When the hatchback Impreza was launched in 2008, it was a bit of a styling shock to diehard Subaru fans. The saloon lines that had made the Impreza famous with the trademark spoiler stuck to the boot were gone… and in its place was a slightly dull- looking hatchback. It’s fair to say that the latest generation may not photograph too well, but see a WRX STi version come up behind you on a dual carriageway and there’s a road presence emitted by those pumped STi arches that lets you know it’s something impressive.
Being an Impreza, you’ll certainly know the handling and power are going to be more than decent. After all, with cars like Mitsubishi’s Evo for competition, Subaru couldn’t afford to take chances in that area. It’s got the same 2.5ltr turbo engine as the previous generation Impreza, and also retains the 6-speed gearbox and driver-controlled centre differential. It does have new double wishbone rear suspension, however. There’s also less overhang beyond the front and rear wheels, which is supposed to add to the Impreza’s abilities through corners, but that’s not unique to just the WRX STi.
When it comes to the tuning world they’re still a relative newcomer on these shores and there aren’t too many about (compared to previous generations anyway). Though anyone familiar with the infamous Ken Block Gymkhana videos will see how much potential this model has. Subaru and Cosworth have already produced the STi CS400, with 395bhp and a 0-62mph time of just 3.7secs. Though with a huge pricetag and a limited run of just 75 models, it’s not likely to be on your shopping list.
Most of the suspension, brake and engine enhancements on that model should prove straightforward to replicate, though. It’s worth noting that the Japanese market gets a slightly different STi to us in the UK, using the famed 2ltr STi engine rather than a 2.5ltr. These come with 304bhp as standard and some claim that the over-engineered 2ltr engine can deliver bigger power more readily than its larger sibling. Litchfield Imports even produce a special edition based on the JDM STi called the Type-20, which boasts 394bhp and 375 lb/ft. Overall, check one out and give it a drive, we think you will be impressed.
Subaru Impreza WRX STi 2008-2011 stats
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
They’ve not been around for long so pretty much all UK STis should still be within the three-year warranty. Aside from the usual checks you should make when buying a high performance turbocharged car, it’s worth noting that a number of owners have had to have short block engine replacements due to piston failure. It seems this may only be a problem with a specific batch of early models and could be down to the map on them. Subaru dealers did provide free ECU reflashes with the new software and, if the car you’re looking at has a decent aftermarket map, then there shouldn’t be a problem.
SUBARU IMPREZA WRX STI TUNING
You’ll want to wring some extra power out of the engine and a 3in exhaust, performance filter and remap can push power to the 340bhp mark. It’s worth doing and puts it on a more even keel with the FQ EVOs. Handling is a little soft in standard form and well set-up coilovers coupled to beefier 8.5x18in wheels will make the world of difference to the feel
of the car. As it’s an Impreza, the options beyond these are almost limitless with just about everything upgradeable, so you should never have money burning a hole in your pocket for long!