This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest Subaru WRX STi (14-17) review.

Parkers overall rating: 3 out of 5 3.0

There is only one engine available for the WRX STi but the 2.5-litre 16-valve turbo ‘boxer’ engine is a stonking unit. It produces 295bhp and has a pulling power of 407Nm. It can get from zero to 62mph in 5.2 seconds and has an achievable top speed of 158mph.

On the road the boxer engine has great straight-line speed and it will zip between corners. Subaru WRX STi performance is frankly brutal. Step on the accelerator and you will be pushed back into your seat by the sheer force of the car as it pulls away. Traction is not a problem whether you are driving on dry or wet roads thanks to the all-wheel-drive technology.

The six-speed manual gearbox is a little notchy especially between first and second gears but if you want a car with raw performance this is a good choice.

The WRX STi features Subaru’s SI-Drive (Subaru Intelligent Drive) that has three modes for different driving conditions. The Sport Sharp is the most responsive and this is the mode you should choose when on track or driving for pure enjoyment. The middle mode is called Sport and this makes the car a little less sharp. The ‘Intelligent’ mode is for more restrained driving. If you are looking to cruise along the motorway or on a congested road and want to maximise your fuel economy then this is the mode you want.

You would think that winning three drivers’ titles and three constructors championships in the world rally championship would give a manufacturer enough knowledge of how to make a strong handling car. Well, that success hasn’t completely translated into this particular road car but it’s still pretty good.

The WRX STi has plenty of grip when cornering but the real downside is the light steering which does not provide the driver with enough feedback. Rivals including the Ford Focus RS and the Mitsubishi Evo X feel more agile and more fun when on full song. The reality is the Focus RS and the Evo X are a lot more sophisticated than the WRX STi.