Subaruís all-new Impreza WRX STI is bigger and stronger.

While the Impreza lineup spans a variety of body styles and trim lines, for this review weíre going to specifically focus on the Impreza WRX STI.

By the way, STI stands for Subaru Tecnica International, the high-performance and motorsports development division of Subaru.

Redesigned for the 2008 model year, there is so much new about the all-wheel drive model I donít know where to start.

Under the hood, a 305 horsepower turbocharged 2.5-liter Boxer engine mated to a short-throw six-speed manual transmission now powers the performance flagship five-door.

It is both quick and nimble, and thanks to its wide body design featuring a stiffer platform and enhanced, high-performance sport-tuned double-wishbone rear suspension, it handles like itís on a rail.

The Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive with Driver Control Center Differential keeps the vehicle hugging the road through its stability and traction control systems.

It even has a Vehicle Dynamics Control system that allows the driver to select one of three modes for enhanced driving.

Another new feature is Incline Start Assist, which momentarily prevents the vehicle from rolling backward when being driven away from a stop on an incline.

If you enjoy driving fast, you canít help but have fun in the new Impreza WRX STI.

And after spending a week behind the wheel of the new Ď08 model, I can report this is about as close as you can get to a race ready car from the factory and still be street legal.

Did I mention that it was fast?

I only wish that I had access to a track this week to truly test out its performance.

The Texas Auto Writers Associationís annual Spring Challenge is coming up and Iím looking forward to taking the Impreza WRX STI out on the Texas Motor Speedway where we will be holding this yearís event.

The two-day challenge will provide automotive writers the opportunity to drive 60 models and vote on the best entry in each category.

I have a feeling the redesigned Impreza WRX STI will be turning some heads at this yearís event.

Other safety enhancements for Ď08 include the addition of side-curtain airbags and a brake assist safety system.

I know I mentioned that it is larger than the previous model. As part of the redesign, the Impreza is longer, wider, taller and even has a bigger wheelbase† ó all improving interior cabin room and increasing comfort.

The Impreza WRX STI has a base price starting around $35,000 and is nearly completely loaded. In fact, only two options are available, a special 18-inch BBS wheels package and navigation system. Even with the two optional add-ons, the Impreza WRX STI still lists below $40,000.

Standard safety features include Super Sport anti-lock brake system, brake assist, daytime running lights, front seat side impact airbags, side-curtain airbags and Subaru Advanced frontal airbag system, security system, Incline Start Assist, height-adjustable headrests for all seating positions, remote keyless entry, safety pedal system and tire pressure monitoring system.

For performance enthusiasts, the Impreza WRX STI is an impressive vehicle worthy of consideration.

Neal White has been covering the automotive industry for more than 15 years and is affiliated with the Texas Auto Writers Association and the Midwest Automotive Media Association. Comments may be sent to Neal at neal.white@wninews.com.