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In the Maxim Garage: 2011 Subaru Impreza WRX

Those who know about the Subaru WRX, know. Like the older dude who pulled up to my loaner WRX at a red light in a Corvette ZR1 and proceeded to torch me on green.

I was impressed. Not because the $111,000 supercar beat this one. Duh. I was impressed because the guy saw the WRX and thought competition. See, unless they’ve followed X Games Rally or The Fast and Furious franchise, most folks wouldn’t ID the WRX as a fast car. It is.

The hatchback’s sleeper looks should be helpful when you’re convincing the wife (or your parents) to let you pull the trigger on a lease. After that, you’re off to the races.    

Mash the throttle and the turbo’d 2.5-liter engine slings you forward like a rubber band. Its symmetrical all wheel drive aggressively grabs the tarmac, while a stiff suspension keeps the car planted, wherever. 

While you’re getting fast, it will get loud. A bassy thrum persists. This sounds great when you’re hooning the car by yourself, but one friend complained that my test car sounded like a bus from the backseat. This may or may not be a problem, depending whether or not you have friends.   

Powertrain upgrades to last year’s model knocked a half tick off the car’s 0-60 time; those remain largely unchanged while a body kit gives the WRX the flagship STI model’s lower, wider stance. Inside, one piece sport seats and aluminum-covered pedals up the fast factor.

On the street, this thing looks pretty badass...again, to those who know. And unless you’re gonna go up against ZR1’s everyday, you’ll be in good shape.


2011 Subaru Impreza WRX
from $24,995
Engine: 2.5-liter Boxer 4-cylinder
Torque: 244 lb.-ft. @ 4,000 rpm
Horsepower: 265 @ 6,000 rpm
0-60: 4.8 sec