The Subaru WRX STI Series.White Is Likely to Be the Current Model's Swan Song

Paint the color of a swan's feathers, bronze wheels and some hardware tweaks set this STI apart from those that came before.

subaru
Subaru

What is it?

The last version, most likely, of the current Subaru WRX STI — the elder statesman of the cheap speed set. (Not to be confused with the STI S209, an even sportier version of the car that would have probably made more sense to be the last special edition, but hey.)

Is it new?

The paint job is. The Series White (or “Series.White,” as Subaru annoyingly styles it) is a limited-edition car for the 2020 model year, with 500 examples each of the WRX and STI being made in this configuration.

This, for the record, is not the first time Subaru has rolled out a color-themed “Series” special edition; back in 2018, the company released Series Gray versions that brought their own mix of performance tweaks and colorway changes to the WRX and STI.

subaru
Subaru

What makes it special?

There’s the Ceramic White paint, of course, along with the forged BBS wheels in matte bronze. (True Subie cognoscenti will not the cherry blossom red accents, as well.) Those wheels wear sticky Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, serving up more grip than a regular STI and working with the sportier suspension tuning to up the lateral performance.

There are heavy-duty steering rack mounts for greater rigidity and better steering feel, as well as 6-piston monoblock Brembo brake calipers up front and 2-piston ones in the rear. Inside, the seats are wrapped in black leather and Ultrasuede for that sporty feelin’, while the leather-wrapped steering wheel boasts red stitching to make it pop.

How does it drive?

Pretty much like any other STI, to be frank. Unless you had the chance to hoon them back-to-back on the same track or stretch of road, it’d be hard to tell the difference between the Series White and a STI of any other color.
By the standards of modern cars, the aging STI feels even older than it is (it launched in 2015, but is based on the Impreza generation that rolled out in 2011). The steering is accurate, but heavy; maneuvering around on city streets, you might wonder if the power steering is out, but take to a back road and it comes alive. All-wheel-drive grip means 310 horsepower never feels like too much for this little car, and the suspension feels ready to attack a track — if a bit over-the-top for pockmarked city streets.

The turbocharged 2.5-liter flat-four makes sounds only Subaru fans will love, but there’s no arguing with the punch; once the boost pressure is up, the STI rips away like a rocket, with midrange and high-end punch that’ll let you carve up corners and through traffic like you’re in The Fast and the Furious (which, incidentally, is what that giant rear wing will make you think of every time you see it). Be warned, though: this four-cylinder engine earns just 22 miles per gallon on the highway, thanks to its lofty power output, old-school design and short gear ratios, and you’ll see worse in real life.

subaru
Subaru

What’s it like inside?

Again, largely like any STI — which is to say, like a 10-year-old economy car with sporting pretensions. That’s not to malign the Impreza; it was a very well-designed compact for its era, but times have changed. The two-tier infotainment system looks outdated, especially compared to Subaru’s later efforts, and the materials don’t have the look or feel you’d find in newer cars of this ilk, like the Honda Civic or Mazda 3.Still, the seating position is good, with a steering wheel and shift lever that are easy to use and satisfying to hold. Plus, it’s easy to see out in every direction other than dead astern, where the wing blocks your view of things like police car light bars.

What’s it cost?

$43,595. That’s $6,600 more than the basic WRX STI, but only $1,900 more than the STI Limited that it’s closer to in content. Given that just 500 examples will be made, we’d say it’s worth going for the Series White over the Limited if you have the chance. After all, it’s way more likely to command a premium in 15 years on Bring a Trailer.

The 2020 Subaru WRX STI Series.White:

Powertrain: 2.5-liter turbocharged flat-four; six-speed manual; all-wheel-drive

Horsepower: 310

Torque: 290 pound-feet

EPA Fuel Economy: 17 mpg city, 22 mpg highway

Seats: Five, if the people in back are small

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