Subaru WRX STI Gains More Horsepower for 2019


Subaru announced pricing for the 2019 WRX and its big-winged STI variant this week, making special mention that the spicier option will receive a boost in horsepower and performance. It’s something enthusiasts have been clamoring for, but those seeking massive gains will probably be a bit disappointed. The aftermarket is likely to play a part in the lives of many a WRX STI, despite the factory upgrade.

Meanwhile, the more-humble WRX will go mostly unchanged for the 2019 model year. Subaru has said it will persist with the 268-horsepower 2.0-liter boxer engine and symmetrical all-wheel drive system with torque vectoring. However, it does get a new 6.5-inch high-resolution touchscreen with smartphone integration and a rear-view camera.

Those optioning for the “Sport Lineartronic” CVT also get the benefit of Subaru’s EyeSight driver assist suite. But we can’t recommend it over the six-speed manual without feeling a little dirty.  

The STI also keeps its current engine, a turbocharged 2.5-liter boxer, but Subaru tacked on 5 additional ponies for the 2019 model year. It now boats 310 hp, thanks to a new air intake, high-flow exhaust system, and a retuned ECU. Subaru assures us that stronger pistons have been installed to help the engine cope with this massive influx of power. What’s potentially more exciting, however, is the STI’s upgraded manual, which has its 3rd gear ratio revised to improve acceleration.

Subaru didn’t say what kind of difference it would make. We’ve noticed that 3rd gear in the STI always seems to come in right before 60 mph, and often wondered if the company would change things up to alleviate that non-problem and improve upon the (somewhat irrelevant) metric popularly used to measure the acceleration of road cars. However, we doubt this particular gearing modification will do much for that. It could help it get to 100 mph a bit more swiftly, though.

In addition to wilder body work and more power, the STI offers a few other things the standard WRX doesn’t. Additional features include a multi-mode driver-controlled center differential and unique instrument cluster.

Both cars will receive a limited number of special-edition “Series.Gray” vehicles, painted in Subaru’s Cool Gray Khaki color. It’s a very interesting hue. We’ve seen it on the Crosstrek and it can hit the eyes as totally flat grey or an almost baby blue, depending on lighting. Limited to 750 WRX models and only 250 STIs, the grey cars will only be sold as six-speed manuals and possess a number of unique features: black alloy wheels, crystal silica badging, upgraded brake pads, steering-responsive headlights. The STI version of the grey also receives Bilstein-tuned sport suspension and dampers.

Expect to pay more for these than the standard models, which also see a modest increase in price for the 2019 model year. Pricing starts at $28,080 for the WRX and $37,480 for the WRX STI, both of which include the $885 destination fee. Checking the Series.Gray box tacks on an additional $3,100. Deliveries should begin this summer.

[Image: Subaru]