The Subaru Impreza WRX STI is the high-end version of Japanese auto manufacturer Subaru's Impreza
compact car line. The first model of the WRX STi line was in 1992, when the Subaru Tecnica International
division created a consumer version of their high-performance FIA Championship Imprezas. The Impreza has, over the years, proven to be a sensation in the racing circuit as well as in the tuner scene, both of which appropriately featuring the Impreza in video games of those respective cultures.
The first model introduced a turbocharged engine and All-Wheel-Drive to the then-standard consumer model. The Subaru World Rally Team
would subsequently adopt the WRX STI as their iteration of race cars and go on to win several championships thanks to its outstanding performance.
The Impreza WRX STi would go through several revisions with the last revision being the most drastic of them all. The traditional 4-door sedan model was dropped in favor of a 5-door hatchback as the primary line, though the 4-door edition is still available.
The first generation of the Subaru Impreza WRX STi begun production in 1992 with six total revisions, as well as a multitude of special editions. Across its production, the Impreza WRX STi and was offered in a wide variety of models. The coupe, sedan, station wagon and racing models were all coded appropriately to save consumers from a nomenclature headache.
Over the course of its production, the model saw very few cosmetic redesigns but saw a numerous amount of parts modifications. The WRX would see a variety of chassis and suspension improvements as well as a turbocharger and engine overhaul.
The first generation of WRX STi proved to be incredibly popular thanks to its remarkable performance and racing dominance. The first generation of models would continue to be produced a year after the second generation begun production and would see its end marked during 2001.
The second generation of the Impreza WRX STi would prove to be its, arguably, most popular generation and saw a complete redesign in both appearance and performance. The second generation of the WRX STi would also see the introduction of the famed Blue Mica paint, which could become synonymous with the STi versions of the Impreza. The second generation would also see the end of model numbers, with the first generation being a headache of letters and numbers despite Subaru's best categorizing efforts.
Generation II would see a total redesign of the car's appearance and a marked overhaul in its parts, as well. The turbocharger, brakes, interior and alloys were all changed. The gearbox was also replaced with an STi-engineered, 6-speed manual transmission.
The second generation of the WRX STi would see seven revisions with three cosmetic redesigns, all of them referred to as their headlight shapes. The first model, "bug-eyes" (pictured above), was in production from 2002 to 2003. The second revision, "tear-drop" (not pictured), was in production from 2004 to 2005 and the last revision, "hawk-eyes" (pictured to the right), was in production from 2006 to 2007.
These multiple revisions saw few important mechanical upgrades (a wheelbase increase being the most notable one) and cease production in 2007.
The current generation of the Impreza WRX STI. Like the second generation, the third generation of the Impreza WRX saw a major redesign to its appearance and mechanics. The most notable change is with Subaru opting for a hatchback design as the standard model. This choice was made for performance reasons, as the hatchback design proved to reduce momentum inertia.
The third generation also saw improvements to the chassis, adopting the in-house "Subaru Intelligent Chassis Design" as well as a completely redesigned suspension. The WRX STI also saw the addition of several computer-controlled performance modes. These are the Subaru Intelligent-Drive (Selectable modes of Intelligent, Sport and Sport-Sharp), the Vehicle Dynamics Control (Selectable modes of Normal, Traction and Off) and the Driver's Controlled Centre Differential (Selectable modes of Manual or Automatic).
The third generation of the STI model would also have revisions, such as the Spec-C which included a different aerodynamics kit and engine upgrades.
In 2011, the 4-door sedan design was reborn. It introduced a slightly changed aero kit and improvements to suspensions and brakes, as well as a large-winged spoiler reminiscent of the second generation of Impreza WRX STIs. The rest of the vehicle remained the same as the previous revision, however.
In video games
Thanks to its extensive motoring history, the Subaru Impreza WRX STI has been in an incredibly vast number of games. Simulation games like Gran Turismo
have featured the multiple amounts of revisions, while other games such as the Need for Speed
or Forza Motorsport
franchises have resorted to including the most recent or notable revisions of the WRX STI line.
The Impreza WRX STi has also been featured in many rally racing games, thanks to the Subaru World Rally Team's incredible success and notability in the sport. Franchises like Colin McRae Rally
and Sega Rally
have, in numerous occasions, had Subaru's rally phenomenon as poster cars for the games and has always had a strong presence in other franchises sharing similar racing styles.
The Impreza WRX STI, much like in the real world, continues to be a popular vehicle among racing fans and is, arguably, one of the defining cars of the tuner scene so popularly represented in gaming. In certain games, it will also share the spotlight, much like in real life, with its pseudo-competitor, the Mistubishi Lancer Evolution