MY2002 - Export-Specification Impreza WRX STi

Copyright Subaru Australia

Meanwhile on the other side of the World...

Not to be out done Subaru Australia announced at the Sydney Motorshow that they also would be importing an official STi version of the WRX. Specifications look very similar to the European version, albeit no Prodrive Style version.

Copyright Subaru Australia

Here are some pictures from the Sydney Motorshow. Many thanks to Greg E.


So, the STi is here...what now?

It is great that we are now seeing the introduction of the STi officially. Prices were at introduction in the UK (25,995/24,495), Europe (approx 21,000) and Australia (Aus$55,130). The European price is of interest as this makes the STi cheaper than the WRX here in the UK! It has to be remembered though that importing a WRX from Europe would also give a much cheaper price of around 17,000, with the left hand drive version being slightly cheaper (approx. 16,000). Thus it seems there is approximately a 5000 premium for the WRX STi over the standard model.

Prodrive Style in blue.

The only difference between the standard UK STi and the Prodrive Style version are...

Earlier speculation that the Prodrive Style would be a higher output version did not materialised and whether the above equate to 1,500 of extra value is debateable. Unfortunately for buyers, the standard non Prodrive Style version was in very short supply and not available until June/July so initially the price difference was achedemic (unless of course you import from Europe).

Prodrive Style in (Blue) Black.

So what does the WRX STi give over and above the standard WRX?


The engine with the active valve control, and all of the other goodies mentioned in the press release will be a lot sweeter than the standard WRX. Built to rev to nearly 8000rpm it is better balanced and smoother. Comparing my STi built P1 engine with a standard turbo engine brings similar comparisons. The P1 revs exceedingly easily to the 7,900rpm red line whilst the standard turbo starts dropping off power above 6000rpm.

The 265PS (195kW) developed is probably due to the fact we only have 97RON fuel available here in the UK, whilst 280PS in Japan is made on 100RON fuel. Strange then that many importers/magazine articles have stated that the grey STi developes "around 320bhp" something I have always disputed. The power outputs have also been proved to be almost on the button at recent rolling road events here in the UK too. There are also the European exhaust emissions tests that must be taken into account by the higher specification catalyst which probably robs a bit more power. This should see the power unleashed by a more free flowing replacement exhaust. Of interest is the fact the STi UK has only two catalysts, one in the down pipe just after the turbo and another in the centre box section of the exhaust. The 2001 WRX on the other hand has one also before the turbo in the up pipe.

The STi Aus is for all intensive purposes the same specification as the European car so it is interesting to note particularly the power output. This is the same as ours but the specs say "Minimum fuel requirement: 98 RON for full power". One other interesting difference between the export and Japanese domestic models is that the red line is set at 7,600rpm rather than 7,900 probably again due to non availability of 100 RON fuel.

The value of the preset warning buzzer and light to guard against over-revving the engine might come in useful for when Super Unleaded fuel is a bit scarce and only 95RON can be bought. Manually reset the rev limit for safer driving (and also useful during running in).

STi Prodrive Performance Package

It was a long time in the making with a demonstration to customers as early as May but then supply and development meant it was not released to the paying public until October.

Press Release - 8th October 2002

305 PS Prodrive Developed Performance Pack for Impreza STi

Subaru's iconic Impreza WRX STi can now be fitted with a 305 PS performance pack giving a 155 mph top speed and 0-60 mph time of only 4.6 seconds.

Developed by Banbury-based Prodrive, the power boost costs 1,995 including 2.5 hours for dealer fitment. Initial supplies begin during October 2002, following extensive durability tests.

Not only does power leap from 265 PS (261.5 bhp) to 305 PS (300 bhp) at the same 6,000 rpm but torque rises from the standard STi's 253 lb ft to 299 lb ft, also at the same 4,000 rpm.

The result is not only startling high-rev performance but also more low and mid-speed flexibility. In other words, the car becomes swifter at any speed and in any gear.

Side-by-side tests revealed a 0-60 mph time down from 5.2 seconds to 4.6 seconds and a 0-100 mph figure of 12.2 seconds instead of 13.7 seconds. Quarter mile figures are now 104.7 mph/13.4 seconds instead of 101.4 mph/14 seconds.

The 30-50 mph time in 4th gear drops from a still impressive 5.6 seconds to 4.4 seconds while the 50-70 mph time in 5th is now 4.9 seconds instead of 6.1 seconds. Further up the speed scale, the 80-100 mph time in 6th gear is covered in 6.5 seconds rather than 7.8 seconds.

The performance pack produces more pulling power between 3,000 rpm and 5,800 rpm than the standard STi has at its peak, while at 2,500 rpm, the car has almost 30 per cent more torque.

The pack - which carries Subaru's full three year/60,000 mile warranty - comprises a revised engine control unit (ECU), high-flow catalyst and sports silencer.


The following table gives an interesting comparison of power and torque output for the standard WRX, WRX with Prodrive Performance Pack, STi-UK, STi-UK with PPP and the grey import Japanese Domestic Market STi.

Power output PS @ rpm 218 @ 5600 245 @ 5600 265 @ 6000 305 @ 6000 280 @ 6400
Torque (lb ft) @ rpm 215.4 @ 3600 261 @ 4000 253 @ 4000 299 @ 4000 275 @ 4000

So the STi UK is better than the standard WRX, but better than a WRX with PPP? Certainly a bit short on the Japanese version of the STi (lets not forget the 100RON though). As can be seen it makes an excellent base for increased power output and the Prodrive Performance Pack takes the performance above the JDM STi quite considerably.

Combined with the free revving engine, the six speed gear box will be excellent for drivers who wish for something more sporting than the current model. Comparison of the gear ratios show that the Japanese domestic version of the STi has a lower 5th and 6th ratio than the exported version. Even 6th in the STi is lower than 5th in the WRX, but you have to remember the better balanced engine with a potential for near 8,000 rpm (even if our red line is lower). Sounds like a lot of fun to me. For comparison purposes I have included the old STi 5 speed box ratios. These incidentally are the same as the MY02 Australian WRX.

Gear WRX STi UK STi JDM MY00 STi/P1 MY00 STi R
1st 3.454 3.636 3.636 3.166 3.083
2nd 1.947 2.375 2.375 1.882 2.062
3rd 1.366 1.761 1.761 1.296 1.545
4th 0.972 1.346 1.346 0.972 1.151
5th 0.738 0.971 1.062 0.738 0.825
6th --- 0.756 0.842 --- ---
Final 3.900 3.900 3.900 4.444 4.444

The Brembo brakes are a welcome addition to the STi, the standard Subaru OEM items being one of the first things to be upgraded on the WRX and previous turbos. The fact that both front and back are upgraded is a good thing too as it is particularly difficult to upgrade the rear due to the combined hub assembly. The 17 inch description comes not from the diameter of the disc but their ability to be fitted underneath 17 inch (Subaru) alloys. The same nomenclature was used on the previous "16in" brakes which were in fact 295mm in diameter designed to fit underneath the standard Subaru 16in alloy.

Talking of alloys the surprise item missing (especially on the Prodrive Style version) is the 18 inch alloys that were included on the UK300. Both STi UK models come with the standard STi 225/45x17 alloys and these are slightly bigger than the standard WRX 215/45x17 and are the same width as the UK300 wheels but miss out on the 18in lower profile of 225/40x18 tires. The reason is those brakes. These are pretty huge, even when compared to aftermarket upgrades and many alloy wheels including the original OZ 18in supplied by Prodrive for the UK300, can not fit over them! Then again I have to admit that a wide 17in wheel would be my preference over a slightly impractical 18in alloy that is easily kerbed.

The interior of the STi is a big improvement over the standard WRX. The UK300 special edition also benefitted from the very same seats/upholstery and I would say they are some of the very best and most comfortable/supportiive I have ever experienced.

Quicker Steering Rack?

The press releases from both September and November make mention of a faster steering rack for sharper responses and reducing the number of turns lock to lock to 2.6. Does this mean that the STi UK will get the 13:1 steering rack fitted to the RA? This is surprising as the standard grey import STi gets the same 15:1 rack that the WRX has but with uprated suspension bushes. Remember the P1 was supposed to come with the 13:1 quick rack but never made it into production? Surely not the same mistake again?

I have it on good authority that this is in fact a marketting error. The rack is an STi 15:1 rack with the solid bushes, compared to the standard WRX rubber ones which take the edge off of the steering. The reason there is confusion is due to the reduction in lock to lock due to the wider wheels and tyres! To stop them hitting the suspension/wheel arch/drive shafts etc the lock has been reduced to 2.6. This also means that the turning circle is slightly greater.

Further comparison to the Japanese variation

The original September announcement came at the same time as the release of the STi8 (although technically it isn't) in Japan and a Prodrive Style version there as well. The car looks almost identical except for the following where the Japanese models get the following extras (apart from the power mentioned above):-

  Roof vent as fitted to the Japanese STi Prodrive Style. Copyright Subaru Japan

As well as these official additions they will miss out on the the UK models Type UK badging, Thatcham Cat 1 alarm, locking wheel nuts, extra bodywork protection and RAC Trackstar. All of which (apart from the badging) could be added later.

A word of warning if you are tempted to go for a JDM import via grey channels. The STi is available in Japan with and without the Suretrack differential up front. Make sure your bargain isn't too cheap!

On to page 3 for a test drive report of an STi UK Prodrive Style.

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Page last updated 30th December 2002
Copyright 2001/2 Steve Breen
All photographs on this page (unless otherwise stated) copyright Steve Breen and may not be reproduced in anyway without permission.