2011 Subaru WRX STI
Considering the long list of WRC trophies that the Impreza line has racked up since hitting the rally scene in the early 1990s, it’s hard to believe that the 2011 Subaru WRX STI (like its predecessors) started out life as a regular Impreza. Of course, the WRX STI name means that the Subaru has been stuffed to the gills with rally-inspired technology, including the turbocharged 2.5-liter horizontally-opposed “Boxer” motor producing 305 horsepower and 290 foot-pounds of torque channeling power through a slick 6-speed manual transmission. Other than a healthy power output, what sets the STI apart from its lesser Impreza brethren is an advanced version of Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system with Driver Controlled Center Differential, which allows the driver to optimize the AWD front to rear power distribution for optimal handling in any conditions. The driver is also in control of the engine’s electronic throttle mapping through Subaru’s SI-Drive, which in “Sport” and “Sport Sharp” modes allow quicker throttle response for ultimate acceleration. Subaru’s has pulled the new STI lower to the tarmac, bolted up thicker front and rear stabilizer bars to reduce understeer, and fitted new wheels that save four pounds per corner. What it all adds up to is the best-handling STI ever and, as always, this Subaru is a lot of rally-bred performance for very little coin.