Subaru has its own fans especially in the rally championship and it has built a reputation on the back of years of success in World Rally Championship racing, but not long after the debut of the newest generation of the range-topping WRX STI, the company pulled out of the WRC. The reasons are many, but fans feared the ties to the company’s rally racing heritage would be severed as well. Turns out there was nothing to fear. The STI is alive and well, and it’s back as a big-winged sedan for the 2011 model year.
Appearance changes for 2011 include sharper bumper corners and blacked-out fog lights, a new grille and insert, plus on the sedan, the enormous wing. Covering essentially the entire surface of the trunk, the sedan’s wing helps the car achieve zero rear-end lift at high speeds, improving stability.
The Subaru Impreza WRX STI was already a highly optimized performance machine. Specific chassis tuning. Aluminum front lower L-arms reduce unsprung vehicle weight. Major chassis tuning changes include a lowered ride height and new pillow-ball bushings in front and stiffer bushings for the rear subframe that supports the double-wishbone suspension – these improve camber and toe stiffness.
Both the front and rear suspension systems employ higher-rate springs and thicker front and rear stabilizer bars than the 2010 model: 21 mm vs. 20 mm in front and 19 mm vs. 18 mm in rear. Spring rates have increased by 15.6 percent in front and 53 percent in the rear. The new standard 18-inch aluminum wheels feature high-luster paint and weigh 17.6 lbs. less than the previous standard wheels. The optional 18 x 8.5-in. BBS® forged aluminum-alloy wheels, which further reduce unsprung vehicle weight, are highlighted by silver high-luster paint for 2011.
The 2011 Subaru Impreza WRX STI is powered by the ultimate-performance turbocharged/intercooled 4-cylinder Boxer engine that can produced 305 horse power mated with the 6-speed manual transmission.The STI also features Multi-Mode Driver Controlled Center Differential (DCCD) version of Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive with three “Auto” modes, as well as a manual mode with six driver-selectable differential locking settings.
It is also equipped with advanced dynamic control systems, as well: the Multi-Mode Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) stability and traction control system is standard and features a track performance-optimized mode; Subaru Intelligent Drive (SI-DRIVE) technology allows the driver to tailor the car’s driving characteristics by choosing from among three selectable modes – “Intelligent,” “Sport” and “Sport Sharp” – using a rotary dial on the center console.
The standard tilt and telescopic steering wheel is a three-spoke, leather-wrapped design embossed with the STI logo and features control switches for Bluetooth® hands-free phone function. A new AM/FM stereo with single-disc CD player features Bluetooth audio streaming and hands-free calling, iPod control capability, a USB port, 3.5mm aux. input jack and XM/SIRIUS satellite radio (subscription is extra). An available navigation system integrates a vehicle information center and Bluetooth hands-free calling.
2011 SUBARU IMPREZA WRX STI SEDAN SPECIFICATIONS
Wheelbase (in): 103.3
Track (in): 60.2 front, 60.6 rear
Length/width/height (in): 180.3/ 70.7/ 57.9
Curb weight/GVWR (lb): 3,384/4,475
Front-longitudinal 2.5-liter/150-cid DOHC turbocharged H4
Power: 305 hp @ 6,000 rpm
Torque: 290 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm
Compression ratio: 8.2:1
Fuel requirement: 91 octane
Transmission: Six-speed manual
Final drive ratio: 3.90
Front: MacPherson struts with coil springs, gas-charged shock absorbers, antiroll bar
Rear: Double-wishbone with coil springs, gas-charged shock absorbers, antiroll bar
Vented discs front and rear, ABS with EBD; aluminum 245/40R-18 Dunlop SP Sport 600.
All pictures from KDI Photo Gallery (Osaka Automesse 2011)