800-Horsepower Subaru Impreza STI Gets Reviewed, Engine Calls It Quits

Some time ago, I took my FC RX-7 over to a well-known shop to install some upgrades. The moment the mechanic saw me coming in, I could already read the disapproval in his gestures. And he mentioned that whenever someone asks him for advice on what kind of fast car they should buy, he always tells people to stay away from rotaries and boxers.
Subaru Impreza STI Blows Up 8 photos
Photo: That Dude in Blue
Subaru Impreza STI Blows up while being reviewedSubaru Impreza STI Blows up while being reviewedSubaru Impreza STI Blows up while being reviewedSubaru Impreza STI Blows up while being reviewedSubaru Impreza STI Blows up while being reviewedSubaru Impreza STI Blows up while being reviewedSubaru Impreza STI Blows up while being reviewed
Let me be clear about something, I've always had a soft spot for the Impreza WRX STI, and the second-generation ones are my favorites by far, although I wouldn't say no to a first-gen one either. Now David, or as most of you might know him: "That Dude in Blue" is always out testing fast cars that he gets from friends and companies. And he never drives slow because who would want to see that anyway?

So it comes as no surprise what recently happened to him, especially considering the vehicle he was driving: an 800-horsepower Subaru WRX STI. The car in question is a demo car for a company called Off The Line Performance, located in Des Moines, Iowa. The firm specializes in building Subarus, and the folks there thought it might be a fun idea to have David review it, even though it had been sitting idle for some time.

Torque figures aren't that bad either, as this STI is rated for 611 lb-ft (828 Nm) of torque, which is almost as much as you'd get from a brand new Shelby GT500. David acknowledges the fact that this is most likely the fastest Subaru he's ever driven. As he drives along, we learn that the engine in this STI is a 2.5-liter unit and that the car was originally a WRX. As with most WRX owners, multiple STI parts were brought in for more performance.

Subaru Impreza STI Blows up while being reviewed
Photo: That Dude in Blue
Of course, this STI runs a fully built motor, and the original gearbox was replaced with an STi 6-speed manual, with a rally-spec gear set in it. That should be enough to give anyone who drives it more peace of mind regarding reliability and performance. As David tries to go wide open throttle down the highway, he runs into some hiccups with the car, which seemed to be because the coil packs hadn't been changed in quite a while.

After a quick stop at the shop, he goes at it again, hoping that everything will go smoother this time. But he's obviously out of luck, as right after he tried a pull, a lot of smoke comes out of the exhaust, and it seems that the engine has left the building. As he makes the call to get rescued, you can hear the concerned voice at the other end asking about what happened, and David simply replies: "It's what makes a Subaru a Subaru."

As they pull over in a gas station, their initial assessment points out that it may be the turbo that failed. A closer inspection then reveals a coolant smell, which leads to the assumption that the head gaskets might be the faulty parts here. David also reminds us that the best way to deal with an engine failure is to laugh about it, as we should all know that pushing the limits of these vehicles always comes at a price.

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About the author: Dragos Chitulescu
Dragos Chitulescu profile photo

The things Dragos enjoys the most in life are, in no particular order: cars, motorcycles, diecast cars, and drifting. He's seen (and driven) many vehicles since he started his writing career back in 2009, but his garage currently houses a 1991 Mazda RX-7 FC3S Turbo II and a 1999 Suzuki SV650-S.
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