And can confirm that it is, in fact, a car. Much like many other cars, it has 4 wheels, which are round. In this case, they are all powered. It has 4 doors, which makes it a sedan. Were this a BMW, it would probably be labelled as a coupe. But thankfully, it is not. They open and close with a thunk I would describe as reassuring but not-quite-German.
It has brakes, and a steering wheel, and an excellent, pleasantly notchy cable shifter (like a Porsche!). There is seating for five, though I suspect that given sufficiently small and enterprising clowns, it could fit at least 14 or 15 in a pinch. The seats are quite good- I didn't notice them beyond being comfortable and supportive. The interior, long a negative in Subarus of yore, is much imroved- It reminded me of a late model Honda in terms of materials.
This car is also very different from its predecessors in that it is unreasonably quiet and smooth during "normal" driving. This was a problem- I accidentally redlined first because there is so little noise I couldn't shift based on sound as I usually do. Bottom line is, if you keep things civil, this car feels very ordinary and comfortable. To my eyes, it looks very ordinary as well, especially in comparison to its more rough-and-tumble predecessors. This is, however, not a problem- when you do decide to cease civility, the WRX eagerly obliges.
It doesn't have the "begging for revs" character of the N/A cars I have owned and generally prefer, but at any RPM, in any gear, is an absolute colossus of torque. My friend who was kind enough to let me play with his brand new car informed me that with this generation of car, Subaru is using a twin-scroll Garrett turbo. This means lag is essentially nonexistent. Boost peaks at 22 PSI, which in a 10.6:1 compression motor is nothing to scoff at. This motor doesn't have a torque curve; it has a torque plateau that begins around 2500RPM and doesn't abate until redline. Straight line, this car would easily mop the floor with my Cayman.
All of the technical babble equates to a seriously quick car once you start to give it some stick. This being a Subaru, the driveline feeds power to all wheels, so grip to use this power is a nonissue. The grip is very reassuring in cornering as well- I had no reservations getting on the power through corners earlier than I would in an RWD car. The steering weight is noticeably variable, and did cause one of my concerns with the handling. In one higher speed sweeper the steering felt way too light, as if the suspension were not properly loaded. This took away a little confidence in the car's ability to corner fast. It seems to prefer hard, tight cornering to high-speed, more open stuff. I suspect that this issue would be correctable with larger/grippier tires or some suspension tweaks.
The Subaru WRX and STi have long been mainstays of the aftermarket crowd, and I think that in this case the car ultimately needs a couple of changes to be at its best. As a platform, the new WRX is superb. An exhaust system to free up the classic Subaru boxer rumble that I kept wanting and some changes to tighten up the suspension are just what it needs to truly shine.
At present, there aren't many legitimate competitors for the WRX/STi. If you want an AWD turbo sedan, chances are you will be buying a Subaru. The car that most reminded me of this that I've driven lately was a 2014 Audi S4. I actually think that I prefer the Subaru- They are both far too quiet, but the S4 was frankly boring as hell and felt a bit lifeless. The WRX seemed to relish being grabbed by the scruff of the neck and viciously spanked, while the S4... didn't. For my preferences this car needs a little more Mr. Hyde and little less Dr. Jekyll, but I was certainly impressed.