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Subaru WRX STi 2006 update

Broadcast dates : 15th January 2006
21st January 2006

"The Godfather" is in a constant state of visual flux. It seems that not a year goes by without Subaru introducing some styling and/or mechanical upgrades to its all-important Impreza range.

2006 is no different, with the biggest change being an all-new nose section grafted onto the familiar boxy bodyshell.

There are small changes all around to the 2006 version.

Subtle changes to the side skirts, the rear bumper and the wheel-and-tyre set-up, as well as the wheel arches, keep the Impreza moving forward. In the STiís case, make that "Fast Forward"!

The STi remains a triumph of engineering over style. Looked at from a fashion salon perspective, itís almost an abomination.

Bulges, scoops, great wheel-arch blisters, side skirts and aerodynamic appendages make for a professional wrestler of a car, rather than a refined gymnast in the Porsche, Lamborghini or Ferrari idiom.

And yet, amongst enthusiasts, those that keep score sheets from the World Rally Championship, the Subaru is an object d art, a thing of unbridled beauty.

But as they say in the junk ads, thatís not all. The best thing about the 2006 STi is that it just got a whole lot quicker!

The increase from two-litres to 2,5-litres is a radical one. The rest of the engine layout remains pretty much as is, with a pair of cylinders located on either side of the crankshaft, a hundred and eighty degrees apart.

The cylinder heads have dual camshafts and four valves for each combustion chamber. And the turbocharger has been revised to enable it to start boosting from just over 1500 rpm.

Maximum power is produced at a lower 5600 rpm, while the torque peak is quite high at 4000 rpm. Quite simply, the power delivery has been transformed.

And importantly, the symmetrical all-wheel-drive system has also been changed to cope with the extra power.

Apparently, Subaru feels that with all the extra torque, it was prudent to feed more power to the front wheels and give the car easier-to-handle understeer characteristics.

But make no mistake, if you climb on the throttle hard in mid-corner, the rear end will step out, before the anti-skid electronics step in to cool things down.

Itís, in fact, remarkable what the half-litre engine capacity increase has done.

The rather off-beat boxer warble is still there, but in muted form.

The engine feels so much more refined, that at times you feel you could be driving a six-cylinder.

And thereís a more gentle ramp-up to the fat part of the power band, and thereís more of it.

The STi comes standard with Bridgestone Potenza semi slicks, and the handling is now just about perfect for a road application.

The ride is firm, but not unduly so, and as with all Subarus, thereís an immense feeling of mechanical strength.

The 0-100 time is not that much faster at 5,5 seconds, but top is now a claimed 255 km/h.

A word of advice to owners attempting flat-out starts. Thereís no wheel spin, thanks to all-wheel-drive. Now, with all that extra torque, the clutch starts to smell after one or two hard blast offs.

Thereís been another upgrade to the interior in terms of panel finish and a few design tweaks.

You still wonít be buying a Scoobie for its interior as it doesnít come close to the sophisticated German offerings in this price bracket. But the suede Ėcovered rally seats make up for that to some extent, as do the special gear knob and the racy steering wheel.

Subaru Impreza WRX Sti
  • Engine: Four-cylinder petrol, turbocharged, 2 457 cc
  • Power: 206 kW @ 6 000 rpm
  • Torque: 392 Nm @ 4 000 rpm
  • Transmission: Six-speed manual, all-wheel-drive
  • 0-100 km/h: 5,5 seconds (claimed)
  • Top speed: 255 km/h (claimed)
  • Fuel consumption: 11,6 litres/100 km (claimed)
  • Price: R385 000
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