Suby boys grow up
THE cap-backwards brigade regard Subaru’s performance pair — the WRX and its higher-spec STI stablemate — with a reverence normally reserved for Oprah Winfrey. The original Rex ran a boy-racer aero kit draped over a trigger-happy turbo engine. It was light, ferociously fast on boost and a lot of fun once owners had worked out the all-wheel drive.
The latest wide-body models are more refined dressers, the STI sedan’s massive rear wing aside. They’ve grown from blinged-up teens to muscular mobsters. The wheel-arch bulges give the car an aggressive look without needing ground-effect spoilers and skirts that scrape on every driveway.
But has this diluted the bang-for-your-buck entertainment that created a cult car? Has it attracted new devotees? And is the STI really half as good again as a regular Rex? CarsGuide puts them to the test.
THE WRX is $40,000; the STI another $20,000. The Rex still looks muscular and is still relative raw, though it lacks the vicious exhaust bark and burble of the early models. Put that down to tougher noise and emission standards.
The interior is comfortable, but its Impreza styling gives it an efficient look that’s too benign for this kind of car.