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5 Ways Subaru’s New Global Platform Improves the 2018 Subaru WRX STI

The new Subaru Global Platform shows up on the 2017 Impreza first, and you will see it on the redesigned 2018 Subaru WRX STI.

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The new 2017 Subaru Impreza will tell us a lot about the next-generation 2018 Subaru WRX STI. There’s 5 ways the new Subaru Global Platform will change the new STI performance sedan. The 2017 Impreza is the first model to get Subaru's new modular platform and to feature the brand's new design language. What can it tell us about the next-gen WRX STI?

Longer, wider and lower

It will likely grow slightly longer, wider and lower than the current model. Impreza’s wheelbase grew by an inch to 105.1 inches. Both sedan and five-door hatchback models are 1.6 inches longer, 1.5 inches wider and 0.4 inch lower than the current car. Look for the WRX STI to have a slightly longer, wider and lower stance too.

Improved ride, driving dynamics and safety

Performance enthusiasts will see noticeable changes in the WRX STI’s driving dynamics. In a nutshell, the new underpinnings will reduce vibrations and produce a smoother ride quality. The body and chassis will be 70-100 percent more rigid which will translate to improved steering response, and the increased rigidity of the suspension mounting will reduce body roll by 50 percent compared to current models like we see in the new Impreza.

The WRX STI will also have a lower center of gravity improving driving dynamics in the corners producing a more dynamic ride. Subaru says the new global platform underpinning the 2017 Impreza improves crash energy absorption by 40 percent over present models. Expect the same in the 2018 Subaru WRX STI.

More power is coming

Subaru will likely put the new-generation 2.0-liter turbo powerplant in the WRX STI and replace the aging 2.5-liter boxer. The Japan-only Subaru WRX STI S207 with the 2.0-liter mill already produces 325 horsepower. Look for Subaru to update the STI’s engine and give it more hp and torque than the current 2.5-liter engine. The new global platform will easily accommodate the new-gen STI’s extra power.

The new Global Platform will mean the next-generation 2018 Subaru WRX STI will get some significant improvements over the current generation performance model. It will grow slightly bigger, get an improved ride, driving dynamics and safety, and a new more powerful boxer engine.

Source: Subaru

Photo: Subaru

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Dana (not verified)    September 17, 2016 - 9:50PM

Being 0.4" lower is a huge negative to me. The current WRX is already too low. I constantly have issues in snow because the car becomes a snowplow with just a few inches of snow. I also had issues at a campsite recently where the car was bottoming out just getting to the camping spot. That same weekend at a rally event, I saw multiple people in their WRX having issues finding suitable parking because of ground clearance. To call it rally inspired now is drifting further from reality.. now it is road inspired. Advertising as the outdoor camping/hiking/back woods do it all family sports car is becoming misleading.

Dan (not verified)    September 19, 2016 - 9:53AM

In reply to by Dana (not verified)

Agreed completely! This is the main reason I sold my beautiful BMW M235i and kept my '02 WRX. I am not liking the direction of the new WRX's. Once they lose the ability to drive comfortably down a gravel road (or in the snow) then they are just another sports car.

Jason (not verified)    September 23, 2016 - 8:36PM

In reply to by Dana (not verified)

I've owned 3 Subaru's already, my most current being a 2011 WRX.. A buddy of mine has a 2015 and our ground clearance is nearly identical... I've had zero issues driving down dirt roads, through the woods etc.. My 2005 Legacy was lower and I didn't ever have an issue with that car either, even after lowering a full inch.. The only Subaru's I see marketed as camping/hiking/backwoods are usually the Outback and the Crosstrek, never the WRX or sti.. I see what you're getting at with the Rally heritage but cars that are comparable the WRX or STi would never be able to compete with jacked up suspension.. My 2005 WRX I thought had way too high of suspension for stock

Alan (not verified)    November 10, 2016 - 5:46PM

In reply to by Jason (not verified)

Absolutely agreed. I have a 2015 WRX and have had literally zero ground clearance issues.
I think the front is a bit high but the car sits perfectly above curbs and any bumps you will encounter.
I have taken it down plenty of Dirt/Bumpy roads and was very surprised that I didn't scrape.
This includes blasting down the dirt roads at a not so safe speed. Just my two cents

SubaStar (not verified)    September 21, 2016 - 3:27PM

Even if Subaru keeps claiming its WRX STI has rally roots, it's clear today the manufacturer is now watching more to the tracks than than the rally stages... A few years ago, STI has entered the 24 h NBR Challenge with the WRX and won its class for most races. Many marketing pictures show the car on a track, probably because tracks are smarter than muddy roads...
Will it be more appealing for new incoming buyers ?

Z (not verified)    September 30, 2016 - 6:12PM

Sold our 2015 Forester XT for a 2014 WRX hatch. Still have the Sti sedan but there is no current Subaru that meets my needs. Four in the past and VW or Ford from now on.

Kris (not verified)    October 6, 2016 - 9:39PM

Why does it keep getting bigger?
I don't want to buy a boat.
My kid could design better looking car than current models.

sevag (not verified)    October 14, 2016 - 3:16PM

Im sorry Subaru but you're just not the same to me anymore. I mean its good that they're selling more cars, but to me it just feels like they are forgetting who they are. they're all about safety now. they've lost the heritage. I feel like is all ignored now. Subaru died for me after 2007. The older models just had more character and personality.The newer subaru owners are so different now to. they never wave or say hi. It feels to me that they dont know what they have. they just know that its a cool looking car and it goes fast and thats it! they arent aware of all the other things that goes along with owning a subaru. all the guys in the older OG models always say whats up and they know what they're driving and what it represents.

Scott (not verified)    November 5, 2016 - 6:01PM

In reply to by sevag (not verified)

haha your complaining that new subi owners don't wave at you? I hate it when other sti or wrx people wave at me it's annoying. Just because we own stis doesn't make us friends. When other subi owners wave at me I look the other way. It's childish and totally something high schoolers do. I also hate it when other subi owners try talking to me at stop lights. Like I'm not your friend don't talk to me. It's annoying that's why we don't do that carp it's dumb.

SBox (not verified)    December 5, 2016 - 9:50AM

In reply to by sevag (not verified)

That focus on uniqueness killed SAAB. Subaru has to toe the line between fanboys and staying a viable car company. When AWD is on everything from minivans to Taurus SHO, you have to appeal to a broader base.

vic (not verified)    October 22, 2016 - 2:24PM


T-Wrx (not verified)    November 30, 2016 - 9:39PM

In reply to by vic (not verified)

I hope that's the truth! I purchased a 2016 and will have it paid off by very early 2021. If they release the new model as a 2019 in 2020, I can pay mine off and drive it for a year and a half then get the new version based on their new platform in the late 2nd or early 3rd model year.

Ian (not verified)    October 24, 2016 - 11:00AM

I think the lowering will further improve road handling which is the direction of the Wrx/sit platform. Some time ago the benchmark in driving dynamics was a BMW M3 (although it far from that). Anyway for those concerned with ground clearance it's only a set of springs away from being set up for off road duty. Some King Springs will easily raise the car over 1" and you you get the improved platform benefits. I understand that may be annoying to have to do so to get want you want but the platform is set up for the greatest common denominator which is road use. I still have my 02 as well but plan on moving on to a better platform and I can easily correct any things I don't like about the car with the aftermarket.

BT (not verified)    January 24, 2017 - 12:51PM

Uh, this is completely wrong. The 2018's are NOT moving to the global platform. They are are still on the same chassis as the 2015-2017's and that will continue until they release the next-gen of the car.

Blong (not verified)    January 29, 2017 - 8:33PM

A turbo, MT Crosstrek (Crosstrek XTi?) would be awesome. Keep it higher for the more off-road feel like the older WRXs had. It'd be one heck of a hot hatch.