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◾Iconic model returns in summer
◾Improvements to driveability, safety and packaging
◾Priced at £28,995 OTR

It seems like only yesterday when the last WRX STI was sold in the UK amid an outcry of sentiment on the sad loss of this iconic model. Less than one year on, Subaru UK confirms the new WRX STI is coming to these shores in summer.

The good news for performance car fans around the country is that as a result of the recent movements in exchange rates, the new model will be priced at a highly competitive £28,995 when it hits showrooms in May, some £4,000 cheaper than its predecessor.

Unveiled at the Detroit motor show earlier today (14 January) the new WRX STI is based on the WRX saloon car launched at the LA show in November, but with some significant enhancements.

During development, Subaru honed the driveability of the new WRX STI to perfection, testing it under a wide variety of conditions around the world. As with past generations of the model, extensive testing also took place on Germany's Nürburgring circuit to ensure the WRX STI is the pinnacle of Subaru AWD sports performance.

At its heart is a 2.5 litre turbo-charged Subaru Boxer four-pot engine, which in STI guise, produces 305hp and 290lb/ft of torque. The six-speed gearbox has been reinforced and now adopts even shorter throw and slicker, sportier shift feel.

Subaru's trademark Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive employs the latest vehicle dynamics control (VDC) and Active Torque Vectoring for maximum control and driver engagement. Spring and damper rates have been meticulously re-tuned to provide a more compliant ride while retaining body composure, and the electronic power steering is now mounted on a more rigid steering gearbox mount for improved fuel efficiency and more 'direct' feel and response.

An increase in wheelbase of 25mm gives the new WRX STI greater rear leg room as well as more shoulder and elbow room inside the cabin, without increasing the exterior dimensions. By moving the bottom of the A-pillars forward by 200mm and adding

a quarter light to the front window, drivers have better visibility all round. Boot space is increased and ingress and egress are improved with larger door apertures.

A lot of work has also gone into improving the perceived quality of the WRX STI interior. For the new model, highlights include a new D-shaped steering wheel of smaller diameter and designed to give the driver maximum feel. Soft touch materials are used in key areas while new dials and carbon effect and metal trim is also employed to give the STI both a suitably sporty feel and more upmarket ambience.

UK buyers can expect a comprehensive standard spec, in addition to changes over the WRX on the exterior design including the large signature rear wing and larger diameter wheels. At the rear, the diffuser integrated bumper and twin dual mufflers are unmistakably Subaru while new 18in. alloy wheels are designed to be both lighter and more rigid. LED lighting is employed for the headlights, tail and brake lights while 'STI' badges are found on the front grille and wings.

This week Subaru UK will be launching a dedicated area of its website ( where prospective owners can register their interest. Subaru in Japan has confirmed that a Fuji Heavy Industries entered STI will compete in this year's Nurburgring 24hr race in June, where the team will be attempting to win its class for a third year in succession.

Paul Tunnicliffe, Subaru UK Managing Director commented: "We wanted to acknowledge the following the WRX STI has, and while both the market and the Brand in the UK has changed in recent years, the WRX STI remains a demonstration of Subaru's technical know-how.

"The new model will only be available in limited numbers when it goes on sale in summer nevertheless we were keen to give our performance car fans the opportunity to try it here for themselves."

Major specifications:

Length / width / height: 4,595 x 1,795 x 1,475 mm*3

Wheelbase: 2,650 mm

Engine: 2.5 litre Horizontally-Opposed turbo

Displacement: 2,457 cc

Transmission: six-speed manual

Maximum output: 305 hp / 6,000 rpm

Maximum torque: 290 lb.-ft. / 4,000 rpm

Tyre size: 245/40 R18

Seating capacity: 5

Further details of the new WRX STI will be announced in coming weeks.