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OH NO! Subaru slushes Impreza STi
Posted : 07/07/2010
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In Tarmac #5, we reported that Subaru Japan had announced the Impreza STi A-line, an automatic version of the Impreza STi, a car criticised for its 'softer' nature.
But instead of a transmission like Mitsubishi's superb twin-clutch six-speed SST gearbox, Subaru instead chose a conventional slushbox five-speed auto, with paddles and downshift blipping. Not quite what you'd call 'advanced' technology.
But we also stated - and was confirmed by Subaru Australia - at the time, there were no plans for the auto on the Australian market, for which we were very thankful.
Proving the sorry state Subaru's performance sector seems to be in at the moment (no WRC program, no ARC entrants, very few tarmac rally cars), Subaru Australia will in fact introduce the automatic STi later this year when it launches the STi sedan. In Jap spec it ran the same 221kW as the manual, so fingers crossed we don't get a detuned version.
No doubt the auto will satisfy those who prefer a self-shifter (and for daily driving, that's certainly us!) and it will undoubtedly pull back auto market share owned by Mitsubishi, but when the sequential shift pattern is the wrong way (push to upshift), and the gearbox is old-tech, let's hope it's a more successful partnership than the Liberty B4, Liberty Spec B 3.0R and many other Subaru turbo auto combos that have been driving duds compared to their manual versions. Or that in the past 12 months, Subaru has developed a better 'box.
See Subaru Australia's press release below, complete with capital 'I' in STi, despite the cars still using STi badges, furthering its cause for confusion with Sexually Transmitted Infections...

Press release

Impreza WRX STI The Automatic Choice

Subaru Australia has announced that the Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive Model Year 2011 Impreza WRX STI will be available for the first time with the choice of an automatic transmission.

Following on from the news that sedan variants are to be reintroduced to the range, Nick Senior, Managing Director, Subaru Australia, said: “We can now confirm that the revised sedan and hatchback Impreza WRX STIs will add the option of a five-speed automatic transmission.

“We’ve had increasing enquires about an auto over the last two years and we’re delighted to be able to deliver what a significant number of customers have requested.”

Mr Senior said the transmission would reflect the performance and engineering values of STI to produce a “fantastic driver’s car that will expand its appeal to a wider audience.”

Impreza WRX STIs will also continue to be available with a six-speed manual transmission.

Unveiled at the New York International Auto Show this year, revised Impreza WRX STI sedan and hatch are due on sale during the last quarter of 2010. Subaru STI specialist retailers are now taking orders.

Pricing and full specifications will be announced at launch time.

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