive it. Looked at the 2015 STi but , really, no horsepower upgrade after ten years when all the others are increasing? The new one isn't really any different than my '05. Never realized what a brute to drive it was until I climbed into the Cayman. Instead of always fighting the understeer the Porsche just eats up the corners effortlessly. Had to get used to really getting the revs up to get decent acceleration. Doesn't have the punch of the Subie but a truly sublime ride .Build quality there is no comparison, although in 150,000 km my Subie had no mechanical issues. Both great cars. My Cayman is very lightly optioned - no PDK ($2500) no fancy sound system ($4600) no sport exhaust ($2800) but got the 20" wheels.
Alessandro Argentino
I think the price tag on this is weird for a base model manual Cayman. Especially when I'm looking at a brand new Manual Cayman S for 67k. Oh and for the record. The sti wouldn't keep up with the Cayman on the track. It might be faster in the 1/4 mile and even on the 1 mile, but it's a a lot slower in the turns. Now when it comes to the S model, it would have passes the Subaru long before the base model did. No, I am not bashing on Subaru, both of these cars are in my top 10 list
Alessandro Argentino
Is anyone wondering how they added almost 18k to the Cayman's base price? The Cayman has a base price of $52,600. How the hell did you get this car to 70k without adding the dsg transmission? Hell even the S manual is 63,800. 
So let me get this straight... A $35,000 4 cylinder, all wheel drive, 4 door sedan that's only marginally aerodynamic, laid the smack down on a $70,000, 6 cylinder, mid engine, rear wheel drive, two door coupe that is lower and more streamline all the way to the mile mark???  I'd say that's pretty darn impressive.
Yes, I know that the Porsche was running him down at the end, but seriously, why wouldn't he? Everything about those specs indicate he should. The fact that it literally took the entire mile to make it happen though is pretty crazy. Plus the fact that $1500 bucks worth of parts would make the STI considerably faster, makes it even worse. A turbo-back exhaust and a tune would keep the Cayman a little white spec from start to finish. 
Subies are charming little things. Good job on the little "blue"-collar sports car going toe-to-toe with a velvet-gloved sports car.
Hooray!!!  I have been wondering why mags don't use standing mile in addition to the 1/4 mile.  Cars are so powerful now that the 1/4 mile is beginning to boil down to who has 4wd and automatic trans, but doesn't really reflect which car is faster in the real world.  In the "real world", if a WRX encounters a Cayman while cruising at 40 - 60 MPH on a deserted road, the Cayman would show the Subie it's taillights.  Hats off to Subaru though for punching way above its weight.
Lawrence Howard
Who cares about stock performance!.... Match the HP then u can compare!...period!!..;)
닥치고 카이맨!
Don Bot
Who cares? Apples and oranges. I'd dare to bet that these are rarely cross-shopped. Porsche is beautiful and will have better resale value. WRX is like the old moped to ride until someone sees you.
Auto Motors #LIKE and #SHARE
Lee Klein
Kind of a silly comparison, imo.
At exactly what point in the acceleration run is the Cayman a "small, white speck" in the rearview mirror of the STi?  The video definitely doesn't show that.  Yes, the Cayman was slower through the first half, but it wasn't exactly a snail, not even through the 1/4-mile.  And, the Cayman more than made up for that by the mile mark.  Same trap time, yes, but look at the Cayman's speed.  It was catching up FAST.  Doesn't matter, acceleration is only part of the equation.  I'd take a 5-year+ old Cayman over a new STi any day, regardless of how fast the STi is.  And, this wasn't a fair run.  Top of the line WRX against the base Cayman?  Do the run again with the Cayman GTS.  I'm sure the additional 65 HP would help nicely.
Tyrone Mineard
I would be mad if I owned the Porsche and would start looking for a turbo kit immediately or sell it
Keith Smith
why do you think they accelerate so quickly?, gearing. Why do they get 15mpg..gearing.
James Willich
That being said, my STi would have walked all over that Porsche, all the way to the end. Having the HP to redline 6th helps.
James Willich
Too bad the STi is an overweight, underpowered, pig. I have an '04, so I can certainly speak from experience, but every year the STi gets heavier, and the engine has stayed exactly the same.
Chris Story
Less drag.
Adam Axell Neujahr
Mitsubishi ratios aren't great either. 3000rpm in top gear (5th) at 65!
Ed Rivera Jr.
what a race! typical japanese sports car (STI, EVO) having brutal acceleration at the start and loosing on the final stretch. Nissan GTR is different, its is brutally fast from start to finish! Yet, its a day-car even non-pro can drive easily.
Chris Prather
Hey Subaru: stop putting rally gears in the STi.. 80 mph on highway in 6th at 3400 rpm... No thanks.
Craig Stishenko
Thanks for the vid. Still can't believe how ugly that Subaru is
Tory Hübler
Justin Graham
Mark Weber
I would take the Porsche on the road course.
Akshay Pathari
Akshay Pathari
Akshay Pathari
Jason Davis
Oooooooh, c'mon blue!
Alessandro Argentino
You are an idiot. A  Cayman loses more value than the sti. A new sti is 35k and one that is 2 years old will still sell for 28-32k. While the Cayman new will be around 66-70k and the resale of a 2 year old model will be around 40-45k. I don't know how you did your math, but 80-91% > 57-68%.
Alessandro Argentino
@NBCGLX Plus if you put them on a road course, the Cayman will come on top. They have done this test in the past and the Cayman is the better track car.
@NBCGLX "And, this wasn't a fair run.  Top of the line WRX against the base Cayman?"
I think the fact that it was a $35,000 car against a $70,000 car makes it more than fair.
Alessandro Argentino
Or you know, spend the extra 4k on the type s and not worry about this issue. They put the slowest Cayman up against the best STI. While it might be lighter, there is no way that 200lbs is going to account for an extra 30 hp and 80 lbs of torque. 
The STi is a rally car though. The WRX is more of their offering for those with less rally desires
@Alessandro Argentino
I think you're severely downplaying the advantages the Cayman had. Several hundred pounds less (308 to be exact, which equates to both cars having the same power/weight ratio), less drive-train loss with the mid engine/rear drive setup, and is considerably more aerodynamic. Even with the deficit of gross power, the Porsche has the advantage in terms of performance. With all that considered, the results for the STI are even more impressive. And like I said earlier, with a few simple bolt-ons for the Subaru, it wouldn't have even been a contest. 

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