I'm a hatchback guy, but the new Subaru Impreza WRX STI sedan has the looks to support the 305-hp turbocharged engine. Credit most of that attitude to the huge rear wing, which doesn't bother me one bit. Vision out the back is hardly affected and the wing doesn't scream nearly as loud as the vibrant blue paint on this car.
When Subaru announced it was making changes to enhance the steering on the STI, I was expecting a wholesale revision in the tactile feedback delivered through the steering wheel. What we actually got was something much less perceptible. While firmer bushings may make turn-in quicker, the power assist still saps steering feel. The capability factor is high, but the joy is diminished by such lousy feedback.
The STI is still plenty capable of putting a smile on your face with the tenacious grip and the huge thrust that comes into play around 3500 rpm. The seats are excellent, and you have to respect a company that's still fighting the good fight by only offering a six-speed manual transmission. The same cannot be said for Mitsubishi, which would prefer to sell you on a dual-clutch gearbox. Sure, you can get a manual on the Lancer Evolution, but it requires sacrifices in what equipment you can have. While the Evo may offer more communicative steering, I'd take a three-pedal car as my first choice.
- Eric Tingwall, Associate Editor