What Is the Difference Between WRX and STI? Detailed Review

“What is the difference between WRX and STI?” is a question that many car enthusiasts try to determine the answer to. Both cars are made by Subaru and come with impressive performance, attractive interior designs, and powerful engines.

Difference Between Sti and Wrx

These cars have some similarities, like their sports sedan designs with a turbocharged engine, all-wheel drive, and manual transmission or continuous variable transmission. But this doesn’t mean that both cars are the same, and our article covers the differences you need to know.

Features Subaru WRX Subaru STI
Engine 2.4-liter DOHC turbocharged engine 2.5-liter turbocharged engine
Horsepower  271 305
Torque  258 lb-ft 290 lb-ft
Trims  Basic, Premium, Limited  Base, Limited with Lip Spoiler, Limited with Wing Spoiler
Transmission  6-speed manual, continuous variable transmission 6-speed manual


What Is the Main Difference Between WRX and STI?

The main difference between WRX and STI is in their power and performance, as the STI model has a stronger engine, more powerful brakes, stiffer springs and thicker tires than the WRX. While both are high-performance cars, the Subaru STI has more power than the Subaru WRX.

On the Subaru WRX STI, you get 305 horsepower and 290 pound-feet of torque, which is way more than the 271 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque offered by the WRX model. It should not be confused with the Subaru Impreza WRX.
Aside from that, they have other differences in their styling, trim levels, brakes, and suspensions. Here are the various ways both car models differ.

– Engine Power and Performance

The most obvious comparative difference between the two models is their engine power. The Subaru WRX STI is powered by the EJ25 engine, which is a 2.5-liter turbocharged flat-four engine with 305 horsepower. As for the WRX, it uses a newer motor called the FA20. This is a 2.4-liter turbocharged flat-four engine with 271 horsepower.

Their driving performances are also different, as you can accelerate from 0 to 60 in 4.8 seconds when using the STI, but it takes 5.4 seconds with the WRX model. If you’re choosing your car based on speed, you should consider this.

– Transmission

Even if both cars come with a six-speed manual transmission, they are not exactly the same. The WRX also has a simulated 7-speed continuous variable transmission gearbox, which is powerful. On the WRX STI, you get a TY85 transmission, which is a fully synchronized close-ratio system for more power.

– Suspension

In terms of the suspension, the Subaru models have different setups and ride heights. While both cars are designed with independent suspension in all corners, the STI has a high-performance tuned suspension, while the WRX features a sport-tuned suspension.

The WRX suspension is designed to take some abuse for off-road driving, but it would also run smoothly on a city road. As for the STI suspension, it takes even more punishment, but this makes it a bit uncomfortable and stiff for riding in the city.

– Brakes

Another difference between both models is their brakes. Both cars are designed with brake discs all around, but while the WRX features standard solid disc brakes, the STI has something more powerful. The Subaru STI is equipped with Brembo brakes, which are designed with 2 piston calipers in the back, six in the front, and ventilated discs.

– Trim Levels

Both car models have different trim levels that you should keep in mind. With the WRX, you can choose between WRX Base, WRX Premium and WRX Limited, which cost between $29,000 and $33,000. As for the WRX STI, it comes with two trim levels, as STI Limited is divided into two. The other level is Base. The cars cost between $38,000 and $43,000.

While the STI has limited options in terms of its trims, they are more expensive. You can consider the price if you are working with a tight budget. The cars are also different in the types of upgrades that you can get. From the base WRX, you can upgrade to an exhaust system and shift mode from the STI model. You can also upgrade some parts of the WRX Premium.

Another aspect to consider when looking at the trims is the standard equipment they come with. The base models of both cars are designed with different features, but the STI offers more. It comes with a 7.0-inch multimedia system, which is an upgrade of the 6.5-inch screen on the WRX model. Keep in mind that the 2023 WRX has a 7.0-inch screen.

The STI Base also comes with heated front seats, keyless access, a dual-zone climate control system, a steering responsive headlights system, automatic headlights, and leather-trimmed upholstery. As for the WRX Base, they come with some features like keyless entry, electronic cruise control, and a rear vision camera.

– Style

Both cars look the same when you consider their style, and most car owners can only differentiate them based on the fact that the STI has a wing at the back of the exterior. But you can also notice that the STI has a rear diffuser, bigger breaks and wheels, and badges on the grill and back. The WRX does not have these features.

You might also notice some differences in their interior design. The interior features a DCCD selector behind the stick of the STI, as it has a regular handbrake. This is unlike the electronic handbrake on the WRX. You will also notice STI badges on the wheel, gauges and dash. It features a red shift knob too.

One way to differentiate the cars is if you see an automatic transmission. This is only found on WRX models, as WRX STI only comes with a manual. This makes it a fantastic choice for drivers who prefer manual driving.

– Speed

The STI is faster than the WRX by about 0.6 seconds. While the STI can reach 0-60 in 4.8 seconds with a top speed of around 155 mph, the WRX will reach the same in 5.4 seconds while the top speed is 145 mph.

You should buy an STI over a WRX if you are looking for more speed and performance, especially on the track. The STI comes with a stronger engine and brake system, bold styling and design, smooth handling on the manual transmission, and higher horsepower and torque.

Specifications and Features of Subaru WRX

The Subaru WRX is a four-door, compact sports sedan that can hold up to five passengers. The car was released by Subaru in 2017 and is known for being a comfortable cruiser. It offers chuckable handling and a manual gearbox for seamless shifting. On the downside, the car has poor fuel economy, which might discourage some drivers.

Specialties and Qualities of Subaru WRX

It is mostly compared to the Subaru Impreza WRX. When the car was released again in 2023, it returned with rear-seat head restraints, which were designed with safety standards to reduce the chances of whiplash in case of an accident. Aside from this, no other changes were made.

Here are the features of the Subaru WRX model:

  • Engine Performance: It comes with a 2.4-liter flat-four-cylinder engine with 271 horsepower as well as 258 lb-ft of torque. The 2023 model allows you to choose between a six-speed manual or CVT, and all come with an all-wheel drive. You can also opt for the automatic system and the wheels designed with summer performance tires.
  • Fuel Economy: The WRX STI features 22 mpg using the manual transmission and 21 mpg using the CVT automatic.
  • Infotainment system: It comes with a 7.0-inch display in the base and a vertically oriented 11.6-inch screen in other trims. You also get a combination of touch inputs and physical controls and an 11-speaker Harman Kardon sound system.
  • Safety and Driver Assistance: The car model has safety features like forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning, automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist as well as adaptive cruise control.
  • Warranty: It is limited, and the powertrain warranty is for three or five years.

– Pros

Here are some of the advantages that the Subaru WRX offers:

  • Reliable engine with seamless shifting on the gearbox
  • Balanced ride and handling on any terrain
  • AWD offers more power to the ground
  • The 2023 model offers improved infotainment

The Subaru WRX is special because it is designed with all-wheel drive. Most sporty cars come with a front-wheel-drive, but the standard AWD provides a good amount of traction and power while preventing a torque steer. This makes the WRX ideal for mountainous roads.

– Cons

Here are some of the disadvantages of the Subaru WRX:

  • The black plastic cladding looks cheap but can be replaced at a parts center
  • Reduced grip

Specifications and Features of Subaru STI

The Subaru WRX STI is built on the same basis as the WRX, which is why it’s sometimes called the WRX STI. Despite being built on the same chassis, it comes with more advanced features and mechanical parts.

Specifications and Features of Subaru STI

The car is designed with important details, which makes it one of the best sedans in its class. With the double wishbone rear suspension, 4-wheel independent suspension system, and aluminum front lower control arms, it offers a smooth drive with no body roll.

Here are the main features of the WRX STI.

  • Engine Performance: The STI comes with a 2.5-litre turbocharged engine that is paired with a six-speed manual transmission for the racetrack or road. With powerful ventilated brakes featuring Electronic Brake Force Distribution, it is a reliable car that can take a beating.
  • Fuel Economy: The STI features 16 mpg when in the city and 22 mpg when driving on the highway. The fuel economy is worse than that of the WRX.
  • Infotainment system: On the Subaru STI, you get a 5.9-inch color information screen and a 7.0-inch touchscreen. It also features a Starlink infotainment system and some modern features, but it does not have Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity.
  • Safety and Driver Assistance: The car comes with rear cross-traffic alert and blind-spot monitoring. It does not come with a lot of driver assistance technology since it’s a rally car.
  • Warranty: It offers a limited warranty for three years of use or 36,000 miles and a powertrain warranty for five years of use or 60,000 miles. There is no complimentary scheduled maintenance.

– Pros

Here are some of the advantages that the Subaru STI offers:

  • Impressive manual transmission
  • Enthusiastic driving as the car is smooth on the track
  • Rally-bred AWD systems can take a beating

STI stands for Subaru Tecnica International, and it is a series of motorsports cars made by Subaru. The name is used to describe the sportscar-like vehicles that were made by Subaru, which was founded in 1988. The initial purpose was to participate in the World Rally Championship, which is why it is made to be sturdy.

– Cons

Here are some of the disadvantages of the Subaru STI:

  • Less practical and not good for daily use
  • More expensive

Are the WRX and STI More Reliable and Cost-Effective Compared to Audi and Infiniti Models?

When comparing the reliability and costs of Audi vs Infiniti models, it is worth considering the WRX and STI as alternatives. The WRX and STI have established themselves as reliable and cost-effective options for those seeking high performance without breaking the bank. However, it’s important to thoroughly research and consider individual preferences before making a final decision.


Now that you know the various differences between WRX and STI, you can easily choose between both vehicles. Before you go,

we compiled a full summary of both cars:

  • Subaru WRX is a sport sedan that is designed with a 2.4-liter DOHC turbocharged engine and features 271 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque.
  • Subaru STI is a sport sedan based on the WRX chassis, with a 2.5-liter turbocharged engine, 305 horsepower, and 29 lb.-ft of torque.
  • The WRX has a more reliable engine, smooth transmission, AWD and improved infotainment, but on the downside, it has a weak grip.
  • The STI comes with a manual transmission, rally-bred AWD, and a powerful brake and engine, but it is less practical for daily use.
  • The prominent difference between the WRX and STI is that the STI offers better power, is more expensive, and is highly advanced.

With our detailed guide, you can easily purchase between the WRX and STI cars by identifying which one is best for you.

5/5 - (18 votes)
Ran When Parked