Subaru of America, Inc. has introduced numerous upgrades to the 2016 WRX STI, the iconic performance flagship model that was all-new for 2015. The Limited trim gains new Blind Spot Detection / Rear Cross Traffic Alert with Lane Change Assist, and both trims feature new SUBARU STARLINK™ Multimedia touch-screen systems. The Series.HyperBlue WRX STI, limited to 700 units for the United States, continues Subaru’s tradition of offering special versions of its performance models.
Subaru introduced the new-generation WRX STI for 2015 featuring a new wide-body sedan design with a significantly stiffer chassis resulting in an expanded performance envelope. Offered in standard and Limited trim lines, the 2016 WRX STI is immediately recognized by its aggressive looking aerodynamic form, highlighted by the STI trademark large trunk wing. Drivers wanting a less conspicuous look can opt for a low-profile trunk spoiler that was added as a no-cost option for 2016.
Powered by a 305-horsepower 2.5-liter turbocharged/intercooled BOXER engine, the WRX STI brings rally-bred performance technology to the road with Multi-Mode Driver Controlled Center Differential (DCCD) Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive. Standard handling technologies include Active Torque Vectoring, Multi-Mode Vehicle Dynamics Control and a Brembo® Performance Brake System with Super Sport ABS.
Many know that the WRX STI won the World Rally Championship three times. More recently, Subaru expanded the WRX STI’s competition purview to include long distance road racing. While many brands tout performance-car development on Germany’s famed Nurburgring racetrack, a WRX STI won the SP 3T class in the track’s grueling 24-hour race in 2011, 2012 and again in 2015.
Series.HyperBlue WRX STI
The 2016 Series.HyperBlue WRX STI features Subaru’s exclusive Hyper Blue paint and exterior trim. Inside, the Series.HyperBlue trim brings exclusive blue stitching to the standard Alcantara® seats, leather wrapped steering wheel, manual transmission shifter boot, console as well as carpeted floor mats with the traditional Cherry Red STI logo. The Series.HyperBlue WRX STI wears 18-inch BBS® Black Alloy wheels and black badging with black painted exterior mirrors.
Features inherited from the Limited trim include the STARLINK 7.0” Multimedia Navigation system, 9 Harman Kardon® speakers and 440-watt equivalent amplifier, along with Keyless Access with Push-Button Start and PIN Code Access. Welcome Lighting, also from the Limited trim, automatically activates interior illumination and exterior lights as the driver approaches or departs the car.
SUBARU STARLINK™ Multimedia Systems
The 2016 WRX STI joins other Subaru models in offering as standard the STARLINK 6.2” Multimedia system with a 6.2-in. single-touch gesture display, AM/FM stereo with HD Radio®, SiriusXM® All Access Radio, Radio Data Broadcast System, single-disc CD player, Bluetooth® hands-free phone connectivity and audio streaming, iPod® control, iTunes® Tagging, a USB port and an auxiliary input jack. Smartphone integration features Aha™ and Pandora®, along with new STARLINK Cloud Applications including Stitcher™, Calendar, Music Player, News and Weather joining iHeart® Radio for 2016. The screen also provides the display for the standard rear vision camera and VDC display showing traction control operation.
The STARLINK 7.0” Multimedia Navigation system, which is standard for the Limited trim and optional for the base trim, comes in a package with the Harman Kardon® amplifier and 9-speaker premium sound system. To all features of STARLINK 6.2” Multimedia, this system adds navigation and a high-resolution 7-inch LCD screen featuring multi-touch gesture controls, much like a smartphone or tablet. In addition, STARLINK 7.0” Multimedia includes SMS text messaging, iTunes® tagging capability and dual USB ports and also adds SiriusXM Travel Link® and SiriusXM Traffic® (subscriptions required). Maps are upgradeable via SD card, and three years of complimentary updates are included.
STI Design Exclusively in Sedan Form
The special hood, fenders, doors and quarters, bumpers, headlights and taillight clusters convey the WRX STI identity. Narrow headlights, with standard LED low-beams, evoke a raptor’s stare. The aluminum hood integrates a functional hood scoop supplies the intercooler with fresh air.
Other performance-oriented details include fog light surrounds with a carbon fiber-like pattern and front fender vents that feature a mesh screen. A rear diffuser and LED taillights leave a distinctive signature.
Stiff Chassis for Greater Handling Agility
The aluminum BOXER engine and simple, symmetrical drivetrain layout help to lower the WRX STI’s center of gravity, a trait that contributes to its famous corner-carving handling characteristics. The springs, dampers, crossmembers, subframe bushings, and front control-arm bushings and attachments are all stiffer than in the previous model.
The body structure makes extensive use of high-tensile steel and features special stiffening elements at key locations. The inverted-strut front suspension system exhibits high bending resistance for quicker and more consistent performance under hard cornering. Aluminum front lower L-arms reduce unsprung vehicle weight. The aluminum alloy lower control arms use pillow ball-type joint bushings and pillow ball-type joint mounts, and the rear suspension lateral links also use this type of bushing.
Solid rubber engine mounts help to minimize engine movement, which in turn enhances handling agility. The hydraulic power-assisted steering provides 2.5 turns lock-to-lock, providing exceptionally quick response, which was benchmarked against top-handling sports cars.
Standard 18-inch alloy wheels wear 245/40R18 summer performance tires, with the Limited trim featuring BBS forged aluminum-alloy wheels. Exclusive to the WRX STI, the Brembo® Performance Brake System uses ventilated 4-wheel Super Sport anti-lock (ABS) disc brakes with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD). Front discs measure 13.0 inches in diameter and use 4-piston calipers; the 12.4 in. rear discs use 2-piston calipers. Taking input from sensors for lateral g, steering angle, yaw and brake pressure, Super Sport ABS can control the braking forces at each rear wheel independently, which optimizes braking ability during hard cornering.
305-hp Turbo BOXER Engine
The 2.5-liter turbocharged/intercooled 4-cylinder BOXER engine, exclusive to the WRX STI, employs the Dual Active Valve Control System (DAVCS). The engine produces 305 horsepower (SAE) at 6,000 rpm and 290 lb-ft of peak torque at 4,000 rpm.
The engine is based on a specially reinforced semi-closed deck engine block with high-strength cast pistons. A semi-closed deck design provides the same cooling efficiency as an open-deck cylinder block but with the higher strength of a full closed deck. Special reinforcing ribs in the block provide additional strength, and the crankshaft is nitride-hardened. The turbocharger produces a maximum of 14.7 PSI of boost, and quad exhaust tailpipes emit a distinctively deep growl.
The WRX STI is equipped exclusively with a specially reinforced 6-speed manual transmission. Incline Start Assist can momentarily prevent the car from rolling backward when being driven away from a stop on an incline.
The Subaru Intelligent Drive (SI-DRIVE) powertrain management system allows the driver to tailor the car’s driving characteristics by choosing from among three driver-selectable modes – “Intelligent,” “Sport” and “Sport Sharp” – using a rotary dial on the center console. SI-DRIVE alters vehicle performance characteristics by regulating the engine control module and by fine-tuning the electronic throttle control system.
With Intelligent mode selected, SI-DRIVE provides a more relaxed throttle response curve, making it useful for commuting in traffic, for example. “Sport” mode provides quick throttle responses and powerful, linear acceleration, making it ideal for everyday sporty driving. In “Sport Sharp” mode, SI-DRIVE modifies the engine’s electronic throttle mapping to deliver super-quick throttle response and put down the power sooner.
Multi-Mode DCCD All-Wheel Drive
The WRX STI is exclusively equipped with the Multi-Mode Driver Controlled Center Differential (DCCD) version of Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive. This sophisticated system uses planetary-type center differential gears with a nominal 41:59 torque split. A mechanical limited-slip type center differential augments an electronically controlled center differential to enhance torque transfer performance.
Sensor inputs that include steering angle, throttle position, RPM, lateral-g, yaw, brake, ABS and wheel speed govern torque transfer response. A helical-type limited-slip front differential and a TORSEN® torque-sensing limited-slip rear differential optimize side-to-side torque distribution, helping to prevent the inside wheels from slipping during cornering.
The DCCD AWD system features three automatic modes, each applying a different degree of center differential locking to match different driving situations. “Auto” mode provides the best all-around performance for most drivers and circumstances, varying the front/rear torque distribution automatically via the limited-slip type center differential in response to vehicle acceleration, deceleration, steering angle, cornering force and wheel slippage. The “Auto -” mode makes less use of the center limited-slip differential (less locking factor) and holds the torque bias to the rear more frequently, which yields more handling-oriented steering characteristics.
For driving on slippery surfaces, such as gravel or snow, the “Auto +” setting tightens the LSD. In the DCCD AWD system’s manual mode, the driver can select one of six center differential locking levels (up to 50:50 maximum) to optimize AWD performance to suit the driving situation and surface conditions.
Active Torque Vectoring
Active Torque Vectoring, an enhancement of the Multi-Mode Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) stability and traction control system, can apply brake pressure to the inside front wheel to facilitate more neutral cornering. The VDC system offers yet more driver choices, with three settings: “Normal,” “Traction” and “Off.” The “Normal” setting provides the highest level of system engagement, utilizing traction control (TCS) and Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC). The “Traction” setting is more performance-oriented, employing less-restrictive VDC and disengaging the engine torque-reduction control. The “Off” setting disengages the VDC and the traction control functions. Active Torque Vectoring remains engaged for “Normal” and “Traction” modes.
Alcantara® seating surfaces, accented by red and black leather bolsters and red stitching, set the tone for the STI’s driver-focused interior. Rich-looking appointments and details abound, including soft-touch materials for the dashboard, door trim and center console armrest. The flat-bottom, leather-wrapped tilt/telescoping steering wheel integrates switches for audio and Bluetooth® controls. Whiplash-reducing front performance design seats feature separate tilt- and height-adjustable head restraints. A standard 60/40-split fold-down rear seat extends versatility.
The STI Design electroluminescent gauge panel integrates a 3.5-in. central LCD screen that displays various functions, including low-level warnings for oil and windshield washer fluid and the selected gear. A multi-information central display with 4.3-in. LCD screen provides a multitude of vehicle system functions, including a standard rear camera display, a boost gauge display, outside temperature, audio information, Bluetooth® and climate control settings. The display can also provide a vehicle self-check and maintenance reminder.
Standard features for the 2016 WRX STI include dual-zone automatic climate control, and the All-Weather Package (dual-mode heated front seats, heated exterior mirrors and windshield wiper de-icer). The WRX STI Limited offers the luxury of leather-trimmed upholstery, an 8-way power driver’s seat and power moonroof, Welcome Lighting and Keyless Access and Push Button Start with PIN Code Access.
Subaru’s renowned safety package uses the brand’s proven Ring-shaped Reinforcement Frame body structure, which has been shown to excel in the small overlap test by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Passive safety features include front side pelvis/torso airbags, side curtain airbags that offer front and rear outboard seat coverage and a driver’s knee airbag.
Subaru of America, Inc. offers a full line of all-wheel drive sedans, crossovers and SUVs, along with the rear-wheel drive BRZ sports car.
Recommended retail price (MSRP) starts from $34,695