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Subaru WRX STI gains a giant wing, dashes hatchback hopes

Aki Sugawara
January 14, 2014

Expectations were riding high when the Subaru WRX concept was unveiled last year, and enthusiasts played the sad trombone when seeing it in tepid production form at the LA Auto Show this past November. But with images leaking of the STI version ahead of its official unveiling, there weren’t too many surprises when the company showed off the higher-performance Rex at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show.

While the standard WRX saw a mild 3 horsepower increase from the previous version (to 268), the STI still delivers 305 horsepower from its 2.5-liter turbo boxer engine. As you’d expect, there’s a wing in the back, and the cast 18-inch wheels fill out the wheel wells a bit more. Subaru promises sharper and more aggressive handling compared to the standard WRX, bolstered by the torque vectoring system that can put the brakes on the inside wheels when cornering.

Slightly more notable is the launch edition, which comes with the traditional color scheme of blue sheet metal and gold wheels. Only 1000 units will be made, and aside from cosmetic differences on the outside, it also includes a factory-installed short shifter.

Subie fans wistfully hoping for a wagon or hatchback will have to keep dreaming, at least for now; the Lavorg unveiled at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show was meant to fill the role of a smaller Legacy wagon for the Japanese market (the current Legacy got too supersized for their tastes). Still, considering the much-welcomed, harder-edged dynamics of the new Rex, from a performance standpoint the STI will probably be anything but lukewarm.