By Robert Nichols
For 2016 Subaru has added a few new features to the WRX STi which are aimed at making this road legal rally racer a more personable car to live with daily.
For the first time the WRX STi can be had with rear radar. This system grants access to Blind Spot Detection, Lane Change Assist and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.
Also new are the audio and navigation systems which will hopefully be more user friendly than the previous version.
In more news, the 2016 WRX STi still has the aging 305 hp 2.5L turbocharged flat 4 boxer engine that sends 290 lb-ft through a 6-speed manual transmission. This combination makes it possible to go from 0 – 100 km/h in under 5 seconds, if you are into that sort of thing, and if you want a WRX STi you almost certainly are.
As before the transmission is only part of how this car controls its power. The Subaru Intelligent Drive (SI DRIVE) has 3 selectable modes to regulate throttle responses and various engine controls, giving the driver more say in what the drive home will be like. The modes – Intelligent, Sport, Sport Sharp – are chosen via a rotary dial on the center console, and in a car with this much technology and capability the differences in performance will be apparent immediately.
Exclusive to the WRX STi is the multi-mode DCCD or driver controlled center differential. The system allows the driver to adjust and customize how the torque is distributed between the front and rear axles according to the weather or the mood they happen to be in.
Of course if the day was particularly taxing you may just want the car to take care of such decisions. For such times, the driver can rely on 1 of the 3 pre-programmed modes and relish in all the programmers hard work.
The system monitors sensors for the steering angle, throttle position, RPM, lateral-g, yaw, and braking to provide torque to the appropriate wheels based on the current circumstances the car is facing. In addition to the customizable center differential both the front axle and rear axle also have differentials which govern the power delivery from side to side.
But all that still left the engineers feeling they could do more. So they included active torque vectoring, which used the brake system to apply pressure to the inside front wheel while cornering to deliver more neutral handling. Now, that is sure to be enough yes? Actually no; the VDC or vehicle dynamics control, of which the torque vectoring is an enhancement, can itself be controlled. It has 3 settings VDC Normal, Traction and Off. Each subsequent choice lessens the amount of system engagement. In other words, if you want to do a bit of sideways driving, you can turn the system off and go nuts.
So while we may have been hoping Subaru would add more power, the 2016 WRX STi will still thrill you on a twisty back road but will now be easier to live with.
There are three trim levels and prices start at $37,995 and top out at $45,395 for the STi Sport Tech Package.