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If you’re still mourning Subaru’s decision to not make a fifth-gen WRX STI, don’t despair, you have other options. One, you can always wait for the Toyota GR Corolla. Or, you could get an older used STI. Although clean examples are getting more expensive and harder to find, some affordable ones still survive. And one of them is up for grabs this week on Bring a Trailer: a 2006 Subaru Impreza WRX STI.

The 2006 Subaru Impreza WRX STI gave the iconic AWD rally sedan one of its best years

A blue 2006 Subaru Impreza WRX STI with gold wheels in a white studio
2006 Subaru Impreza WRX STI | Subaru
2006 Subaru Impreza WRX STI
Engine2.5-liter ‘EJ257’ turbocharged boxer-four
Horsepower300 hp
Torque300 lb-ft
TransmissionSix-speed manual
Curb weight3351 lbs
0-60 mph time4.6 seconds

For years, US enthusiasts had to look enviously as the first-gen Impreza WRX drifted around Japan and Europe. Finally, the second-gen model arrived on our shores in 2002; but the best was yet to come. That came two years later when Subaru unleashed the Impreza WRX STi on U.S. soil at last.

With the upgrades it offered over the regular WRX, the 2004 WRX STi was worth the wait. In addition to a bigger engine and a stronger six-speed manual, it had stiffer suspension, BBS wheels, larger Brembo brakes, dual limited-slip differentials, and a driver-controlled intercooler sprayer. You know, like a rally car. But for many Subie fans, the WRX STI truly peaked in 2006.

By 2006, the WRX had a bigger 2.5-liter engine and a new ‘hawkeye’ visage instead of the earlier ‘bugeye’ and ‘blobeye’ styles. The 2006 WRX STI (the ‘i’ is capitalized now) still had its 300-hp 2.5-liter boxer, but it now had a driver-controlled electronic center differential. It also has one-year-only aluminum suspension components as well as a quicker steering ratio and a different axle ratio, CarBibles adds.

Today, some hot hatches offer 300 hp and sub-five-second 0-60 mph times (*cough* GR Corolla *cough). But even so, the 2006 Subaru Impreza WRX STI still feels like a rally-born rocket ship. It’s raw and sharp, with great steering and an AWD system that makes steering with the throttle a snap, CarBibles says. And while the latest WRX is easier to live with, its ancestor remains fast and furious.

There’s a clean one up for auction right on Bring a Trailer

As noted earlier, there aren’t many stock Subaru Impreza WRX STI models left. However, the modifications on the 2006 example currently listed on Bring a Trailer are rather minimal, all things considered. And the seller is including the removed stock parts with the sale.

In addition to the previously-mentioned features, this 2006 WRX STI has an aluminum hood with a functional scoop, fog lights, HID headlights, side skirts, and that iconic dual-plane rear spoiler. It also has a leather-wrapped STI steering wheel, well-bolstered sports seats, aluminum pedals, and automatic climate control. As for the modifications, this STI has a COBB Tuning sports exhaust, air intake, and V3 ECU tuner. And there’s an aftermarket Alpine stereo inside.

Considering it has roughly 98,000 miles on the clock, this 2006 Subaru Impreza WRX STI is in great shape. But that’s likely due to the fastidious service it received.

In preparation for the sale, the selling dealer replaced the tires and undertray, performed a paint correction service, and flushed the brake, transmission, and differential fluids. They also changed the oil, flushed the coolant, and replaced the timing belt, water pump, tensioner pulleys, idler pulleys, accessory belts, and the upper and lower radiator hoses. Plus, a previous owner replaced the head gaskets, spark plugs, cylinder heads, and motor mounts in 2020.

Will a 2006 Subaru Impreza WRX STI be a reliable ride?


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As of this writing, this 2006 Subaru Impreza WRX STI is listed at $15,000 with four days left in the auction. That’s a below-average price for an STI in this condition. Usually, an example in this condition would cost at least $5000-$10,000 more.

Although this STI is a certified bargain, a pre-purchase inspection is still recommended, especially given the mods. But based on the BaT posting, the dealer has already taken care of several worry spots.

They changed the timing belt on time and replaced the fluids, and the previous owner swapped out the head gaskets and engine mounts. Tuned Subaru boxers can have issues with all these things, particularly head gaskets, CarBibles says. And this 2006 WRX STI appears to be rust-free, which is another potential headache.

So, while you can’t get a 2022 WRX STI, this 2006 car should help you relive the feeling at a reasonable price.

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