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2015 Subaru WRX STI: Around the Block

Chris NelsonwriterSandon Voelkerphotographer

Have yourself declared sane before you buy a 2015 Subaru WRX STI. It's the only way friends and family will believe that voices in your head haven't smothered your good wits.

Prepare to be burned

People will make fun of the rear wing, then ask why the underbody neon lights aren't on. They'll rag on the ligneous shift linkage, hare-trigger clutch pedal, jerky slow starts, unpleasant interior materials, and stereo system that sounds like a boombox in an empty garage. They'll say you're making less rational decisions than Shia LaBeouf.

Fight the right fight

Don't debate the STI's shortcomings. Instead, fight what driving an Subaru WRX STI says about you. People will make you out to be a senseless goon, but what you really are is an automotive enthusiast that knows a good bargain. For $35,000, you get a spacious sedan with a 305-hp, turbocharged boxer engine and performance that merits a higher price. Shut off all traction systems, build the revs to 5000 rpm, and dump the clutch. The car will accelerate like a slightly turned-down 911 Turbo. It sounds like one, too.

WRC Blue paint, WRC handling

The Subaru WRX STI feels set up to go to a track day or run a rally stage at any moment. You never think you're going through turns fast enough in this car. You'll meet traction's limit but when you do, you won't go tumbleweeding—you'll do controlled four-wheel slides. The steering will get light but won't go limp, the engine will respond to each of your right foot's taps, and the blow-off valve will spit out excess air when you lift to shift gears.

Get a grip

The Subaru WRX STI is unchained without being uncontrollable. It's more polished than its predecessor, but not by much. It's the STI's performance per dollar that sells the car. If you buy an STI, your spouse or friend or Tinder buddy will look at you like you're coming through a bathroom door with an axe, but reassure them you know what you're doing. While it might not look like it, you're sane.

2015 Subaru WRX STI Launch Edition

  • Base Price: $35,290
  • Price As Tested: $38,190
  • Engine: 2.5-liter turbo flat-4
  • Power: 305 hp
  • Torque: 290 lb-ft
  • Transmission: 6-speed manual
  • Drive: 4-wheel
  • Fuel Economy: 17/23 mpg (city/highway) (mfr's est. )