If you crave horsepower in a midsize sport sedan and love the sensation of feeling your kidneys bounce off your spine with every bump and jostle on the road, the 2020 Subaru WRX STI might be just the ticket for you. It is a pavement consuming, corner conquering, four-passenger-carrying street racer with a warrior spirit.
On the other hand, if you would like to keep your kidneys and spine in good working order for the better part of your life, may I suggest a slightly less aggressive option, the 2020 Subaru WRX Sport-tech RS. Dropping the STI from the nameplate doesn’t mean you are sacrificing much in the way of race-inspired performance and real-world driving fun. It just means you are being a little more practical, with the side benefit of keeping your family doctor off your case and in all likelihood, spending a little less on your auto insurance.
One of the main strengths of the WRX family is engine performance and our World Rally Blue Pearl test vehicle features a 2.0-litre DOHC 4-cylinder Subaru BOXER engine with twin-scroll turbocharger.
Matched to a 6-speed manual transmission (save the manuals!) it delivers an impressive 268 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. This is good enough to take this WRX from 0-100 km/h in just 5.4 seconds while reaching a top speed of 232 km/h. You are certain to notice a little turbo-lag from the engine, but it shouldn’t get in the way of putting a smile on your face with each press of the accelerator.
Stopping power is exceptional with 4-wheel/4-sensor/4-channel ABS Brembo brakes that feature discs all-around (ventilated front/solid rear) EBD, Brake Assist and Active Torque Vectoring. Coming to a rapid and controlled stop is never an issue, even in the wet, there were no unwanted surprises.
Taking corners at speed is probably one of the main reasons why people buy a sport sedan such as this. I wouldn’t be surprised if Subaru has a deal with Gorilla Glue; it simply grabs onto asphalt and dares you to find the limits of adhesion. Fully independent suspension front and rear, stabilizer bars, a performance tuned suspension and Subaru symmetrical full-time All-wheel drive plus 245/40R18 Dunlop SP Sport Maxx RT tires offer a drive experience few cars in this price range can match.
Inside, the WRX Sport-tech RS is equal business and pleasure. Plant yourself in either the driver or passenger front seat and there just aren’t enough superlatives available to describe how well the designers have done their work.
A 3-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel features thumb grips and red stitching for added sportiness. A full complement of features is available at your fingertips including cruise control, audio adjustment, Bluetooth and more.
Leather, or the Ultrasuede front and rear seats in our test vehicle, is standard with this trim option. So too is the 8-way power driver seat, 4-way manual passenger seat, soft-touch accents and all the power accessories you can imagine. Rear seats are equally well crafted and offer 60/40 fold-down capability.
Round white on black gauges dominate the instrument cluster. The infotainment system is controlled via a standard 7-inch high-resolution touch screen with navigation. It is user-friendly, but by today’s standards lacking a little in size and features. The Harmon Kardon 9-speaker, subwoofer and 320-Watt audio system delivers a theatre-quality stereo experience. A power glass sunroof allows light to fill the interior cabin, while the floor is enhanced with drilled-metal pedals for that added rally touch.
Storage space throughout is excellent, including the fully carpeted trunk. Multiple cupholders are well-placed and backseat legroom is better than expected.
If driving an everyday sports car seems impossible because you have a few kids and all the stuff that goes with it, the 2020 Subaru WRX Sport-tech RS might still be your ticket to ride. Although the performance is a little less inspiring when compared to the STI, the overall drive experience and ride comfort is sure to leave a long-lasting positive impression.
2020 Subaru WRX Sport-tech RS
Configuration: front-engine, all-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 2.0L 4-cylinder turbo/6-speed manual
Power/torque: 268 hp/ 258 lb-ft
Fuel capacity: 60L
Fuel economy ratings: 9.9 L/100 km combined
Warranties: 3-years/60,000 km (basic)
Competitors: Audi A3, Honda Civic Si, Ford Focus ST, Hyundai Veloster N, Volkswagen Golf GTI