Cars and Bids Bargain of the Week: 2004 Subaru Impreza WRX STi

The famed 22B STi might be the ultimate Subaru Impreza WRX, but its market price hovers in supercar territory. But lately, even ‘lesser’ WRX models have risen in value, especially clean, unmodified examples. However, if you look carefully, there are still a few affordable ones left. For example, the 2004 Subaru Impreza WRX STi on sale this week on Cars and Bids.

The first-gen Subaru Impreza WRX STi was a rally-bred sensation

A blue 2004 Subaru Impreza WRX STi with gold wheels on a misty tree-lined road at sunset
2004 Subaru Impreza WRX STi front | Subaru

US enthusiasts had to wait quite a while to get their hands on a Subaru Impreza WRX, let alone the STi version. Although the first WRX arrived in 1992, and the first STi came in 1994, we never saw them, Road & Track reports.

We didn’t get a sporty Impreza here until the 1998 2.5 RS, and the first US-market WRX arrived in 2002. It wouldn’t be until 2004 that Subaru finally delivered the STi to the US. Performance-wise, though, the car was worth the wait. That’s because it took everything that made the standard Impreza WRX impressive and dialed it up even more.

Firstly, instead of a 2.0-liter engine and a five-speed manual, the 2004 Subaru Impreza WRX STi has a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a six-speed manual. So, instead of 227 hp, it has 300 hp and 300 lb-ft, Roadshow reports. And while the STi has AWD, too, it also has an active and driver-adjustable center differential.

On top of that, the 2004 Subaru Impreza WRX STi has Brembo brakes and a quicker steering rack, Hagerty reports. It also has a larger hood scoop and rear wing than the ‘base’ WRX, MotorTrend reports, as well as BBS wheels and stiffer anti-roll bars, dampers, and bushings. The stereo was optional, but a driver-controlled intercooler sprayer came standard, as well as front and rear limited-slip differentials.

As a result, the 2004 Subaru Impreza WRX STi runs 0-60 mph in 4.9 seconds, Hagerty reports. That’s a full second faster than the contemporary WRX and 0.3 seconds ahead of the contemporary M3, Autoweek reports. No, it’s not nearly as polished or as quiet as its successors. But the 2004 WRX STi feels delightfully raw and visceral. And it’s still an exhilarating blast to drive, especially on snowy roads, Car and Driver reports.

The 2004 Subaru Impreza WRX STi on Cars and Bids

A silver 2004 Subaru Impreza WRX STi in a dirt parking lot
2004 Subaru Impreza WRX STi side 3/4 | Cars and Bids

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The 2004 Subaru Impreza WRX STi currently listed on Cars and Bids doesn’t bear the iconic blue-and-gold livery. But then, besides the black-painted BBS wheels, it also doesn’t have any modifications. And with less than 83,100 miles on the clock, this STi Subaru is a fairly low-mileage example.

This 2004 STi doesn’t have the optional stereo. But it is fairly well-equipped otherwise. Besides the trick differential and Brembo brakes, the 2004 WRX STi also has two-tone sport seats, a turbo-boost gauge, and HID headlights. This car also has A/C, cruise control, an armrest extension, and an upgraded factory alarm system.

The blue-and-black front sport seats and black dashboard of a 2004 Subaru Impreza WRX STi
2004 Subaru Impreza WRX STi front interior | Cars and Bids

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Cosmetically, this 2004 Subaru Impreza WRX STi isn’t perfect; it has some scratches and stone chips. However, Cars and Bids notes that the seller has service records dating back from when the car was new. This WRX STi also recently passed its California smog test and has several new components. Last year the seller replaced the timing belt, the battery, the idler pulleys, the air intake, the intake and exhaust manifold gaskets, the intercooler gasket, multiple hoses, and the coolant.

It’s a near-mint-condition import sports sedan bargain

The rear 3/4 view of a silver 2004 Subaru Impreza WRX STi in a dirt parking lot
2004 Subaru Impreza WRX STi rear 3/4 | Cars and Bids

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As of this writing, this 2004 Subaru Impreza WRX STi is listed on Cars and Bids at $11,300 with four days left in the auction. Given its condition, that’s noticeably below the market average.

Today, a good-condition 2004 STi can easily go for $25K, Hagerty reports. And the average price on Bring a Trailer hovers in the $20,000-$30,000 range. Plus, 2004 is one of the best years for US-market WRX models. In short, this STi is one heck of a well-kept bargain.

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