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Driving Impressions: Mid-2010 WRX STI Special Edition and WRX Limited – Exploring the Extremes

Subaru expands the Impreza range by taking the WRX and WRX STI to opposite ends of the performance-enthusiast spectrum.


For the WRX STI Special Edition, less is more. For the WRX Limited, more goes beyond Premium. Both cars were unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show in December ad are on sale now.


Subaru Impreza WRX STI Special Edition


The WRX STI Special Edition focuses attention on elements that made the original WRX STi so popular. With upgraded handling components and a return to more basic features, the Special Edition emphasizes pure performance. It does all this at the lowest starting price for a 2010 WRX STI.



The initial production run of the WRX STI Special Edition features 125 units in an exclusive Aspen White exterior. Models produced later will be available in WR Mica Blue, Dark Gray Metallic, and Obsidian Black Pearl.


At the front, the Special Edition has halogen rather than High Intensity Discharge headlights. Around to the sides, the car has standard body-color mirrors without turn signals. It also has been given new charcoal-color 18 x 8.5-inch wheels from the JDM WRX STI spec C.


Mechanically, the suspension also features components from the JDM spec C. The front and rear springs are upgraded – 16 percent stiffer in the front and 29 percent stiffer in the rear. The rear stabilizer bar is 24 percent stiffer, and the rear subframe has been given more substantial bushings.




Inside, the automatic climate control system is replaced by manual air conditioning, and the audio system features a single-disc CD player rather than a 6-disc unit.


In test-drives of the car, clear performance differences were apparent between WRX, WRX STI, and WRX STI Special Edition models. A track session on the Lightning Course at New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, New Jersey, resulted in these impressions:


“The Subaru Impreza WRX STI is a strong track car. For anyone who might consider it too soft, though, the WRX STI Special Edition addresses that issue.”


“Overall, the WRX STI Special Edition provides more precise turn-in and more stable and predictable handling. It promotes greater turn-in confidence by decreasing the sensation of car pitch and body roll. It also provides reassuring track-out when exiting corners.”


“The WRX STI SE allows for more consistent cornering – at entry and exit – at or near threshold levels.”


“Even with its added capability, the WRX STI Special Edition doesn’t compromise ride quality or daily driving characteristics.”

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