2011 Subaru WRX STI launched in NZ with auto box

2011 Subaru WRX STI launched in NZ with auto box

The 2011 Subaru WRX STI has been launched in NZ and for the first time is being offered with a automatic transmission.

It’s a sign of the times, with the new STI auto providing a solution for buyers who spend time in commuter traffic, but still want a performance car to do some weekend excursions or get leery on NZ backroads.

To enhance the automatic driving experience the STI auto comes with steering column mounted paddle shifters so manual gear changes can be made.

But Subaru has not forsaken its high performance roots either and the 2011 model year sees the return of an STI sedan model with a large boot mounted rear wing, which has not been available since 2007.

With the choice of a close ratio six speed manual and five speed automatic gearbox and sedan and hatchback bodies, the STI is now available in four different models.

“STI is still great value for money and should now appeal to more potential buyers,” said Wallis Dumper, the Managing Director of Subaru of New Zealand. “It gives us the opportunity to meet performance car buyers’ needs for daily ease of use in our bigger cities where most of our sales occur, but provides the enjoyment factor for weekends away or trips that have a great driving experience attached.”

At a launch price starting from $59,990 until the new GST regime kicks in the STI auto comes with 221 kWs at 6200 rpm from the 2.5 litre turbocharged quad cam Boxer engine, which produces 350Nm of torque between 3000 and 6000 rpm. The manual has the same 221 kWs of peak power at 6000 rpm but boasts a larger 407 Nm of torque at 4000 rpm.

The STI comes with Subaru’s programmed SI-Drive with its three different performance characteristics. The Intelligent mode with gentle response produces the best economy, while the Sport is ideal for daily use and Sport # (sharp) gives you the most direct throttle response and precise rev control across the entire rpm range. This is done by changing the behaviour of the electronic throttle control and the engine control unit.

The paddle shift automatic has “blipping” control via the ECU (Electronic Control Unit) for smooth downshifts at speed.

Power is distributed 45:55 between the front and rear axles on straight dry roads, but there is continuously variable distribution at all times.

The six-speed close ratio manual transmission comes with (DCCD) Driver Controlled Centre Differential. This allows the driver to manually adjust the torque between the front and rear wheels, for the ideal balance of traction and agility on any road surface.

The most obvious visible change to the lineup for 2011 is the return of the STI sedan. The flared wheel arches are more prominent and the grille and bumper design is all new. The Xenon headlights with washers are self-leveling and turn off automatically when the key is removed from the ignition.

A rear diffuser now incorporates the mufflers with their four tail pipes, where the Boxer engine’s distinctive throaty growl is emitted. And the boot lid is dominated by the large wing, which is aerodynamically tuned to the car and complements the large under floor aerodynamic cover to smooth the airflow.

The STI sits on 18-inch Enkei alloy wheels with a high lustre finish.

Both the front and rear anti-roll bars have been increased in diameter by 1 mm to 21 mm and 19 mm respectively and the spring rates have also been upped by 15.6 and 53 percent at the front and rear respectively, with complementing tuning of the shock absorbers to improve roll rigidity.

The braking system now has 16-inch callipers to improve performance and pad wear sensors have been added to all four wheels instead of the previous right hand side only.

In the cabin darker metallic cast textures are used for the dashboard, door and window switch decorative panel. The windows now have an anti-trap system and an ignition off time delay use. The gauges have a more detailed scale and the needles sweep around the gauge face when the ignition is turned on. Bluetooth switching is located on the steering wheel.

Safety features include ventilated disc ABS anti-lock brakes with EBD and BA. There are six air bags, pretensioners and load limiters on the front seat belts, which have height adjustable shoulder mounts.

Creature comforts include a 10 speaker sound system with USB/auxiliary jack point and Bluetooth hands free capability and main controls on the steering wheel. Remote control central locking with vehicle immobiliser system and alarm, climate control air conditioning, cruise control, height and reach adjustable steering column are standard.

An STI Spec R available to special order adds BBS alloy wheels, Recaro seats with leather and Alcantara upholstery and an electric sunroof.

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