Here at TFLcar.com, we define a “modern collectible” as a vehicle with timeless looks, extraordinary performance, and extremely limited availability. A car we choose must be beautifully mechanically and aesthetically, but, above all, must be able to turn heads and create conversation wherever it travels. This last quality is the most illusive and the most difficult for a single automobile to consistently accomplish.
But what if we were to find a car with gorgeous lines, unprecedented sport, and a stunning curb presence? What if this model could even boast a manufacturer with a legendary track record for reliability and satisfaction? Could we even find anything close to such a vehicle?
Well, the engineers at Subaru, with their 2013 Impreza WRX STI, seem to think so.
Essentially a street-legal rally car, the 2013 Subaru Impreza WRX STI does not fail to impress on any level. A small 2.5-liter turbo four cranks out a whopping 305 horsepower delivers power to all four wheels, and speaks to the racing heritage of Subaru Tecnica International (or STI). Appearance-wise, the car is absolutely stunning, with an intimidating hood scoop, flared fenders, and a massive rear wing capable of creating ridiculous downforce for all sorts of high-speed shenanigans.
Though its appearance and performance are fabulous, the WRX’s main appeal may lie in “Subaru” nameplate on the rear. There is most definitely a cult following for all Subaru models from all decades, understandable given their stalwart build and renowned AWD systems. Subarus are the ultimate go-anywhere, do-anything machines, managing both the everyday grind and the performance extremes, whether those be on the track or in the deep snow. Add this to car’s sub-$35,000 base price and nearly twenty-year reign in the sports car world, and buying the WRX STI seems to come with minimal risk, save maybe a few speeding tickets along the way.
Though the WRX STI is no limited production vehicle, Subaru has recently announced plans to suspend completely its production in the UK, one of the biggest markets for high-performance cars similar to the STI. This means that the Subaru’s worldwide availability will be severely reduced during the next few years, with the UK-spec examples of the current generation garnering especially high demand. It is these British examples of the WRX STI that will garner great collector followings in the future.
Subaru has also announced plans for production of a highly exclusive WRX STI “Special Edition,” an even more track-oriented version of the famed rally car. Only 100 examples of this model will ever be produced, all of which will sport tangerine orange paint, matte-black sport rims, and custom “STI” graphics and pin striping along the side quarter panels. An STI-specific interior also finds its way onto the “Special Edition,” covering all surfaces with a black leather trim accented by orange contrast stitching. These examples of the WRX STI will probably be the most desirable examples for collectors, fetching big money at famous auctions in the future.
Opt for the standard WRX STI, however, and there is no shortage of impressive features. A no-nonsense 6-speed manual is the only transmission choice for the STI, a conscious choice by Subaru to keep the driver as involved as possible in the driving experience. Also, a high-performance Brembo braking system comes standard. Exterior-wise, the STI is available in six shades ranging from a “blue pearl” to an “ice silver metallic,” not to mention the monstrous spoiler on the rear decklid that gives the car its signature look. Where Subaru most caters to buyer taste, however, is in the 71 available accessories available for the STI, prominent among which are an STI short-throw shifter, a Kicker 10-inch subwoofer, and a high-capacity bike rack. Even limited to these factory-supplied accessories, the performance and utilitarian capacities of the STI are unmatched, most definitely adding to the car’s appeal.
The Bottom Line
A beautifully executed Subaru that perfectly balances sportiness and reliability, the WRX STI is definitely one of the cornerstones of the modern sports car world. Few cars can claim such a rich history in build quality and in racing, and even fewer can still stay true to these roots as time presses on. Simply put, the WRX STI has such an enduring, simple design packing such a powerful performance punch that collectors will certainly pine over this Japanese wonder in years to come.
Please enjoy this comparison test of the 2010 and 2011 WRX STI models as TFLcar searches for the ultimate rally car.