2012 Subaru Impreza WRX STI: first details and specs

Article by Christian Andrei, on October 18, 2011

Official details about Subaru’s WRX STI haven’t been released yet but insiders have said that the high-performance version of the all-new Subaru Impreza will arrive at dealerships in the summer of 2012. It’s expected to be launched about a year from now. It will appear first as a 5-door hatchback but a sedan version may follow.

Subaru is planning to enter the WRX STI in numerous motorsports events. The hatchback may soon appear at rally events while the sedan competes in touring-car races. It’s still uncertain if the U.S.-spec WRX STI will be different from the home-market version but it’s likely that both will deliver over 300 bhp.

This model will be equipped with a new version of the FB flat-4 with a turbocharger. Sources say that the 2.0-liter engine has an output of 330 bhp and 324 lb.-ft. of torque, making it 8 bhp and 12 lb.-ft. higher than the existing domestic model. Even with the added power, its fuel economy rating will still be better.

It has a price tag of about $35,000, but Subaru may bring that lower to the $30,000 mark. However, the stronger yen may make this unlikely. Akihide Takeuchi, the product general manager of the Impreza, declined to comment on the car’s progress but he said that it would be better not to have too high expectations.

For many, the Subaru Impreza WRX STI is a performance vehicle that has been fully optimized. Its chassis for example has been specifically tuned while the lower L-arms on the front, made of aluminum, help lower the unsprung weight. Going back to the chassis, some of the major changes involved lowering the ride height. It also utilizes a double-wishbone suspension made possible by having pillow-ball bushings in the front sub-frame while the rear sub-frame has the stiffer bushings. With this, both the stiffness and camber are improved.

One reason why the 2011 WRX STI remains to be a Subaru that displays ultimate performance is the 4-cylinder turbocharged/intercooled Boxer engine with output at 305 hp and the fact that it’s paired to a manual 6-speed transmission. It also has its own version of the Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive which is the Multi-Mode Driver Controlled Center Differential.

With this, the driver has access to three Auto modes plus a manual mode that allows for six selectable settings for the differential locking. Exclusive to this model though is the Brembo Performance Brake System which utilizes the 4-wheel Super Sport ventilated anti-lock disc brakes which come with the Electronic Brake-force Distribution.

Since the anti-lock system is able to independently control the braking forces that are on each of the wheels in the rear, it allows the braking ability to be optimized and thus lower the understeer especially when undergoing hard cornering.

Regarding its suspension systems, both the front and the rear make use of thicker stabilizer bars for the front and rear. Compared to the 2010 model for example, where the front measures 20 mm, the one in the 2011 WRX STI comes in at 21 mm. For the rear, it is 18 mm for the 2010 version and 19 mm for the 2011 one.

Spring rates are also higher with the front of the 2011 WRX STI getting a 15.6% increase and the rear having as much as a 53% increase. Fitted to it as standard will be the new aluminum 18-inch wheels which use high-luster paint and when compared to the previous wheels, are lighter by 17.6 pounds.

There is however the option to have the forged aluminum-alloy 18 x 8.5-in. BBS wheels that can lower the unsprung weight even further and also has the silver high-luster paint.

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