Some of our favorite online reads released their initial driving impressions of the new for '08 Subaru Impreza WRX STI, and the consensus seems to be that the new STI is a big step forward, with a competent combination of daily usability and track-ready driving dynamics.

InsideLine asks at the beginning of their article, WWPSD? (What Would Petter Solberg Drive?) A valid question considering that the Subaru wheelman has been getting trounced by hatches recently, and the new model's five-door setup reflects his desire to remain competitive in the world of WRC.

The wider track and longer wheelbase seems to pay dividends in steering feel, while the new rear double-wishbone layout eats up road imperfections with ease. The 2.5-liter four (producing 305 hp and 290 lb. ft. of torque) with variable valve timing both on the intake and exhaust cams doesn't speak as loudly as its dad, but even though redline has been dropped by 300 rpms (from 7k to 6,700), the engine is a force to be reckoned with. One problem though: in order to get the full dollop of power, Subaru recommends 93 octane – a tough order for those of us saddled with 91 piss fuel.

As expected, the interior is a dramatic improvement, although some complained about the seat's lack of bolstering (Americans can be skinny Subaru), and first gear is apparently super short, causing bouts of over revving on take off. The Brembo-sourced stoppers are the best ever offered on an STI, holding up to relentless pounding and, according to Motive, "talk" to the driver.

Follow the links to check out the reviews from InsideLine, Motive and Popular Mechanics.


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