2013 Los Angeles - Subaru spins off WRX STi as a separate model

Since 1992, the Subaru Impreza has enthralled automotive enthusiasts around the world, plastering big, wide grins on their faces every time they sit behind the wheel. Notably, the high-performance WRX and WRX STi versions were hot favorites, offering incredible levels of grip and handling thanks to the permanent all-wheel-drive system and the perfectly-balanced chassis. After three generations of selling it as the range-topping variant of Impreza, Subaru has decided to spin off the WRX STi as a separate model sans the Impreza badge.

Subaru made it official at the Los Angeles Auto Show last month when a blazing red WRX STi set the stage on fire. Well, it actually didn't, as what most people wished was to see a car that looked close to the stunning concept version. Though there is nothing wrong with the way the new WRX STi looks, there is also nothing that stands out. It might sound disappointing, but wait. Throw in a racy blue paint job, golden alloy wheels and a huge rear spoiler and the new WRX STi would come back to look smashing.

Along with a full redesign, there are a few changes along the way. The hatchback body-style is axed and the new WRX STi will only be made as a sedan. So, that marks the demise of one of the hottest hatches we have seen. A new 2.0-liter, direct-injected, turbocharged engine sits under the hood, putting out 268 horsepower fed by a huge bonnet scoop that has now become a trademark WRX element. A 6-speed manual transmission will be joined by a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) with 6-speed and 8-speed manual modes.

What is not expected to change though is the excellent all-wheel-drive system that makes the WRX an all-weather sports car and the exceptional handling perfected over several years of rallying pedigree. With the future of its perennial rival, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo, still a mystery, the Subaru WRX STi will continue to hold the Japanese flag high in a segment that promises insane sports-car experience at a sane price level.

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