The first thing I noticed about this car was the transmission. It loses the short, notchy throws of the SPT's short shifter we sampled recently. The standard WRX has smoother shift action and a less finicky shifter.
The second thing is the exhaust note--where'd it go? I understand most people don't want a ridiculous exhaust note, but come on, this is a WRX. Unlike David, I even found that the exhaust was too subdued under hard acceleration. I'll take the SPT exhaust, please.
In every other way, the standard WRX was identical to the SPT model. It has the same incredible turbo-lag that creates an on/off switch at about 3500 rpm. Under that, the car goes nowhere; above that and you'd better hold on.
Andrew Peterson, Intern