The Subaru WRX STI is a car for which performance really is everything. The flamboyant rear wing, the large hood scoop, and the red STI badges stitched onto the leather seats never let you forget that you're driving Subaru's most performance-oriented vehicle. And neither does the 305-hp turbocharged engine, which tantalizes you into goosing the throttle just so you can hear its rumbling exhaust note--and leave the surrounding traffic in the dust.
The STI will never win any beauty contests, but both its front and rear ends have been subtly restyled to further enhance its sporting looks, the leather and suede seats are supportive and not unattractive, and the brushed metal pedals look very cool. I'm not a fan of the orange instrument panel gauges, but at least they have a high visibility factor.
I'm not in the target demographic for the STI, both because I'm over at least a decade older, and a different gender, than most of its buyers. Still, I can see how it entices buyers, offering its own particular brand of all-wheel-drive rally-car-like performance at a relatively affordable price.
Amy Skogstrom, Managing Editor