The current Subaru WRX STI is a beast: powerful, capable, but something less than pretty. Despite its ungainly looks, it has made fans out of us and out of a large chunk of the populace. But it’s due for replacement soon.
So we took the opportunity to spend the better part of a week with the car in Ireland and on the Isle of Man as a sort of send-off.
Even in the five-door STI, which skips the massive wing of the sedan, there’s no mistaking what you’re driving, either from the curbside or from behind the wheel. The STI cuts an iconic figure like nothing else in its price segment–and it performs like nothing else, too.
Whether over the bumpy, often broken, insanely narrow, recessed roads of the Isle of Man or the comparatively wider, smoother roads of Ireland, the STI’s rally-bred suspension proved its mettle, absorbing the worst of the hits and smoothing out the smaller irregularities. The strong engine, six-speed manual gearbox, and scrappy all-wheel drive system provided the go and the grip to fly down the paved pathways at speeds that should really never be seen outside of a competitive rally–like, say, the Manx Rally. Or, say, setting the four-wheeled record around the Isle of Man’s Snaefell Mountain Course, where the TT is run.