1998-1999 Subaru WRX STI: A Legendary Performance Icon | Encyclopedia

July 3, 2023 1:08 PM

1998-1999 Subaru WRX STI

The 1998-1999 Subaru WRX STI is a legendary vehicle that holds a special place in the hearts of automotive enthusiasts, especially from a JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) perspective. This high-performance variant of the popular Subaru Impreza model is renowned for its exceptional performance, superb handling, and distinctive styling.


The Subaru WRX STI was first introduced in Japan in 1992. However, it wasn't until the 1998-1999 model years that the WRX STI truly made its mark as an iconic sports car. This particular iteration of the WRX STI was a product of Subaru's involvement in the World Rally Championship (WRC), where it had achieved great success. Subaru aimed to create a road-legal version that would allow enthusiasts to experience the rally-inspired performance firsthand.

Exterior Design

The 1998-1999 Subaru WRX STI boasted a unique and aggressive exterior design that set it apart from other performance cars of its time. Its bold lines, flared wheel arches, and imposing hood scoop instantly caught the eye and hinted at the power that lay beneath the surface. The iconic rear wing, which became synonymous with the WRX STI, not only added sporty flair but also provided aerodynamic stability at high speeds.

Engine and Performance

Under the hood, the 1998-1999 Subaru WRX STI featured a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, known as the EJ20. This powerplant delivered an impressive output of around 280 horsepower, allowing the car to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just under five seconds. The symmetrical all-wheel drive system, paired with advanced suspension and a well-tuned chassis, provided exceptional handling, giving drivers the confidence to tackle any road condition or driving situation.

Interior and Technology

Inside the cabin, the WRX STI continued to impress. Recaro sport seats embraced the driver and passengers, ensuring comfort and stability even during spirited driving. The interior featured a driver-oriented layout, with easy-to-reach controls and gauges. While the technology may seem less advanced by today's standards, the WRX STI of that era offered modern conveniences such as air conditioning, power windows, and a quality sound system, providing a comfortable and enjoyable driving experience.

Legacy and Collectability

The 1998-1999 Subaru WRX STI holds an esteemed place in automotive history. Its performance on and off the rally stage, combined with its distinctive styling, has cemented its status as a JDM icon. As time passes, well-maintained examples of the 1998-1999 WRX STI are becoming increasingly collectible. Enthusiasts from around the globe appreciate its undeniable charm and seek out these vintage models to experience the thrill of driving a true piece of JDM automotive history.

In Conclusion

The 1998-1999 Subaru WRX STI represents a golden era for the model and still captures the hearts of car enthusiasts today. From its striking design to its exceptional performance capabilities, this JDM icon continues to attract attention and appreciation. Whether on the track or the street, the WRX STI delivers an exhilarating driving experience that has made it a legend among sports car enthusiasts.