If you’ve gotten interested in performance sports sedans and are looking to find something compelling while not breaking the bank, you’ll be delighted to know that Subaru has your back! The Subaru WRX was first based on the Impreza and was introduced in 1992. The WRX STI was released in 1994, but neither model was available in the U.S. until 2002. Both are incredible examples of relatively inexpensive, fun-to-drive cars, but you’re probably wondering what’s the difference between the Subaru WRX vs STI near Rio Rancho, NM.
Some cars are designed specifically with the driver in mind, but unfortunately, many of these adrenaline-inducing rides are pretty expensive. However, for under $50,000, the WRX and WRX STI are outstanding options for drivers who crave excitement in their daily drives. In many ways, they are almost identical, but there are a few significant differences between them.
The body style and interiors are very similar, and each model offers seating for five and 12 cubic feet of trunk space. They’re turbocharged, feature all-wheel drive, and are based on Subaru’s rally-race history. Both are also fun and reliable daily drivers that are fantastic on curvy roads but also easy to maneuver on city streets.
The most notable difference between these two is the actual driving experience. According to Auto Gravity, “The STI goes faster, brakes, harder, and corners flatter. It has more of everything.” They also reported that the STI has a driver-controlled center differential, which results in better acceleration and quicker steering.
The primary reason for the disparity in performance is the difference in engines. The WRX has a turbocharged, direct-injection 2.0-liter flat-four which can deliver up to 269 horsepower and 250 lb-ft of torque. The more advanced and potent STI engine boasts a 2.5-liter turbocharged direct-injection flat-four that can put out up to 310 hp and 290 lb-ft of twist.
Both engines produce quick responses, with the WRX hitting the 0-60 mph sprint in 5.4 seconds and reaching a top speed of 145 mph. The STI only takes 4.8 seconds to make the 0-60 mph ride, and it has a top speed of 155 mph. Since both cars can move really fast, they have disc brakes on all four wheels. But while the WRX has regular solid disc brakes, the more powerful STI sports huge Brembo brakes with ventilated discs, with 6-piston calipers on the front and 2-piston calipers on the back.
Also contributing to the experience is the transmission. Both models offer a 6-speed manual transmission, but the STI has a close-ratio manual, which includes limited-slip differentials on the front and rear, which allows the wheels on both sides to receive power better. The WRX also offers a 7-speed continuously variable transmission (CVT) which gives it a more linear progression of speed but takes away the “rally-car” feeling. The CVT version of the WRX is also equipped with Subaru’s EyeSight driver-assist system, giving the car more safety features.
It’s been suggested to think of the STI as a street variety of a rally car and the WRX as a family-friendly, or “domesticated,” edition of the STI. As you’d expect, there are differences in their suspensions. While they both have independent suspensions in all four corners, the WRX is sport-tuned, meaning it can take some punishment, but it’s still comfortable and absorbs most of the bumps in the road. In contrast, the STI has a high-performance tuned suspension, which means it can take MUCH more abuse and can take corners as fast as you dare, but the trade-off is a stiffer suspension that may not be comfortable enough for some.
Of course, the best way to compare the Subaru WRX vs STI near Rio Rancho, NM is to try them out yourself. Stop by 7100 Lomas Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM 87110, for a test drive of these two performance cars or any of our new and used inventory.