After sending the past several years focusing on volume models, Subaru has now switched over to developing its high-performance niche market vehicles, unveiling the new WRX STI Sedan today at the New York Auto Show.
Previously Subaru had only offered a hatchback STI of its current generation car, but the sedan is both a throwback to great STI sedans of old, as well as an evolution of the brand itself. And yes, we did say “evo-lution.” The car’s new rear spoiler is alarmingly similar to a Mitsubishi design used on past EVO models. And with a four-door offering (as well as the hatch), Subaru is likely hoping to win over a few EVO buyers who prefer a sedan.
Subaru says the new wing was designed to create real downforce and stabilize the car at speed. The car, as well as the new 2011 hatch, was even tested n the Nürburgring with numerous other upgrades. While there are no changes to the 305-hp engine, other updates include a revised suspension setup with a lowered ride height and new pillow-ball bushings in front and stiffer bushings for the rear subframe. Subaru says these updates improve camber and toe stiffness. New springs feature higher spring rates with a 15.6 percent increased stiffness in front and 53 percent increase in stiffness in the rear. Thicker sway bars also help improve handling, while new 18-inch wheels weight a total of 17.6 lbs less than the previous model’s wheels.
In addition, the 2011 STI models also get exterior updates – although none but a true Suby nut is likely to notice. The changes include a modified bumper with sharper edges, a new lip spoiler, larger front grille as well as larger bumper openings. The sedan model also gets new, flared rear fenders.
“The continuous evolution and development of the WRX STI is driven by the strong, loyal and vocal support from thousands of enthusiastic owners of this exciting high-performance vehicle,” said Tom Doll, executive vice president and COO of Subaru of America. “The 2011 4-door WRX STI will expand the appeal of this iconic performance model to a wider range of driving enthusiasts.”
The 2011 Subaru Impreza WRX STI sedan and hatch will be available late this summer.
GALLERY: 2011 Subaru WRX STI Sedan
GALLERY: 2011 Subaru WRX STI
Official release after the jump:
The Wing is Back! Subaru Debuts New 4-Door Impreza® WRX® STI® Model for 2011 — First Time Subaru Performance Flagship Offered in Two Body Styles — New WRX STI Four-Door with Wide-Body Design — Retuned Suspension for Even Sharper Handling
NEW YORK, April 1 /PRNewswire/ — Subaru of America today introduced a new 4-door version of its Impreza WRX STI performance flagship model. This will be the first time that the WRX STI has been offered in two body styles (5-door and 4-door). In addition to the new styling, the 2011 WRX STI features significantly revised suspension tuning and lighter 18-inch wheels for even sharper handling.
The WRX STI has been a recipient of continuous improvement since its introduction. Most recently, the 2010 WRX STI Special Edition previewed some of the suspension enhancements now migrated to the 2011 WRX STI. Thorough and painstakingly detailed chassis development, including testing on Germany’s famed Nurburgring racetrack, has resulted in the best-handling Impreza WRX STI models Subaru has ever offered.
“The continuous evolution and development of the WRX STI is driven by the strong, loyal and vocal support from thousands of enthusiastic owners of this exciting high-performance vehicle,” said Tom Doll, executive vice president and COO of Subaru of America, Inc. “The 2011 4-door WRX STI will expand the appeal of this iconic performance model to a wider range of driving enthusiasts.”
New Designs for 2011
In front, the 2011 WRX STI models feature sharpened bumper corners and wider, blacked-out fog lamp nacelles to accentuate the “wide and low” profile. A jutting lip spoiler with three-dimensional detailing emphasizes the cars’ sporty intent. The newly designed front grille with black base and blacked-out Subaru wing highlights the headlights’ shape to give the entire front end a more powerful appearance, accentuated by larger grille and bumper intake openings.
For the 4-door models, newly designed wider rear fenders are stretched out on the side beyond the tail lamps, accentuating a look of power and stability. The new design details contribute to an improved drag coefficient.
New Chassis Tuning for 2011
The Subaru WRX STI was already a highly optimized performance machine. Specific chassis tuning. Aluminum front lower L-arms reduce unsprung vehicle weight. Major chassis tuning changes include a lowered ride height and new pillow-ball bushings in front and stiffer bushings for the rear subframe that supports the double-wishbone suspension – these improve camber and toe stiffness.
Both the front and rear suspension systems employ higher-rate springs and thicker front and rear stabilizer bars than the 2010 model: 21 mm vs. 20 mm in front and 19 mm vs. 18 mm in rear. Spring rates have increased by 15.6 percent in front and 53 percent in the rear.
New standard 18-inch aluminum wheels feature high-luster paint and weigh 17.6 lbs. less than the previous standard wheels. The optional 18 x 8.5-in. BBS® forged aluminum-alloy wheels, which further reduce unsprung vehicle weight, are highlighted by silver high-luster paint for 2011.
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). Super Sport ABS can control the braking forces at each rear wheel independently, which optimizes braking ability during hard cornering to help reduce understeer.
The Ultimate Performance Subaru
The 2011 WRX STI continues as the ultimate-performance Subaru with its high-boost 305-hp turbocharged/intercooled 4-cyl. Boxer engine and 6-speed manual transmission. The STI also features Multi-Mode Driver Controlled Center Differential (DCCD) version of Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive with three “Auto” modes, as well as a manual mode with six driver-selectable differential locking settings.
The WRX STI is equipped with advanced dynamic control systems, as well: the Multi-Mode Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) stability and traction control system is standard and features a track performance-optimized mode; Subaru Intelligent Drive (SI-DRIVE) technology allows the driver to tailor the car’s driving characteristics by choosing from among three selectable modes – “Intelligent,” “Sport” and “Sport Sharp” – using a rotary dial on the center console.
The 2011 Impreza WRX STI models arrive in Subaru dealerships late this summer.
Sporty, Spacious and Versatile Interior
New for 2011, the WRX STI interior is finished in black and silver to highlight its sporty design. Trim panels, the steering wheel air bag cover and steering wheel switches are now dark cast metallic.
The standard tilt and telescopic steering wheel is a three-spoke, leather-wrapped design embossed with the STI logo and features control switches for Bluetooth® hands-free phone function. A new AM/FM stereo with single-disc CD player features Bluetooth audio streaming and hands-free calling, iPod control capability, a USB port, 3.5mm aux. input jack and XM/SIRIUS satellite radio (subscription is extra). An available navigation system integrates a vehicle information center and Bluetooth hands-free calling.