Picking up the STI at McKenna Subaru

Picking up the STI at McKenna Subaru

Let me be perfectly clear: what we did here doesn’t really make sense on paper. A logical person, would look upon this decision and say “Dude, what is wrong with you?” In fact, most have actually messaged me privately and told me to look my own damn article that I wrote, recommending against the fact.

For those that don’t know, I test drove a black STI base at Kearny Mesa Subaru couple of weeks past after which I was “less than impressed” with the performance. I got home and quickly proceeded to write up a list of things that the WRX just did better. Did I have a change of heart? Yes. This article is a feeble follow up of why I bought the STI anyway, despite my brain telling me “WALK AWAY.”

All About that Base

The 2015 WRX base model we had was great in a lot of things. It was the lightest at 3267lbs with no sunroof, but this came at a bit of a few compromises, mainly which included a rather lackluster and somewhat spartan interior. Commuting 124 miles a day got rather boring inside of it and I just started to notice some of the nuances as my mind wandered sitting in traffic. The bluetooth integration was terrible, the sound system wasn’t all that great, and compared to the 2016+ years, the car just lacked a subtle overall feel of fit and finish.  Hand-on-heart I priced out a 2017 Premium Edition WRX, but at close to 31k with the options, it wasn’t enough of a departure from what I what I was looking for. It wasn’t an enough of an upgrade to warrant dealing with the sales and finance process, and the hours spent negotiating etc.

The Biggest Difference

Shadowfax, our 2017 Crystal White Pearl STI, enjoying the mountain air at Palomar Mountain.

Shadowfax, our 2017 Crystal White Pearl STI, enjoying the mountain air at Palomar Mountain.

If the goal is to eventually bump this out of stock class, limited slip differentials would help out immensely for turn in. Street Touring class doesn’t allow for a 4WD cars’ differentials to be changed. So, if I were to have held onto the WRX and bumped it into STX, we’d have been able to dial the chassis in, but not really been able to put power down. As is, we we already spinning the tires in Lincoln, the grippiest surface we have ever raced on. Sure we could put a set of either Cusco or OS GIken diffs in the car to really make it come alive, but this would bump it yet into another level of insanity: Street Prepared, or scarier yet: Street Mod, either of which really just require a level of preparation that I’m just not comfortable with.

Lose None of the Practicality But Get the X-Factor

There is was a stipulation when I drove the STI initially: it had to wow me as much as the WRX did when I first test drove it back in 2015. Quite frankly it just didn’t in the straights, but you tossed it into a corner and it just ate it up as the LSD’s got to work. In fact, I literally had dreams about the test drive for three days. This was just getting ridiculous and quite honestly I don’t think most sane people have dreamt about a test drive before.  No matter what I did, I just couldn’t get the way the car felt through a corner out of my head. Seeing that the inherent chassis was exactly the same, we weren’t losing the practicality of the WRX, so from a standpoint of having life happen (kids, friends that need rides, etc), we’re covered. To paraphrase Clarkson of former Top Gear, every car has to have an X-Factor, the car that just gets under your skin and you desire, despite mechanical soundness, performance, etc. I have to say this: If you end up dreaming about a test drive and yearn for to get that feeling again, it’s got the X-Factor you’re looking for.

So Why Not Follow Your Own Advice?

It took a little work, but YAWSPORT's Bret Norgaard was able to perfectly align the Tomei Expreme Ti exhaust system on the STI.

It took a little work, but YAWSPORT’s Bret Norgaard was able to perfectly align the Tomei Expreme Ti exhaust system on the STI.

Ok so on paper and even from a logistical side it didn’t make sense. Make no mistake about it: The WRX is the much better buy. It gives you 90% of the performance without the 36k price tag. Let me also be perfectly clear: If if I had bought a 2016 Premium Edition WRX, I wouldn’t even be considering a car switch. Yes, the WRX is that damn impressive. I would highly recommend that anyone with a sane and sensible side go that route. I am not sensible. I am a car enthusiast. As a car enthusiast we believe that the car is not just a mere-tool to get from point a to b. We believe that the journey needs be is what is memorable. After getting my hands on the STI and driving it around for about 15 miles on the test drive, it literally haunted me in my dreams.


“Bro, your EJ257 is gonna blow up bro……”

The Demon STI that got under my skin.

The Demon STI that got under my skin.

Indeed. I plan on taking proper care for it and have a plan a plan in the event that it does go kaboom. 90% of the issues on the EJ come with poor quality oil use, poor fuel choices, or flow mods with no supporting tunes. Ring-land failures seem to come due high sustained high RPMs. Is it a ticking time bomb? Perhaps. Is it a foolish choice for someone that’s working 124 miles away? Definitely. At best *I*, king of getting MPG’s out of a car, am getting at most 23.7mpg, vs the 28-30 I got in the WRX.


So What’s Next?

Our 2015 Base Model WRX provided us 44,000 miles of great memories, road trips, a Pro Solo Win, many regional wins, two regional championships, and 2015 National Championship. While Kristen is switching to the Focus ST and working hand in hand with YAWSPORT with shock development, I’m somewhat undecided. Honestly not in a rush to build out my STI for anything, because honestly I’m just in shock still that I even have an STI. We just put a Tomei Expreme Ti catback exhaust system on it and the hills are alive with the sound of classic Subaru unequal-length rumbles.

Damn it's a nice car this 2017 STI!

Damn it’s a nice car this 2017 STI!

So in conclusion, don’t do what I did. Do yourself a favor and just buy the premium edition WRX. It’s the best car for the money, and even has the best index if you decide to autocross it with the SCCA. But if somehow things go wrong and you find yourself behind the wheel of an STI, know full well that it may and probably will haunt your dreams. I blame the Demon-Black STI of Kearny Mesa Subaru for the angelic Crystal White Pearl STI sitting in my parking spot. Now if you don’t mind, I’d like to go check the oil level of my motor.

Dat Rumble Vid!

Tomei Sound Clip

Posted by Bricker Family Racing on r3b3cc4 b14k d4y, 0c70b3r 7, 2016