Subaru UK is halting sales of the WRX STI… because, sadly, it isn’t really making any. It puts an end (again) to a long tradition of Impreza and WRX STI sales that goes back to the mid-1990s.
We write this with heavy hearts. We’re big fans of the WRX STI not just for the incredible, physics-bending way in which it can tackle B-roads and small race tracks, but because it was, and is, something a bit different.
Unlike the homogenised European fast hatchbacks, many of which have more power, more digital technology and more comfort, the WRX STI is a car with genuine character. Its flaws make the driving experience richer; and what a driving experience it offers.
Anyway, the decision has been made, owing to recurring poor sales. Heavy depreciation and more fuel-efficient rivals have made the WRX STI vastly more expensive to buy on finance and keep on the road, and people just aren’t taking the plunge.
The model’s time in the UK will be ended with a 150-unit run of WRX STI Final Editions. The engine stays the same; a 2.5-litre boxer four-pot sending 296bhp and 300lb ft to all four wheels, all the time.
It gets bigger, more powerful Brembo brakes, though, inside wheels that have been enlarged to house them. Yellow calipers will look amazing against the traditional Subaru blue paint.
Inside, red seat belts and red contrast seat stitching are standard. Heating has been added to the front seats as well, while the dashboard of this limited-edition car is crowned by a 5.9-inch multimedia display. It brings with it DAB radio and a reversing camera.
Bi-function LED headlights light the way, able to use the same diodes for both dipped and main beams. They have a cornering function, too, which gives crucial extra visibility when you’re hooning around bends at night.
The price is £33,995, and we’d bet more than a couple of these will find their way into collections, never to turn a wheel in anger. If only we had the money, we’d buy one ourselves… but we’d drive it just the way it was built for.
Honestly, we feel like we’ve had a bereavement in the family. The WRX STI is one of those cars that gets under your skin. You come to love it, at any cost. We’ll miss it.