Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
There’s only one engine and gearbox combination available; a 2.5-litre turbocharged ‘flat’ four with a healthy 297bhp connected to a six-speed manual gearbox. It may have a similar power output to a Golf R, but the WRX STI has none of the low-end flexibility that makes the Golf feel so quick in any situation.
Instead, the WRX feels very sluggish below around 3000rpm before delivering all of its power in one big dollop. To make matters worse, you quickly find yourself hitting the rev limiter thanks to short gearing. Try and change gear quickly and its easy to select the wrong ratio, too. Even if you time everything perfectly, it still doesn’t feel as quick as a Golf R or Focus RS.