They make the same amount of horsepower, but this pair of performance compacts should be much better to drive.

When shopping for an all-weather performance car that could conceivably carry a family, then Subaru WRX and STI definitely need to among a list of considerations. Subie is sweetening the pot even more for the 2018 model year by refreshing the high-performance pair. The fresh-faced models are on display at the North American International Auto Show and look ready to speed around in any season – even if their engines’ output remains the same.

2018 Subaru WRX and WRX STI: Detroit 2017
2018 Subaru WRX and WRX STI: Detroit 2017


The facelift makes the pair look even more aggressive, especially the more angular grille. The larger intake in the front fascia also looks rally ready. In addition, drivers can see the road better thanks to steering-responsive LED headlights on the WRX Limited and all trims of the STI. Famously outdoorsy Subaru owners should like the new roof-rack mounting brackets, too.

Inside, occupants find lots of quality-of-life improvements. For example, the multi-function display in the instrument panel grows to 5.9 inches from the previous 4.3 inches. All models also have improved materials cup holders in the rear seat armrest and new door pulls. These photos show off the optional Recaro seats on the STI, which are standard on its Limited trim, too. While not evident immediately on the show floor, the STI and WRX are quieter inside thanks to thicker door glass, better seals, and a foam-filled windshield header.

2018 Subaru WRX STI
2018 Subaru WRX

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The STI benefits from performance upgrades that should sharpen the sedan’s handling. For example, the Driver Controlled Center Differential now exclusively uses electronic controls, rather than the previous mix with mechanical actuation. According to Subaru, the result is quicker and smoother response. The improved Brembo brakes now have six-piston monoblock calipers in the front and two-piston units in the back. Drilled rotors are at both axles, too. They sit behind new 19-inch Y-spoke wheels.

The WRX improves should be better behind the wheel, too. New transmission synchros should make for slicker shifting, and Subaru claims revisions to the electric power steering offers a ”smoother, more natural feel.” The lack of moonroof and red calipers on the example in Detroit indicates that it has the new Performance Package that adds Recaro eight-way seats and upgraded brake pads.

Source: Subaru

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