The 2011 Subaru Impreza WRX and Impreza WRX STI are the result of what happens when you take a fairly normal economy car and turn it into an all-out-insane rally machine. Designed as road-going versions of the World Rally Championship winning race cars, the all-wheel drive WRX and WRX STI offer plenty of power and prodigious grip but can be had for very little money considering their level of performance.
The 2011 Subaru Impreza WRX, for instance, can be yours for just $25,495. Remember, this is a car capable of carrying you and four of your friends at blistering speeds. Under the hood is a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with the same horizontally-opposed design favored by Porsche.
Peak output is 265 horsepower and 244 pound-feet of torque, which may not seem like a lot compared to the Ford Mustangs and Chevrolet Camaros of this world, but the engine is punchy in any gear and never seems to quit no matter how hard you push it.
However, if you thirst for more, the 2011 Subaru Impreza WRX STI delivers upwards of 305 horsepower and 290 pound-feet of torque and will rocket the car from 0-60 in around 5.0 seconds flat. You’ll note that this is similar to the performance levels of its closest rival, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X. We find that the Mitsubishi has the slight edge, however, thanks mostly to its dual clutch manual which allows even a novice driver to accelerate faster than a pro in the Subaru.
That doesn’t mean the Impreza WRX STI is a slouch. The car gets a lowed ride height, even lower than on the standard Impreza WRX, and comes with custom pillow ball bushings up front and stiffer bushings out back to improve feel as well as changing camber and toe. Thick anti-roll bars are also added front and rear. Finally, its 18-inch wheels are 17.6 pounds lighter collectively than those found on previous models, hugely reducing unsprung weight.
The Impreza WRX is a little bit tamer, though there’s nothing soft about it. Reinforced MacPherson front struts and beefier stabilizer bars are all present, as are standard 17-inch wheels with 235/45R17 tires.
As mentioned, both cars come with all-wheel drive though you can choose from either sedan or hatchback bodystyles as well as either manual or automatic transmissions. The manual is definitely our pick as the turbocharged boxer engines of the WRX and WRX STI certainly need to be worked to get the most out of them.
For a more detailed look at the 2011 Subaru Impreza WRX, click here for our previous review
of the sedan version.