Fast and furious: Subaru Impreza WRX STI

Once in a while I get to test-drive a car that gets so much reaction from people, it’s almost embarrassing.

Once in a while I get to test-drive a car that gets so much reaction from people, it’s almost embarrassing.

The 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX STI garnered many a thumbs up, and honks from kids and grownups.

Let’s get this straight: The WRX is not a car that you should buy for your kids, no matter how much disposable income you have or how much you want your kids to like you. This is a serious automobile — seriously fast. Underneath the hood with that giant air intake sits a 305-horsepower, intercooled, turbocharged monster that will propel you from standing to 60 in around five seconds by way of a six-speed stick.

For those of you who are really into pocket rockets like the Subaru, you’re saying, hey wait, the previous model was faster with less horsepower. True, but this is a completely different car that is much more livable for every day driving.

There are so many buttons and dials to control things like the center differential that you might want to take the owners manual to bed to learn how all this stuff works.

I won’t get into the details now, but if you’re wondering why a little car with four cylinders goes for $39,000, it’s because this little baby packs a lot of technology.

The new hatchback version looks great. The flared fenders and the rear wing are rad. And the driving experience is great, too. Let’s face it, most of you will spend 99 percent of the time in our lousy traffic. Your car might as well be comfortable, and fast. That’s the difference between the new and old STI. The ’08 is more civil and easier on your body.

Gas mileage is rated at 16 miles per gallon in the city and 23 on the highway. Trust me, if you drive this car like it was designed, you won’t be getting 16 mpg in the city. I didn’t.

If you’re in the market for a crazy-fast compact car, you might want to take the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X for a test drive. It has also been redesigned and is a direct competitor to Subaru.

All in all, I had a great week in the 2008 WRX STI, and I stayed out of trouble.

Mike West writes about automotive and transportation-related subjects. He can be reached at