When I think about Subaru, the first memory that pops into my head is my childhood exposure to the Gran Turismo driving simulator on my first gaming console.
I spent hours playing this game with my cousin where there were rally-style endurance races that would take hours to complete and, of course, this is how I was introduced to the world championship-winning car which was well known for its all-wheel drive system.
Into our virtual garage we went and the Subaru Impreza WRX Sti was our chosen vehicle to take on the simulator. It was immediate then that Subaru had an advantage thanks to its world-leading drive-train and we managed to win our race.
Fast-forward a couple of years to my teenage years and I recall one evening where I mischievously snuck out of the house at 10pm to attend my first illegal drag racing meet at a Joburg industrial area.
We pull up at an undisclosed location and the road is packed on both sides with spectators keen to get a glimpse of the action.
We find the best vantage point and, lo and behold, there was a “Scooby” dominating the street with an obstreperous exhaust pipe that was hard to ignore.
These were the glory days for these “rice rockets” as they dominated the underground drag scene in the ’90s thanks to their superior road handling.
Two decades later and I
finally have the chance to test the Diamond Edition WRX STi, celebrating its 30th anniversary and all I can say is WOW! It’s everything I expected and so much more.
Not only was it easy to drive but the comfort and handling is unparalleled, the AWD system just makes it so easy to handle the 260Kw of power produced by the high boost 2.5l turbo-charged Boxer engine.
When it comes to the interior and the media system, I would be lying if I gave you my opinion. Why, you may ask? Because I never switched the radio on once, I mean, who would do that when the exhaust sounds like a trumpet.
I absolutely enjoyed my time with this legend and I personally think Subaru has pulled off a major feat by producing their fastest production vehicle ever for the South African market.
Many will want it but only 30 will get the opportunity to own it. – Shaun Holland via The Citizen
It’s a great pity that for some reason, Subaru SA has withdrawn the WRX STi Diamond Edition from the test fleet which goes out to motoring journalists. Because that means our road test guru, Mark Jones, will not be able to put the car up against the clock to see how well it runs.
So, we will never really know whether this car is the “fastest STI yet” – and at 264kW claimed power output, it sure should be.
The promised 30 cars have been built so if you want to get a unique slice of motoring history – which will only appreciate with time, I am sure – then get down to your nearest Subaru dealer.
According to the figures from Subaru SA, the Diamond Edition achieved a 5.03-second zero to 100km/h time at the Gerotek test track at Highveld altitude, 0.7 seconds quicker than its standard WRX STi sibling under the same conditions. The Diamond Edition’s zero to 160km/h time is now 13.70 seconds against the standard vehicle’s 14.76 seconds.
Those are pretty impressive numbers and the car pinned me back in the driver’s seat when I put foot. It reminded me of the first STi I drove, a 2.0 litre (considered by fans as the best one) back in 2003. On that occasion, my wife screamed from the passenger seat that if I didn’t slow down, she would get out there and then rather than waiting to formally divorce me.
The Diamond Edition is still very much an STI, although even more hardcore, because its suspension has been lowered and stiffened and it now has an even louder exhaust. Personally, I love that unique sound – an offbeat grumbly rumble from the horizontally opposed engine. But it can become a painful drone at highway speeds. – Brendan Seery via The Citizen