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Old 03-20-2010, 06:10 PM   #1
Driving Sports TV Staff
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Kirkland, WA
2004 WRX

Default 2010 STI Special Edition Track Test

2010 Subaru STI Special Edition
Track Tested, Driver Approved
Ryan Douthit, Driving Sports TV

Click to view the full video review.
Subaru official STI SE info page.
NASIOC STI SE News Thread.

At the 2009 Los Angeles Auto Show, Subaru introduced a new special edition of the 2010 Subaru STI. It was called, simply enough, the Special Edition.

Recently, I finally had a chance to drive the production version of the new SE on the Streets of Willow. But before we get into the driving, let’s look at what makes this edition so “Special.”

It’s all about handling: Suspension has been lifted from the Japanese-market spec-C, a 1-millimeter thicker rear sway bar, stiffer rear bushings and stiffer springs: 16-percent stiffer under the nose, 29-percent stiffer in the aft. Wheels, too, have been copied from the JDM model, which look great against the Aspen White body, but they sport the standard 245/40SR-18 Dunlop summer treads.

Sounds expensive, doesn’t it? Don’t worry, this Special Edition is actually less than the standard STI. Seriously. $32,900 and it’s yours. That’s $2000 less than the standard 2010 STI and only $1000 more than Mitsubishi’s Ralliart Sport Back.

How was Subaru able to bend the JDM-enhanced reality-distortion pricing model? It made some cuts in the stuff any track buff will surely not miss: the AC controls go old-school, with a standard knob replacing the automatic system; HID headlights are downgraded to halogen projectors and the stereo rewinds to the 2005 model year with a single CD head unit pushing four speakers.

If Subaru hadn’t provided me a list of these downgrades, I probably wouldn’t have noticed. Not on the track, at least.

The drivetrain is unchanged from the standard STI. The already-potent turbo-charged 2.5-liter boxer motor puts out 305-horsepower and 290-ft-lbs of torque. This time tested and tuner-approved powerplant is attached to Subaru’s six-speed manual transmission with a driver-controlled center differential and all the usual go-fast goodies.

I’ve always liked the new hatchback version of the STI. Yes, even the hatchback styling. But, considering its potential, it was too softly sprung for tarmac. This new Special Edition’s Spec-C suspension treatment fixes that issue, nicely.

Since this was a press event, with two cars for 10 drivers on a single sunny day in the California desert, we didn’t have the time to run hard number tests. But the overall impression was quite positive. The enhancements strike superb balance between capability and everyday drivability – without the need of costly aftermarket suspension upgrades. (Great! Leaves budget for power adds.)

On the limit, the car behaves much more balanced, with a touch more twitch in the tail – just enough to inspire. It’s still not a Porsche GT3, though, so don’t expect it to corner like it’s “on rails.” Conversely, it won’t bite you in the ass when you let your guard down. Around town, it’s just as easy to drive as any STI.

This is really how the car should have been delivered in 2008. Though, better late than never is certainly welcome. Some may gripe that the power output should have been increased, but I will disagree, especially at the lowered price point. The stock power is very well suited to the setup and, for those that do want more, a Cobb Accessport and some aftermarket pipes will continue to fill the aftermarket need.

The 2010 Subaru STI Special Edition will be available in dealers soon. The first 125 unnumbered, unsigned and unplaqued editions will be available exclusively in Aspen White. After that, it will continue to be available in standard STI colors for as long as people want to keep buying them.

Subaru STI SE Track Test YouTube Excerpt:
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Last edited by ricochet; 03-20-2010 at 06:42 PM.
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