The VA chassis
To enthusiast, Subaru has been the butt of many jokes and memes alike. Blown head gaskets, ring land failure, the spinning rod bearing of death, are all notorious ways this boxer engine dies. Yet, so many people still have a strong passion for these cars. America waited for 10 years to get a turbocharged Impreza after its release in 1992. Then another two years to get the fabled STI. The world watched through those long awaited years as Subaru’s world rally team dominated the WRC. The little turbocharged Impreza would become one of the most admired automobiles among tuner enthusiasts around the world.
That brings us to their latest chassis. The VA. On the verge of Subaru developing a new chassis for its replacement, I want to give you my review of what might be the last platform the EJ257 is put into. Subaru has been involved with many different racing series to help develop their flagship sports sedan. From rally stages here in the Southern Ohio Forests, to endurance racing on the Nurburgring, this latest chassis has seen it all. So what has all the racing heritage and years of development brought to the table?
When you think of the Subaru STI, there is only one color that really sticks out. World Rally Blue. They’ve had the color for many years now and it continues to be a best seller among enthusiasts. Obviously they offered many other colors, including some special editions. After the beautiful pearl paint job, you’ll notice some aggressive aero built in and attached to the body work. As air comes at the face of the car, it gets divided under, through, and over the front bumper cover. Going under, a series of panels flow air smoothly to the back. Going through the bumper cover air keeps the radiator and a/c condenser in check. As the air goes over the cover, it will be sucked in by a large mouth hood scoop providing cool air for the top mounted intercooler. Going over the roofline, the air will be forced down when meeting the large wing on the trunk lid.
Where rubber meets the road, Subaru chose the very capable Yokohama Advan Sport tire. A very sticky when hot compound that is ready for light track use and aggressive street use. They wrapped the 245/35 Yokohama tire onto a beautiful gunmetal 19x8.5" wheel. Behind the wheels are the large Brembo brake calipers with drilled rotors front and back. Making stopping very easy. The suspension package, that is STI model specific, is very stiff. Again making this car very capable on winding back roads or at the local track.
I have read plenty of reviews on these cars, as I was looking to purchase one. A majority of them were displeased with the simplistic interior design and the lack of technology it is equipped with. However, that is what makes the interior so superior. This wasn't built to be a modern hub for making business calls. This was built to take care of business on the road. For me anyway, I wanted a drivers car, something that has me connected to the car and not my phone. It’s not over the top with more technology than I know how to use either. The less aggressive Recaro seats are very comfortable for a longer trip, yet give just enough support to keep you snug. Adding to the comfortability, is the fact that they are covered with suede so you won’t slide from side to side around sharp turns. They added red seatbelts to match the red accents that come standard on the Recaro seats.
The EJ257 has been the power plant for the US STI since 2004 when it was released into our market. They have made various adjustments and improvements over the long period of time. The latest version rated with 310hp/290tq from the factory. Many critics found the engine to be outdated and having some turbo lag. Getting some time behind the wheel, you will find that is simply not true. Well, the turbo lag issue anyway. The fuel mileage could definitely be better. Being a drivers car, you really need to be in the correct gear if you want to expose the power-band. The mighty flat four boxer engine is mated to a 6-speed gear box, with the STI standard DCCD control switch. Grip is distributed by front and rear limited-slip differentials. When driving the latest STI you aldo have the choice of 3 driving modes, Intelligent, Sport, and Sport Sharp. Lastly the exhaust is pushed out of the engine, through the turbocharger, and routed under the car where it splits into two dual tip mufflers giving it a unique sound as it drives past you.
It is very easy to tell that Subaru wanted to to feel something when you sat down in their sports sedan. Gripping the leather wrapped steering wheel you can understand these cars are instant classics, and will continue to dominate racing series around the world. The well-built chassis will keep you confident in any weather condition and even on any racing track. And of course going through the gears revving the “outdated” boxer, you’ll agree that this engine, this chassis, will go down as one of the greatest sports car ever produced. Jokes aside, the EJ lives on.