Let’s be honest. How many times have you thought about what kind of car you’d buy when you win the lottery? Every time you pass one of those billboards, right?

Now if you’re really into cars, it’s not what kind of car….but what cars. Plural.

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We don’t have to go “Jay Leno” here, but there’s 14 clubs allowed in a golf bag, right? So wouldn’t it make sense to have an “out-on-the-town” car….a “head for the twisty roads up in the mountains” car…maybe an eco-mobile for your trips to Whole Foods?

I’d also opt for what I call an “incognito bad-boy” machine…something that runs rat-fast, but might slip under the average patrolman’s radar.

And Subaru’s WRX STI would be just that sort of car…after I took off the rear spoiler.

The only thing separating the WRX STI from one of those European Rallye cars that you see on cable TV is a number and a roll cage. The STI is born to run…right out of the box.

The STI lives in a modified Impreza four- body shell….and actually, it’s still muscular even without the spoiler. Huge air scoop on the hood…engine air vents just aft of the front wheels….Brembo brakes…and four exhaust pipes sticking out the rear. Opt for grey if you want to try to fly under the radar.

All-wheel-drive is standard….as it is on all Subarus except their BRZ sports car.

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WRXs come in two flavors….”regular” and the “all-in” STI.

A regular WRX sports a 2.0 liter 268 HP four running through a 6-speed manual or a CVT automatic. It’s no slouch. It starts around 27K, and gets 21 city and 28 highway mpg’s.

The STI will run about 9K more…a small price to pay for what is essentially a street-legal race car.

With the STI, you get a bigger 2.5, 305 HP four…6-speed manual-only. Plus you get 18” BBS alloys, front and rear limited slip, a track-tuned suspension, quick-ratio steering, and chassis enhancements that get you less body roll and a stiffer body.

The mechanical steering on the STI has so much feel that I do believe you could tell the difference between driving over a nickel or a dime.

Yet with all the performance that the STI offers, you still have ample room for four or an occasional five…you have a real trunk…and you have an almost-race-ready suspension that allows you to control the car with surgical precision, but is not so stiff that you’ll need a kidney transplant after a day behind the wheel.

With leather and a moonroof, our test STI Limited came in just under 40K.

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If you live to surprise some well-known German cars in the stoplight derby, the STI will get the job done for you…..but you’ll need to shed the spoiler to actually sneak up and “surprise” them!
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