You've gotta love a special edition car that costs less than the base model. I know Subaru stripped some features off this particular STI, but I couldn't tell you exactly which ones. That's because everything you need is still intact. I agree that the STI still doesn't provide the turn-in quickness or steering feel of a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, but the Subaru does have its strengths. For one, there are six forward gears in the manual transmission. I also like the selectable throttle mapping that creates recognizable differences in pedal response. My favorite feature, though, is the adjustable center differential; Subaru claims that the STI's all-wheel drive as one of the most advanced systems in the industry.
Contrary to Rusty's assessment, I found the clutch pedal to be extremely light. The actual pressure plate, however, seems like it's clamping with the force of Godzilla's right foot. Combined with the shifter's flip-the-switch notchiness, the STI begs you to repeat quick and sharp gear changes mile after mile. It may not be the most satisfying way to swap gears, but it sure is fun and complements the STI's blitzkrieg personality nicely. For 2011, all STIs receive suspension updates, many borrowed directly from this Special Edition car. Unfortunately, the changes aren't enough to erase the STI's woes, but it's a step in the right direction.
Eric Tingwall, Associate Editor