2006 Subaru Impreza WRX STI.
2007 Subaru Impreza WRX STi Limited. Only 800 produced.
The Subaru Impreza WRX STI (formerly STi, officially changed in 2006
[Impreza Model Line History. Brochures and Subaru communications reflect this change, however, the logo used for the STI badging remains the same as before (with an italicized lowercase 'i').]) is the highest standard-edition trim in the Subaru Impreza line.
In the late 1980's, Subaru created the Subaru Tecnica International (STI) division to coordinate development for the FIA World Rally Championship and other motorsports activities. After the company had grown, the division was used to create high-performance consumer versions of the Subaru Impreza WRX, an AWD car with a turbocharged flat-4 engine, leading to the development of the Impreza WRX STi. Subaru has used a race-prepared version of the WRX STI as its rally platform since the model trim's creation.
GC chassis comparison to the GD chassis
Subaru claims that the GD chassis is 148 percent and 82 percent stiffer in torsional and beam rigidity, respectively, than the GC chassis. Due to the increase in stiffness, the car has much better stability in corners and is easier to control at the limit. The GC chassis is so weak compared to today's cars that engineers called the body a "Watermelon frame", referring to how a watermelon shatters on impact.
In terms of safety, the IGD chassis scored much higher than the GC chassis and earned a "Good" rating (highest mark) from the IIHS's offset crash test. 4 stars front driver, 5 star front passenger and 4 star side safety ratings from the NHTSA. In a magazine article from the Dec. 2005 Firehouse magazine (a periodical written and made for firefighters), Ron Moore writes how it is well-known that the Impreza chassis has great protection in its B-pillars. This side structure has 8 layers of high-strength, high-tension steel including a round steel bar running through the middle. The author notes how drivers simply walk away from horrific side-impact accidents.
One of the biggest complaints with the GD chassis is that it gains nearly 200 kg in weight over the GC chassis. Much of this weight came in the form of chassis stiffening as the car was made to meet every countries' crash standards. The weight also hampers the cars maneuverability, transistions and turn-in capabilities. The GC Imprezas were notable for being very lightweight despite having AWD, the WRX Type STi Version VI, at 1260 kg, was lighter than the concurrent Mazda RX-7 type RZ (1270 kg) and Honda NSX type S Zero (1270 kg). In this fashion, the GC chassis has a better advantage.
The author mentioned above also notes that the Jaws of Life need to cut the Subaru's B-pillars at certain points in order to cut through the car frame. This information was not as well-spread before, so there have been many incidences where firefighters could not cut the B-pillars due to their structural integrity. To some people, this might be a concern if the driver or passengers need to be cut out of the vehicle quickly.
The STi serve as the basis from which Group N "production" rally cars are constructed. Group N4-classed (marketed by FIA as Production Car World Rally Championship or PCWRC) cars are the major support category for the World Rally Championship and are the premier category in many national rally championships. For the past two years (2004 and 2005), the WRX STi has taken the top 3 podiums in Group N. This new effort can be attributed to STi's increased support in Group N motorsports.
In 1995, 1996 and 1997 World Rally Championships, Subaru's World Rally Team, in conjunction with Prodrive won the WRC manufacturer's title with the World Rally Impreza. The STi's bare chassis is used by Prodrive as the basis of the World Rally Impreza. This WRC class is currently labeled by FIA as Group A8. Colin McRae in 1995, Richard Burns in 2001, and Petter Solberg in 2003 all won the WRC driver's title with the World Rally Impreza.
In 2004, the STi Spec C won 1st place in the All Japan gymkhana (Japanese autocrossing) championships.
At the 2005 Tire Rack SCCA Solo Nationals in Topeka, Kansas, a 2004 US-spec STi took 1st in the STU and ESP classes.
In 2005, Prova Racing took a STI to 2nd place in class and 14th overall in the 24 hour Nurburgring race.
In 2005, Prova Racing's STis finished the season in 1st and 3rd place in Japan's Super Taikyu. In 2002, Eifel Prova Racing took 1st place in Super Taikyu.
In Club Racing's T2 division, Icy Racing's 2004 STis took 1st and 2nd place.In 2005, ESX Motorsports announed the introduction of the WRX STI in World Challenge's GT class.
The Cusco team have been campaigning a heavily modified STi with rear drive conversion as required by regulations since the late nineties and having no two door model available at present, is the only team to be permitted to race a four door model in the series.
D1 Grand Prix
Nobushige Kumakubo is the first to use an WRX STi at the D1 Grand Prix series. The car is extensively modified as regulations permit only two wheel drive cars. This STi is unique in that it is the first to locate a radiator (with the fan beside it) behind the driver rather than in front of the engine compartment as other cars usually do. His other Team Orange teammates, Kazuhiro Tanaka and Naoto Suenaga, soon followed suit.
The STi is featured in various movies and anime. In Shuichi Shigeno's manga turned anime, Initial D, the main character's father, Bunta, drives a WRX STi Type R Version V with a STi Sports Bumper (a bumper that was sold in the STi parts catalogue; it had the same shape as the 22B STi but was made to fit the non-wide body Imprezas).
In the anime, Ex-Driver, a '99 Impreza WRC was shown in the first episode. Unfortunately, it was totaled in the episode (the power line for the car's 6-speed sequential transmission was damaged by a runaway AI car, making gear changes impossible). Initial D : Fourth stage also has a WRX STi Type R Version V Driven by the main character's undefeated father.
In the Hong Kong movie, "Legend of Speed 2", two street racing teams compete in the streets of Kowloon, Hong Kong. One of the teams races WRX STis. The leader drives a white WRX STi version 3.
This car is also featured in the Gran Turismo game series for the PS2. Forza Motorsport for the Xbox has also included various WRX STis in the car line-up. The cars were featured in several rally games, that are WRC Impreza, such as Colin McRae Rally. They even featured in several import games, the GDB Impreza, such as SRS, Need for Speed: Underground, Need for Speed: Underground 2 and Need for Speed: Most Wanted; the 22B STi GC8 was featured in the THQ import street racing game Juiced. They also featured in several Japanese imported racing games such as Kaido Battle, Initial D: Special Stage and Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune. The WRX STi Type R version 5 that Bunta drives in Initial D, is a special car that be gained with a sequential imput on the Initial D Arcade game.
A 2004-2005 STi is also featured in a Taco Bell commercial.In the Quaker State oil ad, they feature a stock WRX STi on the commercial and on magazines.
The STI was originally sold only in Japan. It was later made officially available in Oceania (Australia had it in 1999 with the STi Version V). In 2001, Europe received the STi with the change of the chassis. After seeing the Impreza WRX sell at much better levels than expected, Subaru began selling the STI in North America in 2004.
It should be noted that the Oceania and Europe actually had WRX STis in the region before the official versions. Car importation laws in those areas are much more lax than America's laws. Thus, the grey markets has many earlier versions of the WRX STi. America's car importation laws are much more strict. In most cases, the only way to legally import an earlier version of the WRX STi than the one offered is by registering it as a race or exhibition car.